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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10373/441

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Title: A comparison of the physiological consequences of head-loading and back-loading for African and European women
Authors: Lloyd, Ray
Parr, B.
Davies, S.
Partridge, T.
Cooke, C.
Affiliation: University of Abertay Dundee. School of Social and Health Sciences
Keywords: Physiology
Load carriage economy
Oxygen consumption
'Free ride' hypothesis
African women
Head-loading
Back-loading
Walking
Issue Date: Jul-2010
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Type: Journal Article
Refereed: peer-reviewed
Rights: This is the author's final version of this article. Published version (c)Springer Verlag, available at DOI:10.1007/s00421-010-1395-9. The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Citation: Lloyd, R., et al. 2010. A comparison of the physiological consequences of head-loading and back-loading for African and European women. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 109(4): pp. 607-616. Available from DOI:10.1007/s00421-010-1395-9
Abstract: The aim is to quantify the physiological cost of head-load carriage and to examine the ‘free ride’ hypothesis for head-load carriage in groups of women differing in their experience of head-loading. Twenty-four Xhosa women [13 experienced head-loaders (EXP), 11 with no experience of head-loading (NON)] attempted to carry loads of up to 70% of body mass on both their heads and backs whilst walking on a treadmill at a self-selected walking speed. Expired air was collected throughout. In a second study nine women, members of the British Territorial Army, carried similar loads, again at a self-selected speed. Maximum load carried was greater for the back than the head (54.7 ± 15.1 vs. 40.8 ± 13.2% BM, P < 0.0005). Considering study one, head-loading required a greater oxygen rate than back-loading (10.1 ± 2.6 vs. 8.8 ± 2.3 ml kg bodymass−1 min−1, P = 0.043, for loads 10–25% BM) regardless of previous head-loading experience (P = 0.333). Percentage changes in oxygen consumption associated with head-loading were greater than the proportional load added in both studies but were smaller than the added load for the lighter loads carried on the back in study 1. All other physiological variables were consistent with changes in oxygen consumption. The data provides no support for the ‘free ride’ hypothesis for head-loading although there is some evidence of energy saving mechanisms for back-loading at low speed/load combinations. Investigating the large individual variation in response may help in identifying combinations of factors that contribute to improved economy.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10373/441
ISSN: 1439-6327
Appears in Collections:Social & Health Sciences Collection

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