Mandroukas, A., Heller, J., Metaxas, T., Papavasiliou, A., Riganas, C., Karagiannis, V., Kotoglou, K., Christoulas, K., & Mandroukas, K. (2009). Cardiorespiratory and metabolic changes during and after three different modes of exercise. A paper presented at the 14th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo, Norway, June 24-27.

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This study examined the cardiorespiratory and metabolic variations during exercise and passive recovery time among three forms of exercise, namely active recovery, passive recovery, and continuous running in physically active (soccer) male adults (N = 15). Ss performed a graded maximal test on a treadmill for the determination of VO2max. The active recovery exercise protocol consisted of running on a treadmill for four minutes at 12 km/h followed by four minutes at 8 km/h. This was repeated four times for a total exercise time of 32 minutes. The passive recovery protocol consisted of four bouts of four-minute running at 12 km/h followed by four minutes of rest in between bouts for a total time of 32 minutes. Continuous running was also performed on a no-gradient treadmill at 12 km/h for a total of 32 minutes. Finger-tip blood lactate measures were taken at the 8, 16, 24, and 32 minute stages of the exercise, as well as at 10, 20, and 30 minutes into the passive recovery after the end of the exercise protocols.

At 12 km/h, heart rate and VO2 did not differ between the protocols in bouts 1 and 2. However, in bouts 3 and 4, heart rate and VO2 were significantly higher in the continuous running protocol compared to the other two procedures. During the 4th bout, VO2 was 82% of VO2max in the active recovery protocol, 79% in the passive recovery, and 100% in the continuous running protocol. In all bouts at 8 km/h, heart rate and VO2 were significantly higher in active recovery compared to passive recovery. Blood lactate reached the highest values in the first eight minutes of exercise in all three protocols and was significantly higher in the passive recovery protocol compared to active recovery. [This shows that long rests promote more anaerobic work than occurs with short rests.] At the completion of exercise, blood lactate values were significantly higher in the continuous running protocol compared to the values obtained in the two recovery protocols. Ten and thirty minutes after the end of exercise, blood lactate values were significantly higher in continuous running compared to the other protocols. No significant differences in post-exercise blood lactate values were found between the active and passive recovery protocols.

In summary, heart rate and VO2 gradually increased along with the muscle effort in all forms of exercise. There are greater cardiorespiratory and metabolic system loads with continuous running than with active or passive recovery.

Implication. During continuous running, the cardiorespiratory system can be fully loaded without high blood lactate concentrations in comparison to the values that appeared during the first test for determination of VO2max. Active recovery promotes better use of the aerobic system in intermittent exercise.

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