I am directing attention to three articles in this month's impressive table of contents. First, Hollander et al. performed a systematic review on the long-term effects of barefoot locomotion, and were able to pool the results from 15 studies with a total of 8399 participants. While limited evidence was found for altered biomechanics and foot anthropometrics, no evidence was uncovered for effects of long-term barefoot locomotion on clinically and practically relevant outcomes, such as injury rates or motor performance. This is surprising since it is generally believed that being barefoot is beneficial for motor performance and is often proposed to reduce injury risks. Furthermore, there was a low to medium quality of published research and a high heterogeneity in the use of the term "habitual barefoot." Therefore, further standardization efforts are needed along with high-quality study designs to further elucidate the long-term effects of barefoot locomotion.
On a different topic, consuming ibuprofen for pain management (e.g., muscle soreness, joint pain) after exercise is a common practice. However, this practice warrants caution in light of the findings of Duff and colleagues. Results from their 9-month clinical trial in postmenopausal women indicated that ibuprofen consumed after resistance training may prevent the positive effects of the exercise on bone mineral mass. However, as in previous reports, either resistance training or ibuprofen alone were beneficial for bone and muscle health in postmenopausal women. Although preliminary, these findings have an important clinical and public health message for postmenopausal women, their physicians, and exercise professionals. For prevention of osteoporosis, it appears wise to separate the times at which resistance training is performed and ibuprofen is ingested.
Finally, Bhammar et al. examined the differences in peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2peak) between an incremental exercise test and a subsequent constant load verification test in 10–12-yr-old obese and nonobese children. Their results showed that verification testing yielded a higher V̇O2peak than incremental testing in both groups. These results exposed the shortcomings of the standard primary validation criterion (i.e., a V̇O2–work rate plateau) as well as secondary validation criteria (i.e., respiratory exchange ratio, maximal heart rate, and signs of intense effort) for ascertaining whether V̇O2peak was achieved during an incremental test in these groups. The take-home message is that for certainty in determination of V̇O2peak in both obese and nonobese children, a brief constant-load verification phase is critical for establishing the actual V̇O2peak.
L. Bruce Gladden
School of Kinesiology