Effects of physical stress in alpine skiing on psychological, physiological, and biomechanical parameters: An individual approach.
Finkenzeller T, Burberg T, Kranzinger S, Harbour E, Snyder C, Würth S and Amesberger G (2022): Effects of physical stress in alpine skiing on psychological, physiological, and biomechanical parameters: An individual approach. In: Frontiers in Sports and Active Living.
Alpine skiing is an attractive winter sport that often includes mental and physical demands. Since skiing is often done for several hours, fatigue processes occur that might lead to action errors associated with a higher risk of accidents and injuries. The aim of this study was to investigate the timing of changes in subjective, physiological, and biomechanical parameters during a physically demanding, standardized, non-competitive alpine skiing session. A group of 22 experienced male skiers carried out 10 runs, each lasting between 150 and 180 s, at a turn rate of 80 turns per minute with their best skiing technique. Immediately after the run, skiers reported ratings of fatigue, and other affective states. During skiing, breathing pattern and biomechanical data of the ski turns as radial force, turn duration, edge angle symmetry, and a composed motion quality score were recorded. Analyses of variances on skiers showing signs of fatigue (n =16) revealed that only the subjective data changed significantly over time: fatigue and worry increased, vitality and calm decreased. Subsequently, individual change points analyses were computed to localize abrupt distribution or statistical changes in time series data. For some skiers, abrupt changes at certain runs in physiological and/or biomechanical parameters were observed in addition to subjective data. The results show general effects in subjective data, and individual fatigue-related patterns concerning the onset of changes in subjective, physiological, and biomechanical parameters. Individuality of response to fatigue should be considered when studying indicators of fatigue data. Based on the general effects in subjective data, it is concluded that focusing on self-regulation and self-awareness may play a key role, as subjective variables have been shown generally sensitive to the physical stress in alpine skiing. In the future, customized algorithms that indicate the onset of fatigue could be developed to improve alpine skiers’ self-awareness and self-regulation, potentially leading to fewer action errors.