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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2011 March;51(1):136-44

language: English

Load carrying walking test and its relationships to endurance and neuromuscular capabilities in women and men of different ages

Holviala J. 1, Häkkinen A. 2,4, Nyman K. 2, Aho J. 3, Karavirta L. 1, Häkkinen K. 1

1 Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland;
2 Central Finland Central Hospital, Jyväskylä, Finland;
3 Unit for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland;
4 Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland


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The aim of this study was to examine load carrying walking test (TMload) performance on the treadmill and its associations to endurance and neuromuscular capabilities in women and men of different ages. Sixty participants (aged 28 to 71 years) were divided into young, middle-aged and old groups of both genders. Clinical stress test was performed by stationary cycle ergometer (CEload). Peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), heart rate and lactate concentration were measured using maximal TMload test. Isometric strength and EMG-activity of upper and lower extremities were measured before and after TMload. VO2peak of TMload correlated significantly with TMload exercise time (ET) in all other groups (r=0.67 to 0.91 and p≤0.05 to p<0.001) except old men. Leg extension force decreased (p≤0.05 to p<0.001) after TMload in all groups, grip force in young groups (p≤0.05), while plantar flexion force and all EMGs remained unchanged. In men VO2peak explained 81% and in women VO2peak and age explained 87% of the total variation of the TMload ET. In conclusion, ET of TMload is associated with high VO2peak, but not with muscle strength or its changes during the loading. The present load carrying walking test may be used for testing workers with heavy loading in their occupation or in rehabilitation purposes. Further research is needed to examine in more detailed the loading model of the present study as well as the effects of different types of training on load carrying performance.

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jarkko.holviala@sport.jyu.fi