Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-2010

Publication Details

This article was originally published as:

Morton, D. P. (2010). Heart rate responses and fluid balance of competitive cross-country hang gliding pilots. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 5(1), 55-63. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.5.1.55

ISSN: 1555-0273

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate the physiological challenges of competitive cross-country hang gliding.

Methods: Seventeen experienced male pilots (age = 41 ± 9 y; mean ± SD) were fitted with a monitor that recorded heart rate and altitude at 0.5 Hz throughout a competitive flight. Fluid losses were evaluated by comparing pilot pre- and postflight mass.

Results: The pilots’ displacement was 88.4 ± 43.7 km in 145.5 ± 49.4 min. Mean flight altitude was 1902 ± 427 m (range = 1363–2601 m) with a maximum altitude of 2925 ± 682 m (1870–3831 m). The mean in-flight heart rate of the pilots was 112 ± 11 bpm (64 ± 6% predicted HRmax). For all except one subject, heart rate was highest while launching (165 ± 12 bpm, 93 ± 7% predicted HRmax), followed by landing (154 ± 13 bpm, 87 ± 7% predicted HRmax). No statistically significant relationship was observed between heart rate during the launch and reported measures of state anxiety. Heart rate was inversely related (P < .01) to altitude for all pilots except one. Fluid loss during the flight was 1.32 ± 0.70 L, which approximated 0.55 L/h, while mean in-flight fluid consumption was 0.39 ± 0.44 L. Six pilots consumed no fluid during the flight.

Conclusions: Even among experienced pilots, high heart rates are more a function of state anxiety than physical work demand. Fluid losses during flight are surprisingly moderate but pilots may still benefit from attending to fluid balance.

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This article may be accessed from International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance here.

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