Balancing stress and recovery in sports


Wijzig gegevens

Titel Balancing stress and recovery in sports
Looptijd 01 / 2006 - onbekend
Status Afgesloten
Dissertatie Ja
Onderzoeknummer OND1316416
Leverancier gegevens Website BCN; ZonMw

Samenvatting (EN)

To reach elite level in sports, athletes have to start their intensive and time-consuming training at an early stage. The road to the top is a stressful one, not only due to the physiological stress of training, but also caused by psychological and social stress. High stress levels in combination with inadequate recovery can lead to a local or general overload of the human system with negative consequences such as the overtraining syndrome (OTS). Hundred-and-fifty young athletes (16-20 yrs), active in ball team sports, i.e., soccer players and field hockey players, and endurance sports, i.e., runners and cyclists, will be monitored during a full training season. The amount of stress, stress response capacity, recovery related activities and performance changes will be monitored in the research period. Additional clinical measurements will be carried out in two subgroups, i.e., athletes showing performance decrements in two consecutive months and athletes showing regular performance patterns. The clinical measurements consist of assessment of hormonal, haematological and inflammatory profiles and psychomotor speed at rest and after two maximal exercise tests. By means of EEG brain activity associated with typical hormone levels and mood changes are measured during a stress test. Comparison of the monitor data, performance indicators and clinical measurements in both subgroups must lead to clues with respect to predicting the early onset of OTS in young elite athletes. In achieving elite level in sports, athletes have to start their intensive and time-consuming training at an early stage (36). The road to the top is stressful, not only due to the physiological stress of training, but also because of psychological and social stress. High stress in combination with inadequate recovery can lead to a local or general overload resulting in the overtraining syndrome (OTS) (26). Main objective of the current research proposal is to develop an on-line monitor for young athletes to prevent them from a systematic overload and avoiding overtraining in the negative sense in the near future. By relating changes in stress and recovery over time with deteriorated performance, changes in pathophysiological markers such as hormone levels and changes in brain function, an tailor-made detection system can be developed to determine whether stress and recovery are in balance. When stress and recovery are out of balance the monitor should warn the young athletes in an early stage to decrease the total amount of stress and/or increase the total amount of recovery to prevent them from a systematic overload leading to overtraining in the negative sense.
Research questions: The stress-recovery balance in relation to stress response capacities seems to be an innovative and good general framework for the prevention of NFO as an early stage of OTS in young elite athletes. Physiological stress, i.e., training stress is seen as the most important stressor, although the current insights point toward physiological stress in combination with other psychological or social stressors in their relation to recovery (11, 17). Thus, a young elite athlete who experiences high levels of other stressors, for example psychological stress, is at a higher risk compared with the athlete with the same training regime would be with low psychological stress. With the amount of total stress and total recovery one can still not predict if an athlete is at risk, because it also depends on the individual capacities to respond to the different stressors. For example, when a young athlete experiences high levels of social support, he or she can more adequately respond to high levels of stress in training and competition. In other words, personal dispositions can be seen as relevant modifiers of individual stress capacities. The model of Andersen and Williams (1), that identifies three main classes of variables influencing stress response capacity, i.e., history of stressors, personality characteristics like state anxiety, and coping resources like social support, seems an adequate framework to determine stress response capacity. So, it seems important to monitor stress and recovery in relation to specific stress response capacities to be able to detect if young athletes are systematically overloaded and at risk for NFO and OTS. Training stress is frequently monitored with the use of training logs. In these training logs characteristics and perceived exertion of training can be assessed with which training load, weekly load and training monotony can be calculated in endurances athletes as well as in ball team players (7, 8, l2). Also resting heart rate, exercise heart rate and subjective ratings of recovery and muscle soreness can be included in daily training logs. Additional to training stress it is important to monitor other stressors, like social, emotional and general stress as well as recovery related activities. The recovery stress questionnaire (RESTQ-sport) (16) is a promising tool to monitor the frequency of experienced stressors and recovery related activities over time.
Subjects: Hundred-and-fifty young elite athletes, i.e., 75 ball team players and 75 endurance athletes, between 16 and 20 years of age will be included in our study. In cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) and the Royal Dutch Hockey Association (KNHB) 5 professional teams with approximately 75 male players (16-20 years; playing outdoors) will be included during the 2006-2007 season. Additionally, in cooperation with the Royal Dutch Athletics Association (KNAU) and the Royal Dutch Cycling Association (KNWU), 75 elite endurance athletes, i.e., runners and cyclists will be included.

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