Effect of intensive swimming training on lung volumes, airway resistances and on the maximal expiratory flow-volume relationship in prepubertal girls
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The aim of the present study was to analyse the effect of 1 year of intensive swimming training on lung volumes, airway resistance and on the flow-volume relationship in prepubertal girls. Five girls [9.3 (0.5) years old] performing vigorous swimming training for 12 h a week were compared with a control group of 11 girls [9.3 (0.5) years old] who participated in various sport activities for 2 h per week. Static lung volumes, maximal expiratory flows (MEF) at 75, 50 and 25% of vital capacity, 1-s forced expiratory volume (FEV1.0) and airway resistance (Raw) were measured by means of conventional body plethysmograph techniques. Prior to the training period there were no significant differences between the two groups for any of the parameters studied. Moreover, for both groups, all parameters were within the normal range for children of the corresponding age. After 1 year of training, vital capacity (VC), total lung capacity (TLC) and functional residual capacity (FRC) were larger (P<0.05) in the girl swimmers than in the control group, while physical development in terms of height and weight was similar. FEV1.0 (P<0.01), MEF25, MEF50 (P<0.05) and MEF75 as well as the ratio MEF50 / TLC (P<0.05) had increased in the girl swimmers but were unchanged in the control group. Raw tended to be lower in the girl swimmers and higher in the control group. The results indicate that intensive swimming training prepuberty enhances static and dynamic lung volumes and improves the conductive properties of both the large and the small airways. As to the causative mechanism, it can be speculated that at prepuberty intensive swimming training promotes isotropic lung growth by harmonizing the development of the airways and of alveolar lung spaces.
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