Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2011) 10, 748 - 753

Research article
Physiological Responses of Elderly Recreational Alpine Skiers of Different Fitness and Skiing Abilities
Sabine Krautgasser, Peter Scheiber, Serge P. von Duvillard , Erich Müller
Author Information
Christian Doppler Laboratory, Biomechanics in Skiing, Department of Sport Science and Kinesiology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria

Serge P. von Duvillard
✉ Department of Sport Science & Kinesiology, University of Salzburg, Rifer Schlossallee 49, A-5400 Hallein/Rif, Austria
Publish Date
Received: 29-10-2010
Accepted: 25-10-2011
Published (online): 01-12-2011
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We measured physiological responses of elderly recreational skiers of different fitness and skiing abilities. Six subjects (mean age: 61.2 ± 4.6 yrs; Wt: 76.8 ± 15.6 kg; Ht: 1.69 ± 0.10 m; BMI: 26.9 ± 5.0) were tested in a laboratory and during 30 and 75 min of recreational downhill skiing. Oxygen uptake (VO2), heart rate (HR), blood lactate (LA) concentration, and diastolic (DBP) and systolic (SBP) blood pressure were used to estimate energy demands while skiing. During maximal testing in a laboratory, subjects achieved a mean maximal VO2max of 28.2 ± 7.5 and a mean HRpeak of 165 ± 4 bpm (98 ± 1% of HRmax). Mean maximal workload measured on a cycle ergometer was 2.2 ± 0.7 with a mean LApeak of 7.4 ± 1 mmol.l-1. During field testing, mean VO2 during skiing was 12 ± 2 (45 ± 16% of VO2max). Skiing VO2peak was 19 ± 5 ml. kg-1.min-1 (72 ± 23% of VO2max) was lower than VO2max in the lab (p = 0.04). Mean HR during skiing was 126 ± 2 bpm (77 ± 1% of HRmax from lab tests). Skiing HRpeak was 162 ± 2 bpm. This was not different from HRmax in the lab (p = 0.68). Mean LA after 30 and 75 min of skiing was not different (2.2 ± 0.8 mmol.l-1 and 2.0 ± 0.8, respectively, p = 0.71). Both LA samples during skiing were lower than lab tests (p < 0.0001). There was no difference for DBP between field and laboratory tests; however, SBP increased after 30 min of skiing to 171 ± 20 (p < 0.009) and 165 ± 17 (p < 0.003) after 75 min. These remained below the mean peak SBP determined in lab tests (218+31). Mean oxygen demand during 30 and 75 min of recreational skiing is only 45% of VO2max while mean HR is 77% of HRmax. This departure from linearity not often seen in typical aerobic activities suggests that alpine skiing requires a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activity. Blood LA remained low during skiing suggesting that elderly skiers may govern their intensity via signals closer to VO2 and LA compared to HR or BP.

Key words: Elderly, physiological responses, blood lactate, blood pressure

           Key Points
  • Recreational Alpine skiing for elderly population does not pose health risks
  • Blood pressure and heart rate during recreational Alpine skiing is retain within normal limits
  • Blood lactate levels remain relatively low and do not contribute to fatigue
  • Oxygen uptake and blood lactate are better markers of intensity in elderly Alpine skier compared to heart rate and blood pressure.
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