Exercise related neurophysiological and physiological parameters in spinal cord injured persons

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In the current research of movement and neurosciences the influence of physical activity on the CNS and PNS is of great interest. Here neurophysiological parameters like the neurotrophin BDNF play a vital role in the structural and functional neuroplasticity of the brain. In the PNS and CNS BDNF acts as a mediator for neuroplasticity and neurogenesis and is beneficial for nerve protection, learning and memory functions. (Knaepen et al. 2010) Neither a typical wheelchair rugby training session nor a GXT has no influence on serum BDNF concentration in tetraplegical SCI athletes. In comparison with previously reported BDNF concentrations in healthy able-bodied subjects at rest, current values were slightly higher or rather at the upper limit in tetraplegic SCI athletes. These findings are in line with BDNF concentrations of paraplegic SCI athletes although the metabolic, respiratory and neurologic situation of these populations differs. In addition, it appears as if the effect of lactate in paralyzed athletes is not comparable with that of able-bodied persons. Intensity and duration of exercise in the present study correspond to a typical training intervention in wheelchair rugby. Further studies should focus on low intensity activities and their impact on neurotrophic factors in SCI. The investigation and understanding of the limiting physiological factors of endurance performance is key to address and to develop these factors through a scientific based training program (Bassett & Howley, 2000; Coyle, 1995; Joyner & Coyle, 2008). Recently crucial training variables, like training intensity and its distribution have been part of scientific research and discussion (K. S. Seiler & Kjerland, 2006; S. Seiler, 2010; T. L. Stoeggl & Sperlich, 2015). For the first time, training during a full competitive season of a professional female handcyclist was monitored and quantified. The analysis of TID throughout the season demonstrates a tendency towards a greater volume in zone 2 than the recommendations in the literature. Currently, no general guideline for the TTL and TID in paraplegic endurance athletes can be given. A performance optimization using an NCC in handcycling could not be proven. The knowledge about the heterogeneous performances throughout the series of four sprint tests indicates, however, that an intensive warm-up phase should be considered as highly necessary prior to such efforts if a high peak power is the aim of such tests. Future studies should focus on the importance of individual fitting of the NCC, which should be supported by an analysis of torque distribution and physiological parameters to identify crank cycle phases where minimal and optimal torque development is achieved. In doing this, it might be possible to optimize individual performance and develop future shapes of NCCs in handcycling. Like in cycling (Faria et al., 2005a, 2005b) and other endurance sports for able- bodied athletes performance potentials like fine tuning sports nutrition and hydration, improving aerodynamics, adjusting pacing strategies and elaborating cooling strategies should also take part in future research projects in Paralympic sports.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKöln
PublisherDeutsche Sporthochschule Köln
Number of pages101
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ID: 3112270

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