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Physiological Factors of Importance for Load Carriage in Experienced and Inexperienced Men and Women.
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Åstrand Laboratory of Work Physiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5574-4408
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Åstrand Laboratory of Work Physiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0613-4806
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Åstrand Laboratory of Work Physiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0642-4838
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Åstrand Laboratory of Work Physiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6058-4982 
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2020 (English)In: Military medicine, ISSN 0026-4075, E-ISSN 1930-613X, article id usaa050Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

INTRODUCTION: The ability to carry heavy loads is an important and necessary task during numerous outdoor activities and especially in military operations. The aim of this study was to investigate factors associated with load-carrying ability in men and women with and without extensive load-carrying experience.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The energy expenditure during carrying no load, 20, 35, and 50 kg at 2 walking speeds, 3 and 5 km h-1, was studied in 36 healthy participants, 19 men (30 ± 6 years, 82.5 ± 7.0 kg) and 17 women (29 ± 6 years, 66.1 ± 8.9 kg), experienced (>5 years) in carrying heavy loads (n = 16, 8 women) or with minor or no such experience (n = 20, 9 women). A standard backpack filled with weights to according carry load was used during the walks. Anthropometric data, leg muscle strength, as well as trunk muscle endurance and muscle fiber distribution of the thigh, were also obtained. Extra Load Index (ELI)-the oxygen uptake (VO2) during total load over unloaded walking-was used as a proxy for load-carrying ability at 20, 35, and 50 kg (ELI20, ELI35, and ELI50, respectively). In addition to analyzing factors of importance for the ELI values, we also conducted mediator analyses using sex and long-term carrying experience as causal variables for ELI as the outcome value. The study was approved by the Regional Ethics Committee in Stockholm, Sweden.

RESULTS: For the lowest load (20 kg), ELI20, was correlated with body mass but no other factors. Walking with 35 and 50 kg load at 5 km h-1 body mass, body height, leg muscle strength, and absolute VO2max were correlated, while relative VO2max, trunk muscle endurance, and leg muscle fiber distribution were not correlated to ELI35 and ELI50.ELI50 at 5 km h-1 differed between the sexes. This difference was only mediated by the difference in body mass. Neither muscle fiber distribution, leg muscle strength, trunk muscle endurance, and body height nor did absolute or relative VO2max explain the difference.Participants with long-term experience of heavy load carrying had significant lower ELI20 and ELI50 values than those with minor or no experience, but none of the above studied factors could explain this difference.

CONCLUSION: The study showed that body mass, without sex differences, and experience of carrying heavy loads are the dominant factors for the ability to carry heavy loads. Even though the effect of experience alludes to the need for extensive carrying training, no causality can be proven. Load carry training intervention studies is suggested for future investigations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2020. article id usaa050
National Category
Physiology
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-6148DOI: 10.1093/milmed/usaa050PubMedID: 32248224OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-6148DiVA, id: diva2:1422684
Available from: 2020-04-08 Created: 2020-04-08 Last updated: 2020-04-14Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2021-04-06 10:00
Available from 2021-04-06 10:00

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Godhe, ManneHelge, TorbjörnMattsson, C. MikaelEkblom, ÖrjanEkblom, Björn

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Godhe, ManneHelge, TorbjörnMattsson, C. MikaelEkblom, ÖrjanEkblom, Björn
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