Gaining Insight on the Impacts of Physical Activity
For the third year, team members from the Biodynamics and Human Performance Center attended the 50th Anniversary of the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run (WSER) to collect data for a study to characterize acute cardiovascular responses to participating in WSER.
Beginning in Olympic Valley, California, and ending in Auburn, California, WSER is considered as one of the oldest and most competitive ultramarathons in the United States. Those lucky enough to be selected to participate have only 30 hours to cover the distance.
Gregory Grosicki, Ph.D., associate professor in Georgia Southern University’s Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology, recruited 10 research faculty and students from Auburn University, Florida State University, San Francisco State University and the University of Colorado Anschutz to assist in the data collection.
“We measured blood pressure, arterial stiffness, heart size and function, kidney blood flow, and collected blood and urine from 75 athletes pre-race, 55 of which completed the race and returned for post-race measures,” stated Grosicki. “This is, without question, the largest and most comprehensive dataset ever to be collected at a single event like this.”
The rationale for the study is that while the health benefits of physical activity are well-documented, there appears to be an inverse J-shaped relation between exercise volume and cardiovascular health. More specifically, excessive physical activity may lead to maladaptive adaptations that increase cardiovascular risk.
“It is our hope that these data will provide novel insight into strategies to attenuate or mitigate these deleterious cardiovascular changes,” noted Grosicki.
This project was funded by the Western States Endurance Run Research Foundation.