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Physiological, metabolic, and performance implications of a prolonged hill walk: influence of energy intake

Physiological, metabolic, and performance implications of a prolonged hill walk: influence of energy intake

Journal of Applied Physiology 94(3): 1075-1083

ISSN/ISBN: 8750-7587

PMID: 12571136

DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00683.2002

We aimed to examine the effects of different energy intakes on a range of responses that are relevant to the safety of hill walkers. In a balanced design, 16 men completed a strenuous self-paced mountainous hill walk over 21 km, under either a low-energy (2.6 MJ; 616 kcal) intake (LEI) or high-energy (12.7 MJ; 3,019 kcal) intake (HEI) condition. During the hill walk, rectal temperatures were measured continuously, and blood samples for the analysis of metabolites and hormones were drawn before breakfast and immediately after the walk. Subjects also completed a battery of performance tests that included muscular strength, reaction times, flexibility, balance, and kinesthetic differentiation tests. During the LEI, mean blood glucose concentrations leveled off at the low-middle range of normoglycemia, whereas, on the HEI, they were significantly elevated compared with the LEI. The maintained blood glucose concentrations, during the LEI, were probably mediated via the marked fat mobilization, reflected by a two- to fivefold increase in nonesterified fatty acids, 3-hydroxybutyrate, and glycerol concentrations. The LEI group showed significantly slower one- and two-finger reaction time, had an impaired ability to balance, and were compromised in their ability to maintain body temperature, when compared with the HEI group. The modestly impaired performance (particularly with respect to balance) and thermoregulation during the LEI condition may increase susceptibly to both fatigue and injury during the pursuit of recreational activity outdoors. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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Accession: 003884211

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