The Effect of Training Load and Training Stress on the Lung Health of Competitive Youth Swimmers

  • Author / Creator
    Davies, Rachelle D.E.
  • Background: Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), airway inflammation, and respiratory symptoms are commonly observed in competitive swimmers. High ventilation during pool training with cumulative exposure to chlorine by-products likely influences such respiratory problems, however there is paucity of evidence to explain whether varying amounts of training influence the lung health of competitive swimmers. Therefore, the objective of the study was to determine the effect of increasing external training loads and internal training stress (the individual response to training) on AHR, inflammation, and respiratory symptoms of competitive youth swimmers. Hypothesis: We hypothesized overall lung health status would worsen with increased training loads. We predicted lung health would be the worst following a high training load block compared to moderate or low training blocks. Methods: Eight competitive youth swimmers (4 males, 4 females) from the same high-performance swimming group completed three blocks of training (three weeks in duration) classified as Low, Moderate, and High based on calculations of prescribed swimming distance and intensity. Swimmers completed a weekly self-report questionnaire to determine respiratory symptoms. Session Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) was reported daily to quantify internal training stress, which reflects the internal training load (product of RPE and training duration), internal training monotony (daily mean of training loads divided by the standard deviation), and internal training strain (product of load and monotony). Eucapnic Voluntary Hyperpnea (EVH) challenge, spirometry pre- and post-EVH, and Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) were completed to determine the extent of AHR, EIB, and inflammation. Data from the three training were analyzed to determine whether an increase in training load resulted in significant differences in lung health measures across training blocks. Results: Swimmers had significantly decreased resting FEV1 after the Moderate training compared to Low, but there was no significant change after High. Maximum % decreases in FEV1 did not differ significantly across training blocks. Post-EVH FeNO after the Moderate block was also significantly decreased compared to Low. Internal load was significantly decreased after the Moderate block compared to High, while internal monotony was significantly decreased after Moderate compared to Low. Recovery from the EVH test (FEV1 at sampling intervals) was correlated with respiratory symptom frequency after training blocks. Conclusion: Increases in training load and monotony influence airway obstruction and inflammation in competitive youth swimmers. Swimmers in our study also had hyperresponsive airways, as revealed by the consistent decreases in FEV1 >10% upon provocation by EVH. Our results add to existing evidence that training with little variability in the daily training load (i.e. high monotony) may be a factor that facilitates the development of respiratory symptoms and could contribute to AHR and EIB in competitive swimmers. Thus, prescribing conservative increases in training load and maintaining low monotony in competitive swim programs may help reduce respiratory symptom frequency associated with EIB. However, further research is needed to determine the impact of varying training loads on long-term lung health and performance outcomes of swimmers over a season. Competitive swimming programs might benefit from implementing a lung health monitoring system that includes quantifying training loads, tracking respiratory symptoms, and measuring resting lung function.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Kennedy, Michael (Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Kennedy, Michael (Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation)
    • Jones, Kelvin (Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation)
    • Parent, Eric (Physical Therapy)
    • Steinback, Craig (Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation)