Objective: To examine the acute cardiorespiratory and metabolic responses in competitive cross-country skiers with disabilities.
Design: Cross-sectional comparisons using a select group of Canadian athletes training for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
Setting: Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, Canmore, Alberta.
Participants: Nine competitive cross-country skiers (4 with visual impairment, 1 with traumatic brain injury, 3 with spinal cord injury, and 1 with cerebral palsy).
Interventions: Three-minute and 12-minute exercise tests in the standing or sitting skiing position to voluntary fatigue.
Main Outcome Measures: Cardiorespiratory responses using a telemetric system to compare the physiologic responses among the athletes with different disabilities. Heart rate (HR) and capillary lactate were measured at 2, 5, and 10 minutes of recovery.
Results: The t test results indicated that the peak values of the absolute and relative oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak), HR, and ventilation rate were significantly higher during the 12-minute compared with the 3-minute protocol during standing skiing. However, the oxygen pulse and ventilatory equivalent for oxygen ratio were not significantly (P > 0.05) different between the 2 protocols. Analysis of variance revealed no significant (P > 0.05) differences among the 3 trials for these peak physiologic responses during sitting skiing. Cross-sectional comparisons of the peak physiologic responses between the standing and sitting skiers indicated significantly (P < 0.05) higher values in the standing compared with the sitting position. Cardiorespiratory respiratory efficiency was significantly (P < 0.05) lower in the sitting compared with the standing position. HR during 10 minutes of recovery was significantly correlated with V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak. Pearson correlations were not significant between V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak and lactate removal during recovery.
Conclusion: These descriptive findings during the standing and sitting skiing protocols provide preliminary data that would be useful in testing, training, and classification of competitive skiers with disabilities.