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Quantification of energy expenditure of military loaded runs: what is the performance of laboratory-based equations when applied to the field environment?
  1. Alessandro L Colosio and
  2. S Pogliaghi
  1. Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
  1. Correspondence to S Pogliaghi, Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement, University of Verona, 37131, Italy; silvia.pogliaghi{at}univr.it

Abstract

Introduction Performance during army loaded runs provides a synthetic indicator of a soldier’s capacity to move while carrying loads and thereby remain able to execute a mission. The aim of this study was to estimate and compare the energy expenditure (EE) of army loaded runs, conducted in a field environment using laboratory-based equations and HR index (HRindex).

Methods 45 Ranger recruits had HR monitored during three loaded runs (10, 15 and 20 km) in full military equipment in the field environment. EE was calculated using reference equations (EE-Eq) and estimates of oxygen consumption based on HRindex (EE-HRindex). Correspondence between EE-Eq and EE-HRindex estimates was evaluated using a two-way analysis of variance, correlation test and Bland-Altman analysis.

Results EE-Eq relative to time and weight was significantly higher for the 10 km (0.175±0.016) compared with 15 and 20 km (0.163±0.016 and 0.160±0.013 kcal/kg/min, not different). The overall EE-Eq increased significantly with distance (1129±59, 1703±80 and 2250±115 kcal for 10, 15 and 20 km). EE-Eq was not different from and highly correlated with EE-HRindex, with a small and non-significant bias and good precision between methods.

Conclusions Our study provides the first comprehensive data on HR and EE during long-distance loaded army runs, in full combat equipment, in actual field conditions. Equation-based estimates of EE during these heavy-intensity activities were not significantly different from and highly correlated with HR-based estimates. This corroborates the general applicability of the predictive equations in the field environment. Furthermore, our study suggests that time-resolved HR-based estimates of EE during army runs can be used to evaluate for the effects of context specificity, individual variability and fatigue in movement economy.

  • loaded locomotion
  • special forces
  • military training
  • heart rate index

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Footnotes

  • Contributors Both authors developed the study methodology and contributed to the analysis of the results; drafted the manuscript and reviewed and revised the work and reviewed the final manuscript and approved it for submission. ALC collected the data.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Institutional Research Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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