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ENDURANCE

The term "endurance" refers to the ability to sustain intense physical activity over time without significant performance declines. Consequently, within the context of high-intensity anaerobic exercise, endurance can be measured in minutes, while in low-intensity aerobic exercise, it can be measured in hours. In some sports specialties, endurance is the determining parameter for victory (think of triathlon). However, when comparing the performance of a triathlete to that of a weightlifter and an ultratrailer, it is evident that the same term can have different meanings.

Endurance often encompasses three divergent yet related themes: muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, and mental endurance (resilience). Muscular endurance, typical of weightlifters, is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to repeat a specific movement many times, allowing them to sustain a certain effort for as long as possible. It depends on the muscle's ability to extract as much energy as possible from glycogen, producing few waste products (lactic acid, free radicals, etc.). This allows for a greater number of muscle contractions with the same amount of fuel burned, leading to greater resistance to repetition. The mechanism is local, not general, and is biochemical. For this metabolic condition to occur, the muscle must be richly supplied with blood and have the highest possible number of mitochondria per gram of muscle tissue.

Cardiorespiratory endurance, typical of triathletes, represents the ability to perform a movement with energy efficiency, being able to keep the body active for an extended period through the joint work of muscles, heart, and lungs. Cardiorespiratory endurance concerns the whole organism rather than specific muscles during a motor gesture. Excellent cardiorespiratory endurance is typical of all athletes who practice aerobic sports, where they are obliged to cover long distances at relatively high work intensities. Cardiorespiratory endurance depends on many factors, some modifiable with training, others little or not modifiable. It is typically expressed in terms of maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), but since measuring VO2max is costly and not straightforward, heart rate, which has been found to be closely correlated, is often measured.

In ultratrail running, resilience becomes particulary important, integrated, of course, with cardiorespiratory endurance. In this sport, athletes face races lasting more than a day, exposing them to extreme conditions such as sleep deprivation, significant musculoskeletal overloads, and crises of hunger and thirst. It is evident that cruising speed becomes an additional factor to the ability to overcome such adverse circumstances.

Only the combination of different endurance capacities can allow athletes to focus on pursuing their goal, whether it is primarily a muscular, cardiorespiratory, or mental (brain function) expression.

Measurements related to endurance are crucial in training and performance monitoring. OptoJump can measure spatial-temporal parameters during treadmill running, for example, during the execution of a Conconi Test (used by coaches to estimate cardiorespiratory endurance). This allows obtaining not only the aerobic threshold value (in terms of heart rate) but also analyzing changes in performance following fatigue and perhaps identifying the "biomechanical" threshold when the applied motor pattern varies to maintain the desired speed, affecting various parameters.

The Witty system, on the other hand, can measure times in outdoor endurance tests, as can the complete Racetime2 SF Kit, used, for example, as a timing system in skiing training and competitions. To provide additional stimulus for performance improvement, Witty TAB can be used to display times.

Finally, WITTY SEM (and exercises proposed by BrainHQ) can be used in training sessions for constructing complex exercise routines that involve a large number of repetitions for each exercise or for administering cognitive tasks for the development of resilience. Decline in performance and high movement variability can highlight concentration issues or weak motor patterns.

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