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Psycho-biological monitoring of health and performance among endurance athletes
The primary aim of this thesis was to investigate the relationship between prolonged exposure to stressors (both training and life stressors) and the experience of associated negative health outcomes in endurance athletes. In addition to OT, other negative health outcomes which have also been associated with an inability to adapt or cope with imposed stressors include athlete burnout, injury and illness. Interrelationships between these possible outcomes of the chronic exposure to stress and OT require further research. Specifically, the role of training factors and general life stressors on the development or occurrence of each of these states has yet to be examined. The second key objective of this research project was to explore the possible association between measures of perceived stress, mood disturbance and symptoms of OT, with selected indices of the inflammatory response following periods of intense and prolonged endurance training.
It is well supported that OT occurs when there is an imbalance between the stressors imposed upon an athlete, and the athlete’s ability to adapt to or cope with these stressors. The most notable sign of OT is a decrement in performance, despite continued or increased training. However, it is possible that other signs and symptoms typically associated with OT are evident before deterioration in performance. To date, no single factor or group of factors (biochemical, psychological, physiological or other) has been shown to differentiate between effective intense training and OT. Similarly, no factor has been confirmed as useful for the monitoring of training, prevention of Overtraining Syndrome (OTS), or elucidation of the mechanisms behind OT.