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Open access

Natalia Morgulec-Adamowicz, Jolanta Marszałek and Piotr Jagustyn

Nordic Walking - A New Form of Adapted Physical Activity (A Literature Review)

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to analyze scientific evidence on the effects that Nordic Walking (NW) has on the human body. Basic procedures. A comprehensive search of computer databases (MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus) was conducted to identify relevant English and Polish studies on NW that were published from 1995 to 2009 and based on scientific research. Main findings. A total of 26 studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of studies (12) discussed physiological issues, eleven studies were dedicated to NW as a form of rehabilitation (including one case study), and three studies focused on biomechanical issues present in NW. Conclusions. Not all of the widely promoted benefits of NW were confirmed in the results of the found scientific studies. Often analyzed issues did not provide sufficient explanation. There is a large discrepancy in the results of physiological responses during NW in a variety of conditions (on a treadmill with/without grade; field - uphill/downhill/horizontal level terrain). The results of studies analyzing the effects of NW training as a form of rehabilitation particularly in the areas of cardiology confirmed the positive aspects of including NW towards a patient's rehabilitation after acute coronary syndrome, with intermittent claudication, and after coronary artery disease, or after myocardial infarction. Contrary to popular belief and previously done studies, recent research has shown that NW does not reduce the loading of the knee joint.

Open access

Bartosz Molik, Andrzej Kosmol, Natalia Morgulec-Adamowicz, Judit Lencse-Mucha, Anna Mróz, Karol Gryko and Jolanta Marszałek

Abstract

In wheelchair sports, aerobic performance is commonly assessed with the use of an arm crank ergometer (ACE), a wheelchair ergometer (WCE) or a wheelchair treadmill (WCT). There are different protocols to identify peak oxygen uptake in wheelchair sports; however, only a few protocols have been applied to evaluate these conditions in wheelchair basketball players. The purpose of this study was to compare physiological responses during maximal exercise testing with the use of ACE and WCT in wheelchair basketball players. Twelve elite male wheelchair basketball players participated in this study. The research was performed during a training camp of the Polish National Wheelchair Basketball Team. The study participants were divided into two functional categories: A (players with class 1.0 - 2.5) and B (players with class 3.0 - 4.5). Two main maximal exercise tests, i.e. wheelchair treadmill stress test (WCT test) and arm crank ergometer stress test (ACE test) were used to evaluate aerobic performance of the players. There were no statistically significant differences in aerobic tests between the players from both groups. The comparison of results achieved in two aerobic tests performed on WCT and ACE did not reveal any significant differences between the analyzed variables (peak heart rate (HRpeak), peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), minute ventilation (VE), anaerobic threshold (AT), lactate concentration (LApeak), and a drop in lactate concentration (%LA)). Strong correlations between results achieved in WCT and ACE tests were found for VO2peak, VE and LApeak. The main conclusion of the study is that both WCT and ACE tests may be useful when determining aerobic capacity of wheelchair basketball players. Moreover, both protocols can be used by athletes regardless of their functional capabilities and types of impairment.

Open access

Jolanta Marszalek, Bartosz Molik, Miguel Angel Gomez, Kęstutis Skučas, Judit Lencse-Mucha, Witold Rekowski, Vaida Pokvytyte, Izabela Rutkowska and Kalina Kaźmierska-Kowalewska

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate relationships between anaerobic performance, field tests, game performance and anthropometric variables of sitting volleyball players. Twenty elite Polish sitting volleyball players were tested using the 30 s Wingate Anaerobic Test for arm crank ergometer and participated in six physical field tests. Heights in position to block and to spike, as well as arm reach were measured. Players were observed during the game on the court in terms of effectiveness of the serve, block, attack, receive and defense. Pearson analysis and the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient were used. The strongest correlations were found between the chest pass test and mean power and peak power (r=.846; p=.001 and r=.708; p=.0005, respectively), and also between the T-test and peak power (r= −.718; p=.001). Mean power correlated with the 3 m test (r= −.540; p=.014), the 5 m test (r= −.592; p=.006), and the T-test (r= −.582; p=.007). Peak power correlated with the 3 m test (r= −.632; p=.003), the 5 m test (r= −.613; p=.004), speed & agility (r= −.552; p=.012) and speed & endurance (r=−.546; p=.013). Significant correlations were observed between anthropometric parameters and anaerobic performance variables (p≤.001), and also between anthropometric parameters and field tests (p≤.05). Game performance and physical fitness of sitting volleyball players depended on their anthropometric variables: reach of arms, the position to block and to spike. The chest pass test could be used as a non-laboratory field test of anaerobic performance of sitting volleyball players.

Open access

Grzegorz Bednarczuk, Ida Wiszomirska, Jolanta Marszałek, Izabela Rutkowska and Waldemar Skowroński

Abstract

Introduction. In elite sport, athletes are required to maintain appropriate body posture control despite a number of destabilising factors. The functions of body posture control are monitored by the central nervous system that constantly receives information from the vestibular and somatosensory systems as well as from the visual analyser. Visual impairment may contribute to a decrease in the level of motor abilities and skills; however, it does not prevent visually impaired individuals from taking up physical activity. Therefore, this study sought to assess the static balance of visually impaired goalball players and shooters. Material and methods. The study included 37 goalball players and 20 shooters. A force platform was used to assess static balance. The study participants performed tests: standing on both feet with eyes open (BFEO) and closed (BFEC) (30 s), single left- and right-leg stance with eyes open (SLEO and SREO) as well as single left- and right-leg stance with eyes closed (SLEC and SREC). Statistical analyses were carried out using the following parameters: centre of pressure (CoP) path length [cm], CoP velocity [m/s], and the surface area of the stabilogram [cm2]. Results. No significant differences were found between goalball players and shooters in static balance levels. However, such differences were observed after taking into account the number of athletes who were capable of performing particular tests. Conclusions. The findings indirectly confirm that there is a correlation between the type of physical activity and balance levels in visually impaired individuals. Further research ought to include tests performed on an unstable surface.

Open access

Bartosz Molik, James J Laskin, Andrzej Kosmol, Jolanta Marszałek, Natalia Morgulec-Adamowicz and Tim Frick

Abstract

Purpose. The aim of this study was to evaluate the associations between anaerobic performance (AnP), applicable field tests, and the functional classification levels in female wheelchair basketball athletes. Methods. Female wheelchair basketball athletes (N = 23; Category A, n = 9; Category B, n = 14) from the Canadian national team were evaluated using field tests and the 30-second Wingate Anaerobic Test. Measures of peak power output (PP), time to achieve peak power (tPP), mean power output (MP), and a fatigue index (FI) were used to assess AnP. A test battery evaluating seven wheelchair basketball skills was applied. Student’s t test was used to identify differences between the two main functional categories (A and B). Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient and Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient were calculated to determine the significance of all relationships between the parameters of AnP, the results of the field tests, and the eight functional classification levels of the athletes (1.0-4.5 pts.). Results. In all analyzed parameters, except for the field test measuring shooting skills, the results of AnP were significantly higher for Category B players. Significant relationships were observed between athletes’ classification level and AnP and the field tests except for tPP, the 5 m sprint, and the shooting test. The strongest association was observed for MP and PP, MP and FI, PP and FI (p = 0.001). Conclusions. Strong associations were found between the functional classification level and AnP of the female wheelchair basketball athletes. The strongest correlation was confirmed between MP, PP, and the field test measuring the two-handed chest pass, suggesting that this test can be used to indirectly assess the anaerobic performance of female wheelchair basketball athletes.

Open access

Judit Lencse-Mucha, Bartosz Molik, Jolanta Marszałek, Kalina Kaźmierska-Kowalewska and Anna Ogonowska-Słodownik

Abstract

Results of previous studies have not indicated clearly which tests should be used to assess short-term efforts of people with intellectual disabilities. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate laboratory and field-based tests of short-term effort with maximal intensity of subjects with intellectual disabilities. Twenty four people with intellectual disability, who trained soccer, participated in this study. The 30 s Wingate test and additionally an 8 s test with maximum intensity were performed on a bicycle ergometer. The fatigue index, maximal and mean power, relative maximal and relative mean power were measured. Overall, nine field-based tests were conducted: 5, 10 and 20 m sprints, a 20 m shuttle run, a seated medicine ball throw, a bent arm hang test, a standing broad jump, sit-ups and a hand grip test. The reliability of the 30 s and 8 s Wingate tests for subjects with intellectual disability was confirmed. Significant correlation was observed for mean power between the 30 s and 8 s tests on the bicycle ergometer at a moderate level (r >0.4). Moreover, significant correlations were indicated between the results of laboratory tests and field tests, such as the 20 m sprint, the 20 m shuttle run, the standing long jump and the medicine ball throw. The strongest correlation was in the medicine ball throw. The 30 s Wingate test is a reliable test assessing maximal effort in subjects with intellectual disability. The results of this research confirmed that the 8 s test on a bicycle ergometer had a moderate correlation with the 30 s Wingate test in this population, thus, this comparison needs further investigation to examine alternativeness of the 8 s to 30 s Wingate tests. The non-laboratory tests could be used to indirectly assess performance in short-term efforts with maximal intensity.

Open access

Izabela Rutkowska, Grzegorz Bednarczuk, Bartosz Molik, Natalia Morgulec-Adamowicz, Jolanta Marszałek, Kalina Kaźmierska-Kowalewska and Krzysztof Koc

Abstract

The aims of this study were twofold: to assess the level of balance of people with visual impairment against the BOT-2 standard scores for the able-bodied, and to identify in which trials subjects had the greatest difficulties in maintaining balance with respect to the degree of vision loss and age categories. One hundred twenty-seven subjects with visual impairment aged 6-16 years, participated in the study (68 girls and 59 boys). The division for partially sighted people (61) and the blind (66) was made according to the WHO classification. Functional balance assessment was made using a balance subtest from the Bruininks-Oseretsky test. Significant relationships were noticed between age and the level of balance (χ2 = 8.35 p <0,05), as well as between the degree of vision loss and the level of balance (χ2 = 24.53 p <0,001). The level of balance of almost all blind subjects was below (20%) or well-below (60%) the average for the able-bodied. The subjects’ ability to maintain balance was not dependent on gender and was associated primarily with the degree of visual impairment and age. Partially sighted people had better balance than the blind and the decrease in visual acuity resulted in reduction of balance skills. The lowest level of balance was observed in blind students aged 7-11 years. Elaborating physical fitness improvement programs for children and adolescents with visual impairment, diversity of age, the degree of vision loss and limitations of ablility to maintain balance should be taken into account.