Energetics of kayaking at submaximal and maximal speeds

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The energy cost of kayaking per unit distance (Ck, kJ · m−1) was assessed in eight middle- to high-class athletes (three males and five females; 45–76 kg body mass; 1.50–1.88 m height; 15–32 years of age) at submaximal and maximal speeds. At submaximal speeds, Ck was measured by dividing the steady-state oxygen consumption (O2, l · s−1) by the speed (v, m · s−1), assuming an energy equivalent of 20.9 kJ · l O−1 2. At maximal speeds, Ck was calculated from the ratio of the total metabolic energy expenditure (E, kJ) to the distance (d, m). E was assumed to be the sum of three terms, as originally proposed by Wilkie (1980): E = AnS + αO2max · t−αO2max · τ(1−e −t·τ−1), were α is the energy equivalent of O2 (20.9 kJ · l O2 −1), τ is the time constant with which O2max is attained at the onset of exercise at the muscular level, AnS is the amount of energy derived from anaerobic energy utilization, t is the performance time, and O2max is the net maximal O2. Individual O2max was obtained from the O2 measured during the last minute of the 1000-m or 2000-m maximal run. The average metabolic power output (, kW) amounted to 141% and 102% of the individual maximal aerobic power (O2max) from the shortest (250 m) to the longest (2000 m) distance, respectively. The average (SD) power provided by oxidative processes increased with the distance covered [from 0.64 (0.14) kW at 250 m to 1.02 (0.31) kW at 2000 m], whereas that provided by anaerobic sources showed the opposite trend. The net Ck was a continuous power function of the speed over the entire range of velocities from 2.88 to 4.45 m · s−1: C k  = 0.02 · v 2.26 (r = 0.937, n = 32).

Accepted: 17 May 1999