Comparative Exercise Physiology

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 1755-2540 / 1755-2559
Published by: Wageningen Academic Publishers (10.3920)
Total articles ≅ 448
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, J.M. Williams
Comparative Exercise Physiology pp 1-8;

The British horseracing industry is committed to safeguarding the welfare of racehorses throughout their racing careers and beyond. Former racehorses who do not retire to a stud career and are suitable for second careers are often retrained to compete in other equestrian sports. Horseball is a growing discipline, which proactively supports retraining of racehorses (RoR) that could offer a suitable second career for former racehorses. This study explored the key attributes that horseball competitors look for in a potential former racehorse to promote a successful career in the sport. Participants voluntarily completed an online, 18 question survey (SurveyMonkey®), distributed through horseball related communication channels (Facebook™, Instagram™ and the British Horseball Association). Horseball competitors were asked (a) what key physical and behavioural characteristics they considered necessary for a successful horseball horse and (b) whether they would consider competing a former racehorse. A total of 45 horseball competitors completed the survey representing a margin of error of ±13% at the 95% confidence interval for the UK horseball population (n=200). Most respondents celebrated former racehorses’ suitability for horseball competition; 73.72% (n=32) had already owned and competed a former Thoroughbred racehorse in horseball and 97.78% (n=44) would consider purchasing and competing one in the future. Former racehorses were recognised to possess key performance attributes: agility, temperament, and speed suitable for a successful second career in competitive horseball. However, injuries that impeded former racehorse performance; lameness and other chronic injuries, were deemed as detrimental to success in competitive horseball. Further work in collaboration with racehorse rehoming stakeholders is required to produce guidelines to identify specific behavioural and physical characteristics which could predict the suitability of former racehorses for successful second careers across equestrian disciplines.
, D.J. Cochrane, E.K. Gee, C.W. Rogers
Comparative Exercise Physiology pp 1-10;

Horse racing and training is a physically demanding sport. The aims of this study were to quantify the physical activities of jockeys during a working week and to investigate self-reported fall and injury incidence rates of jockeys at work. A daily workload diary examining workday and physical activities was emailed to all jockeys licensed to ride in a race in New Zealand in 2020. Sixty-three jockeys (25 apprentices, 33 professional and 5 amateur riders) began the diary, representing 38% of the licensed population of jockeys in New Zealand. Jockeys worked a median of 44 (interquartile range (IQR) 33-57) hours, 6-days per week. A median of 7 (IQR 6-9) horses were ridden per day, comprising 58% of work time, with 11 (IQR 7-15) hours per week spent at training pace. Elite jockeys (high performance in the premiership table) spent more time riding in races (1.1, IQR 0.7-1.2 hours per week) than non-elite jockeys (0.0, 0.0-0.4, P=0.01), with 29% (IQR 0-54%) of their weekly rides as race rides. Extra physical training was conducted by 72% of jockeys, which consisted mainly of low intensity exercise such as pleasure riding (56%) and walking (43%). Falls during morning exercise work were recorded by 87% of respondents, 40% of which had sustained an injury in the previous 12 months. Jockeys who participated in extra physical training had higher fall incidence rates per 1000 horses ridden in morning exercise work (3.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.1-3.9, P=0.002) but lower fall incidence rate in race riding (2.1, 95% CI 1.5-2.8, P<0.001) than jockeys who did no extra training (2.5, 95% CI 2.0-3.0 and 5.9, 95% CI 3.8-9.0). Elite jockeys experience a level of specific race exercise which is lacking in the other jockeys.
S. O’Rourke,
Comparative Exercise Physiology, Volume 17, pp 447-455;

In recent years, canine hydrotherapy has become increasingly popular to treat a range of conditions despite a lack of empirical evidence. It is currently unclear whether joint angles and limb movements performed by dogs during swimming are quantifiably beneficial for healthy animals. This study investigated the swimming kinematics of healthy dogs to establish baseline data for this activity and compare limb kinematics to that of overground locomotion. Kinematic data were recorded from eight healthy dolichocephalic dogs (mean age: 3.4±2.2) of a variety of breeds. Overground data were collected prior to swimming and consisted of dogs trotting on a flat surface. Swimming data were collected using an underwater camera during a standard hydrotherapy session conducted by a trained canine hydrotherapist. Range of motion, primarily due to an increase in flexion, was significantly greater (P<0.005) during swimming than trotting. Stride length (P<0.001) and frequency (P<0.005) were both significantly reduced in swimming compared to trot. Swimming kinematics recorded in this study are consistent with previously published data on canine aquatic locomotion but differ from those previously reported for water treadmill exercise. This study provides an insight into aquatic locomotion in healthy dogs indicating that range of motion exceeds that of terrestrial gaits. It is unclear whether these changes are beneficial for healthy animals and therefore further research is required to develop evidence-based protocols for industry practice.
, M. Rhodin, A. Bergh, A. Jansson
Comparative Exercise Physiology, Volume 17, pp 421-428;

This study examined the effects of two housing systems (control housing and loose housing) on musculoskeletal condition during recovery from race-like exercise in Standardbred horses. The hypothesis was that a loose housing system provides better conditions for musculoskeletal recovery than the control housing. Eight adult geldings (mean age 11 years) were used in a study with a cross-over design, with the control housing (CH) and loose housing (LH) treatments each run for 21 days. The horses had ad libitum access to forage and performed two similar race-like exercise tests (ET), on day 7 and day 14 in each treatment. Blood samples were collected before ET, at finish line, and at 7, 22, and 44 h of recovery and analysed for the muscle enzyme activities of creatine kinase and amino transferase. Before and three days after ET, hind leg fetlock joint region circumference and diameter, joint range of motion in right hock and carpus, mechanical nociceptive threshold in back muscle, and movement asymmetry were recorded. Overall circumference and overall diameter of hind fetlock joint region were lower in LH horses than CH horses (P=0.045 and P=0.017, respectively), but no other differences were observed. In conclusion, a loose housing system did not alter the recovery of musculoskeletal condition other than preventing a post exercise enlargement of the circumference and diameter of the hind fetlock joint region.
L. Clark, E.J. Bradley, K. Nankervis, J. Ling
Comparative Exercise Physiology, Volume 17, pp 467-474;

Riding simulators are designed to replicate movement of a horse for the purpose of assessment and training of horse riders, but little is known about their similarity in replicating movement of horses. This study tested the validity of a dressage simulator, by measuring cycle/stride duration, range and symmetry of displacement of the simulator and comparing displacement vectors to that of real horses trotting on a treadmill. A reflective marker was placed on the midline of the simulator at the estimated level of the 18th thoracic vertebrae (T18), and over the T18 spinous process of ten horses. The simulator displacement was recorded in trot mode, while the real horses trotted at a comfortable speed on a treadmill. Displacements in three axes of motion were measured using 10 high-speed video cameras sampling at 240 Hz. Correlation tests showed high levels of statistical repeatability and symmetry of the simulator between multiple runs. Mean cycle/stride duration of the simulator was significantly faster than the group of horses by 0.17 s. Significant differences between the simulator and horses were shown in overall displacement in two axes, the simulator displaying 70% greater displacement in the mediolateral axis, 22% greater displacement in the craniocaudal axis, but displaying 12% less movement in the dorsoventral axis, which was not statistically significant. Displacement trajectories showed similarities in the frontal plane, displaying a butterfly-shaped sequence, but clear differences in the sagittal plane, with the horses showing an oval pattern of displacement and the simulator a clear linear displacement. Caution must therefore be taken with assumptions that riders will move in the same way on a simulator as they would on a real horse.
J. Haughan, M. Manriquez, N.D. Cohen, M.A. Robinson,
Comparative Exercise Physiology, Volume 17, pp 457-465;

Exercise associated deaths (EADs) in horses are a problem for the equestrian industry. Sudden death (SD) is responsible for approximately 20% of EADs. The underlying cause of SD is suspected to be cardiovascular disease but often cannot be determined post-mortem. User-friendly cardiac monitors are needed for large scale investigations of arrhythmias associated with SD in horses. We hypothesised that novel wearable devices would provide exercising electrocardiograms (ECGs) of sufficient diagnostic quality for this purpose. Diagnostic quality of ECGs generated by two wearable devices (W2nd™ and Polar Equine™) were compared to simultaneous recordings with a telemetry unit (Televet™) in 5 Thoroughbreds completing 43 separate submaximal exercise tests on a high-speed treadmill. Maximal heart rate (HRmax) generated by mobile applications (HRmaxapp), HRmax after manual correction (HRmaxcorr), percentage of diagnostic ECGs (%diag) at the gallop, and overall quality assessed by visual analogue scale (VAS) were assessed by a blinded observer. HRmaxcorr did not differ significantly between groups. HRmaxapp was significantly lower for W2nd (166.8/min, 95% confidence interval (CI): 160.5-173.1/min) but did not differ significantly between Televet (178.8/min 95% CI: 165.8-191.1/min) and Polar (181.3/min, 95% CI: 174.5-188.1/min). HRmaxcorr was accurate and precise in all runs. HRmaxapp was within a priori limits of agreement in 16/23 W2nd and 18/19 Polar recordings. %diag was significantly lower (77.1%, 95% CI: 67.4-86.8) for W2nd than Polar (100%, 95% CI: 89.9-110.3). VAS was lower for W2nd (46.2, 95% CI: 35.5-57.0) than Polar (90.6, 25% CI: 79.4-101.9). In conclusion, wearable devices appear to be promising tools for investigation of equine exercising arrhythmias in large-scale studies.
F. Kalvandi,
Comparative Exercise Physiology, Volume 17, pp 485-491;

Resistance bands are a device for resistance training routine or rehabilitation program and come in various sizes, lengths, and strengths. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of elastic resistance training (ERT) on lipid profiles and C-reactive protein (CRP) changes in young and healthy men. Twenty untrained young and healthy men voluntarily participated in the study and were randomly assigned to the ERT (n=10) and control group (n=10). The ERT group performed three non-consecutive sessions per week for eight weeks. Blood was sampled before training and this was repeated after 72 h of the interval of the last session of ERT. The concentration of CRP and lipid profiles, including changes of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglyceride (TG), and total cholesterol (TC), were measured. Also, changes in body fat percentage (BF%) were measured. It was observed that CRP was not significantly affected by ERT (P>0.05). Also, TC and TG did not change significantly due to ERT (P>0.05). However, ERT increased the HDL-C concentration (P=0.001) and significantly decreased LDL-C (P=0.033). It is concluded that although the elastic resistance training failed to improve CRP; however, with a positive impact on some of the lipid profiles and health indices, it can be a useful, simple and low-cost exercise training in health promotion.
C.L. Challinor, H. Randle,
Comparative Exercise Physiology, Volume 17, pp 403-418;

Horse riders in the UK have a legal responsibility for the welfare of the horses in their care, outlined by the Animal Welfare Act (2006). Understanding weight management factors that influence rider: horse bodyweight (RHBW) ratio is key to safeguarding horse welfare as human obesity rates increase. Recent high-profile incidents have seen riders being asked to dismount for being too heavy, demonstrating an awareness of the possible impact of excessive rider weight, threatening the equestrian industry’s social licence to operate. This study investigated RHBW trends within the UK leisure and amateur rider population to understand rider perception of ‘ideal’ RHBW and factors influencing rider and horse weight management. An online survey (SurveyMonkey®) was distributed via UK equine-related Facebook™ groups and collected information on horse and rider demographics, rider weight management strategies and respondents’ views on the importance of rider weight on horse welfare. Kruskal-Wallis analyses with Mann Whitney U post-hoc tests identified whether differences in respondent views differed between RHBW groups. A total of 971 riders completed the survey; respondents were aged between 18-65+ years old and 88% (n=953) were experienced riders. RHBWs were calculated for 764 (79%) of respondents as 21.2% (n=206) did not know either their own and/or their horses’ weight. Weight tapes (44.5%; n=432) and weigh bridges (29.5%; n=286) were common horse weight estimation methods. RHBWs ranged from 4.9% to 21.88%, mean: 12.5%±2.7%. Riders with lower RHBW thought about their own weight less and measured their horses’ weight less often than those with higher ratios (P<0.005, P<0.0004, respectively). The majority of riders who participated were weight conscious and recognised potential detrimental impacts associated with increased rider weight. Development of RHBW guidelines supported by equestrian governing bodies would highlight the need for riders to consider the impact of weight and support them in choosing suitable horses.
B. Mohammadi, , S. Rahmati-Ahmadabad
Comparative Exercise Physiology, Volume 17, pp 493-500;

Previous studies showed that some medicinal herbs can prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The present study investigates the effect of Calendula officinalis supplementation on DOMS elements on male rowers. Thirty healthy adult male rowers were randomly chosen and equally divided into experimental and control groups. Blood samples, Sargent jumps (SJ), and pain perception tests were measured at the starting point. The experimental group consumed (twice a day, 200 μl each time) C. officinalis extract for a week while the control group received a placebo. After consuming the supplementations for a week, the second samples and tests were taken. All the athletes participated in the high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE – a muscle soreness protocol). Third, fourth, and fifth samples/tests were executed immediately, 24 and 48 h after HIIE. Statistical analysis was conducted and P≤0.05 was considered as the significant level. The results showed that HIIE induced a significant increase in the serum tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) values as well as the pain perception in both groups. TNF-α and pain perception were significantly lower in the experimental group immediately, 24 and 48 h after HIIE. CK-MB activity was significantly decreased in the experimental group during next 24 and 48 h after HIIE. The muscle soreness protocol and its preceding supplementation had no significant effect on SJ. The present study suggests that the consumption of C. officinalis based on the present study dose and timespan may be effective to attenuate inflammation and pain induced by HIIE in male rowers and probably has no functional impact on muscle.
, J.M. Manfredi, A. Jackson, J.E. Tomlinson
Comparative Exercise Physiology, Volume 17, pp 435-445;

The objective of the study was to determine the function of the biceps femoris, quadriceps, gastrocnemius and semitendinosus muscles at the walk in dogs with unilateral clinical cruciate disease and palpable joint instability. To compare function before and after a tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO) procedure, and after six weeks of subsequent rehabilitation therapy. Fourteen adult client-owned dogs with cranial cruciate ligament deficiency (CCLD). Orthopaedic examination, temporospatial gait analysis and acoustic myography (AMG) recordings were made at three time points: before TPLO, and post-operatively at two and eight weeks. A rehabilitation program started 2 weeks after surgery and was either in-clinic along with in-home rehabilitation or in-home only. Statistics included: repeated measures ANOVA and paired t-tests. Significance was set at P<0.05. When comparing the affected versus the unaffected limb in the CCLD dogs, there were no significant differences found in AMG values between baseline and other time points for the quadriceps and semitendinosus muscles. The gastrocnemius and biceps femoris muscles had a significant change in spatial summation (S) score over time. The gastrocnemius (S) score was not significantly different to the unaffected limb by 8 weeks post TPLO. There was no significant effect of rehabilitation method on S score. Dogs with in-clinic rehabilitation regained more symmetry in thigh circumference versus in-home only. Lameness parameters improved but did not completely resolve in all dogs by week 8 post TPLO. The function of the gastrocnemius muscles in affected limbs was significantly different to normal limbs at baseline and 2 weeks post TPLO but not at 8 weeks. Thigh symmetry, but no other parameters, was improved with the addition of in-clinic rehabilitation.
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