Wearing a backpack could limit physical performance, research suggests

Sport and exercise academics at the University of Derby have discovered that wearing a heavy backpack during physical activity, such as that worn by the military on exercise, can significantly decrease performance.

Participants in the study wore a 25kg backpack during a 60 minute walk, and were then asked to run as fast as they could for 2.4km time trial (British army selection standards) to investigate the impact of wearing a heavy load on respiratory and .

PhD student Mark Faghy, who carried out the research with Lecturer in , Dr Pete Brown, said: "Carrying a heavy load presents a unique challenge to the by combining both chest wall loading from the mass of the backpack and restriction from the straps.

"This alters breathing mechanics during exercise, increasing the effort of taking each breath, which causes the respiratory muscles to become fatigued more quickly."

"Compared to the individuals' levels of fatigue and performance on the trials when not carrying a load, we saw a significant increase in respiratory fatigue and a decrease in performance as a result of the backpack"

Dr Pete Brown added: "Effects as big as these could have life or death implications for people on active duties in the armed forces; which is why we are hoping to carry out a larger-scale study on army personnel in the near future."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Become a marathon runner with the protein PGC-1alpha

May 15, 2013

Even with a greater muscle mass, a sprinter cannot win a marathon. His specially-trained and strengthened muscles will fatigue faster than the endurance-trained muscles of a long distance runner. The research ...

Heavy metal hardens battle

Jul 20, 2011

The French may have had a better chance at the Battle of Agincourt had they not been weighed down by heavy body armour, say researchers.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

neversaidit
5 / 5 (1) May 15, 2013
ok, either i'm not getting something important, or they are saying that wearing a 25kg backpack decreases performance on subsequent run..?
"Compared to the individuals' levels of fatigue and performance on the trials when not carrying a load, we saw a significant increase in respiratory fatigue and a decrease in performance as a result of the backpack"
seriously, either they are not making their conclusion clear, or they are retarded. YES WEARING 25KG BACKPACK IS MORE TIRESOME THAN NOT WEARING ONE!
deluxestogie
not rated yet May 15, 2013
In the accompanying photo of a test subject on a treadmill, the backpack is improperly adjusted, causing a significant load on the upper body. Properly fitted, most of the weight should ride on the padded hip belt, with only enough shoulder strap tension to keep the load as close as possible to the body's center of mass.

Working harder to breathe is a clear sign that the pack needs to be adjusted to shift more weight to the hips.

A discussion with the experts at NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School, Landers, Wyoming)--with which I am not affiliated--may serve to clarify your error.
BikeToAustralia
5 / 5 (1) May 15, 2013
Optimal distribution of weight helps but nothing makes 25kg disappear. I notice my legs get fatigued from lack of circulation (from the padded belt) when I carry a lot or for a long time. Obviously, less weight equals higher performance, so does training with that much added weight put in all those funny places.
gwrede
not rated yet May 19, 2013
"Scientists studying the spectrum of the sky found out in a world-first: the sky is blue!"

This kind of research has exploded in the last 5 years. I've been following science news for 40 years, and this kind of research did not exist a few decades ago. Such would have been considered utterly embarrassing.

It used to be that you don't even get to publish unless you could show that you're familiar with the field and know the previous research in it. Today people seem to do random research, and then claim it to be something unique.