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    The association of elevated blood pressure during ischaemic exercise with sport performance in Master athletes with and without morbidity

    Zambolin, F, McPhee, JS, Duro-Ocana, P, Ganse, B, Bagley, L ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5538-0870 and Faisal, A ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5019-7292 (2022) The association of elevated blood pressure during ischaemic exercise with sport performance in Master athletes with and without morbidity. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 122 (1). pp. 211-221. ISSN 1439-6319

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    Abstract

    Background: An exaggerated exercise blood pressure (BP) is associated with a reduced exercise capacity. However, its connection to physical performance during competition is unknown. Aim: To examine BP responses to ischaemic handgrip exercise in Master athletes (MA) with and without underlying morbidities and to assess their association with athletic performance during the World Master Track Cycling Championships 2019. Methods: Forty-eight Master cyclists [age 59 ± 13yrs; weekly training volume 10.4 ± 4.1 h/week; handgrip maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) 46.3 ± 11.5 kg] divided into 2 matched groups (24 healthy MA and 24 MA with morbidity) and 10 healthy middle-aged non-athlete controls (age 48.3 ± 8.3 years; MVC 40.4 ± 14.8 kg) performed 5 min of forearm occlusion including 1 min handgrip isometric contraction (40%MVC) followed by 5 min recovery. Continuous beat-by-beat BP was recorded using finger plethysmography. Age-graded performance (AGP) was calculated to compare race performances among MA. Healthy Master cyclists were further grouped into middle-age (age 46.2 ± 6.4 years; N:12) and old-age (age 65.0 ± 7.7 years; N:12) for comparison with middle-aged non-athlete controls. Results: Healthy and morbidity MA groups showed similar BP responses during forearm occlusion and AGP (90.1 ± 4.3% and 91.0 ± 5.3%, p > 0.05, respectively). Healthy and morbidity MA showed modest correlation between the BP rising slope for 40%MVC ischaemic exercise and AGP (r = 0.5, p < 0.05). MA showed accelerated SBP recovery after cessation of ischaemic handgrip exercise compared to healthy non-athlete controls. Conclusion: Our findings associate long-term athletic training with improved BP recovery following ischaemic exercise regardless of age or reported morbidity. Exaggerated BP in Master cyclists during ischaemic exercise was associated with lower AGP during the World Master Cycling Championships.

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