Athletics

LifeWave Biomedical’s UWB technology integrates both cardiac and respiration functions in a single, small, wireless, and wearable device. Respiration rate, rhythm, and estimated ventilation may be assessed. Cardiac rate and relative stroke volume may also be assessed and combined with respiration assessment.

Competitive athletes are always trying to improve the effectiveness of their training regimens so that they may perform at peak levels. The most common physiologic monitor used in athletics has been the heart rate monitor. The heart monitor effectively measures exertion level as indicated by heart rate and more specifically, percentage of maximum. It is useful for assessing relative intensity for zone training and interval training. It is also effective for gauging performance against lactate threshold heart rates and training lactate threshold, but athletes rarely have access to accurate lactate threshold assessments.

If an athlete has interest in accurate assessment of lactate threshold, it usually requires a blood test at an exercise physiology lab. VO2 max, which is a measure of oxygen capacity, also requires lab testing. Unfortunately, the heart monitor only assesses one-half of the oxygen transport system – the pumping capacity of oxygenated blood. It does not address the oxygenation part of the process – that being respiration and the effectiveness of respiration. By combining minute ventilation and cardiac rate an athlete can readily receive lactate threshold assessments during any type of training.

Applications

Respiration Assessment and Training

Respiration training can have a significant impact on athletic performance. Proper breathing techniques and rhythm during professional athletic training can significantly improve physical output, however, a lack of monitoring capabilities prevents many athletes from taking advantage of this performance enhancing technique. Athletes may also improve the strength of their breathing and enhance their oxygen delivery with resistance tools and feedback. Respiration training is well researched and documented by Professor Alison McConnell of Brunel University in her two books, Breath Strong Perform Better; and Respiratory Muscle Training, Theory and Practice (see footnote below).

LifeWave Biomedical’s wireless UWB sensors can accurately assess respiration parameters such as respiration rate and rhythm and lung wall motion, during activity in an athlete’s normal training environment. This sensor provides the ideal solution to give high performance athletes an essential tool to reach their potential.

Cardiac Assessment and Training

Heart rate monitoring is well established as a training tool, but advanced parameters such as stroke volume, provide further advantage. Muscle fatigue during exercise is preceded by decreased cardiac output, which is directly associated with stroke volume and heart rate (see footnote below). Current monitors only assess heart rate and therefore lack the ability to fully understand how cardiac output changes during exercise.

LifeWave Biomedical’s UWB monitors are advantaged by the ability to provide full cardiac output assessments through combination of stroke volume information and heart rate. Real time feedback of this system will allow athletes to understand their fatigue levels more quickly and alter training regimes for maximum cardiac performance.

Anaerobic Threshold

Many highly competitive athletes spend considerable time and financial resources for specialized training and environments which enable individualized anaerobic threshold assessment to achieve peak performance. Furthermore, simultaneously determining heart rate and respiration rate and rhythm is difficult outside of a lab or clinic. As a result, many people resort to mere estimations of their anaerobic threshold as a percentage of their maximum heart rate.

LifeWave Biomedical’s UWB technology integrates both heart rate and respiration rate and rhythm sensing in a single, small, wireless, and wearable device. This, in conjunction with proprietary algorithms, enables the determination of anaerobic threshold, making it possible for athletes to train in their preferred environment without the need for access to specialized training centers.

Concussion Assessment

Athletes in contact sports are at high risk for experiencing concussions, even with helmet wear. This is most obvious in football and hockey, but a factor in other sports as well. Football has a concussion risk of 75%. It is estimated that 30% of concussions go undiagnosed furthering their risk of severe brain injury upon subsequent head impacts. Diagnosing a concussion often requires a combination of neurological testing and brain and skull imaging. However, these tests may be inadequate due to delays in symptom presentation.

LifeWave Biomedical’s UWB sensors are sufficiently small and may be integrated into football and hockey helmets to monitor impact to the head at the time of a collision and assess brain motion and skull contact. Most research work in this area is focused on measuring helmet and head impact forces and not actual brain trauma. The LifeWave sensor has the potential to, immediately provide physicians and emergency medical personnel information about the severity and location of impact before symptoms appear. In addition, this information provides an invaluable resource for brain injury research.

1. McConnell, Alison. Breathe Strong perform Better. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2011.
2. McConnell, Alison. Respiratory Muscle Training, Theory and Practice. London, UK: Churchill Livingstone; 2013.
3. Cardiovascular and Respiratory Physiology Research Group