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Title: The effect of fasting and fluid restriction on performance
Authors: Fallah Soltanabad, Javad
Keywords: Hypohydration
Cognitive function
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: © J. Fallah S.
Abstract: Hypohydration and fasting are used as means to achieve body mass loss and Ramadan fasting is practised by millions of Muslims as a religious custom. Although both hypohydration and fasting have been studied extensively, the effect of hypohydration and Ramadan style fasting on many aspects of human performance is still unclear. In Chapter 3, the effect of exercise-induced hypohydration on muscle performance was evaluated. The protocol was developed to eliminate masking and exacerbating factors such as changes in muscle glycogen storage, muscle temperature, fatigue and fluid distribution change and acid base status. Muscle strength and endurance decreased due to hypohydration equivalent to 2% of body mass. This suggests that hydration status itself can affect adversely athletes’ performance. In Chapter 4, the effect of one day (11 h) of Ramadan style fasting on some aspects of exercise performance during the day was investigated. Participants were tested three times throughout the day: at 7:00 am, 12:00 noon and 7:00 pm. 11 h of Ramadan style fasting decreased body mass by 2.1%. No change was found in exercise performance measurements. The results of this study suggest that this short period of fasting has no measurable effects on performance and/or that any effects are compensated by the circadian rhythm throughout the day. However, most athletes use more intense fasting or several consecutive days of fasting to achieve their weight reduction goal. In Chapter 5, the effect of Ramadan fasting (one month long intermittent fasting) on some aspects of exercise performance of athletes (weight category and non-weight category sports) and recreationally active individuals was studied. Participants were tested before, during (after the first week and in the last week) and after the month of Ramadan. Ramadan style living (involving a change in timing of food intake and sleep pattern) affects most of the anthropometric and physical performance parameters of the athletes and of the recreationally active subjects, with no difference in the pattern of change between groups. Almost all of the differences were recovered a week after the end of fasting. Chapter 6 contains the results of three studies focused on the effects of fasting on cognitive function (study A- breakfast elimination; study B- one day (11 h) of Ramadan style fasting; and study C- one month of Ramadan fasting). Results of these studies make a logical conclusion that fasting has a detrimental effect on memory, reaction time and accuracy of responses. The pattern of the effects showed differences that may be related to various participants’ characteristics (age group, gender) and the nature of intervention. In summary, Ramadan style fasting may affect performance of some mental and physical tasks in some, but perhaps not in all individuals.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/6020
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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