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1 March 2008 Mood, Illness and Injury Responses and Recovery with Adventure Racing
Nat Anglem, Samuel J. E. Lucas, Elaine A. Rose, James D. Cotter
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Objective.—Exercise stress, immune status, and mood are interrelated. The stress of adventure racing is unique; exercise is very prolonged and competitive, with severe sleep deprivation and sustained cognitive demands, usually in arduous terrain and environmental conditions. The purpose of this prospective, descriptive study was to identify mood changes along with symptoms of illness and injury during and in the weeks following an international-level adventure race.

Methods.—Mood, sleep, injury, and illness data were collected using questionnaires before, during, and for 2 weeks following New Zealand's Southern Traverse Adventure Race in November 2003.

Results.—Mood was variable between athletes, but peaks of altered mood subscores were evident (P < .05) during the first 24 hours of racing, around race completion, and, as was hypothesized, 3 days after racing. Altered mood subscores resolved within 2 weeks. Symptoms of upper respiratory illness were most common immediately before (25/60, 42%) and after (28/49, 57%) racing, and largely resolved over the 2-week follow-up (5/27, 19%). Skin wounds and infections were common (43/49, 88%) immediately after the race but settled quickly. Pain was universal (100%), and musculoskeletal injury was common (38/48, 79%). Gastrointestinal complaints were common at the finish (8/49, 16%) and during the next 5 days but settled more quickly than upper respiratory symptoms.

Conclusions.—Adventure racing of approximately 100 hours causes significant symptomatic injury and illness and mood state disruption, which generally resolve within a fortnight following racing. Disrupted mood and symptoms of illness and injury indicate athlete susceptibility to overreaching or overtraining without sufficient recovery.

Nat Anglem, Samuel J. E. Lucas, Elaine A. Rose, and James D. Cotter "Mood, Illness and Injury Responses and Recovery with Adventure Racing," Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 19(1), 30-38, (1 March 2008).
Published: 1 March 2008

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adventure race
endurance exercise
mood state
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