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Physiological responses to simulated stair climbing in professional firefighters wearing rubber and leather boots

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No studies have considered whether a firefighter’s boots are a factor influencing physiological responses. The purpose of this study was to examine physiological responses to a fire simulation activity (stair climb) in professional firefighters wearing rubber boots (RB) and leather boots (LB). Twelve professional firefighters participated in two counterbalanced simulated firefighter stair climb (SFSC) sessions, one wearing RB and the other wearing LB. Heart rate, oxygen uptake (VO2), expiratory ventilation (VE), blood lactate (BLa), salivary cortisol (SCORT), and leg strength were assessed prior to and following a SFSC. LB elicited significantly greater SCORT values and knee flexion time to peak torque. Furthermore, RB revealed significantly greater ankle dorsiflexion peak torque after SFSC. BLa was positively related to knee flexion peak torque after SFSC in the RB. Firefighters when wearing the RB may be more effective at resisting fatigue and increase more force production.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the City of Oxford, Mississippi Fire Department.

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Correspondence to Chun-Jung Huang.

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Huang, CJ., Garten, R.S., Wade, C. et al. Physiological responses to simulated stair climbing in professional firefighters wearing rubber and leather boots. Eur J Appl Physiol 107, 163–168 (2009).

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