Effect of cadence on respiratory response during unloaded cycling in healthy individuals
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University School of Physical Education, Wrocław, Poland
Online publication date: 2018-03-16
Hum Mov. 2015;16(1):36-41
The aim of the study was to establish the respiratory response to unloaded cycling at different cadences.

Eleven healthy participants performed a maximal graded exercise test on a cycle ergometer to assess aerobic fitness (maximal oxygen consumption: 46.27 ± 5.41 ml • min–1 • kg–1) and eight 10-min unloaded pedaling (0 W) bouts at a constant cadence (from 40 to 110 rpm). Respiratory data were measured continuously during each effort and then averaged over 30 s. Blood samples were collected before and 2 min after each effort to monitor changes in acid–base balance.

The efforts were performed at an intensity of 16.5–37.5% VO2peak. Respiratory response was not differentiated in cadences of 40, 50, 60 rpm. From 70 rpm, an increase in cadence was significantly associated with increased minute ventilation (F = 168.11, p < 0.000) and oxygen consumption (F = 214.86 p < 0.000) and, from 80 rpm, respiratory frequency (F = 16.06, p < 0.001) and tidal volume (F = 54.67, p < 0.000). No significant changes in acid-base balance were observed as a result of difference cadences.

Unloaded cycling at a cadence of 70 rpm or above has a significant effect on respiratory function and may be associated with the involvement of large muscle ergoreceptors (mechanoreceptors) stimulated by the frequency of muscle contractions.

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