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The Houston Methodist Human Performance Lab Launches Innovative Study on Triathletes, Investigating the Effects of Aging and Training Variables on Triathlon Performance

HOUSTON, Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Human Performance Lab at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine on the campus of Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital will soon report findings of an innovative research study examining the effects of aging and other physiological variables on the endurance and exercise efficiency of male and female triathletes.


The study, directed by Primary Care Sports Medicine (PCSM) physician, Dr. Scott Rand, FAAFP, CAQSM, and senior exercise physiologist, Mark Morrison, MS, is a pilot study investigating specific aspects of the triathlete population for which little scientific data currently exists.

According to Dr. Rand, who is also the medical director of the Human Performance Lab and the PCSM Fellowship program, the information gained from this study will provide the foundation for a larger 12-week training study at the lab - establishing data upon which future research can build and valuable training tools for triathletes can be developed. 

"We designed this study to establish evidence-based data on the physiological variables of male and female triathletes ages 18-64.  These triathletes are undergoing tests to determine not only endurance but also how 'training economy' and age impact performance," said Dr. Rand, coauthor and editor of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) Sports Medicine CAQ Study Guide.

"This information will provide a valuable foundation on which our performance lab and others across the country can build in creating optimal training prescriptions and tools for triathletes and other endurance athletes of all ages," added Dr. Rand.

According to Morrison all study participants undergo a series of tests, which include body fat analysis, blood lactate threshold and VO2 max as well as heart rate and running and cycling economy - to observe metabolic cost of exercise and determine if the best triathletes are the most "economical."

"We are hoping to answer a few questions with this study, as well as address a debate in current literature regarding exercise economy and VO2 max.  This data will improve our understanding of the important physiological factors that affect performance and how best to improve the way we address those factors in establishing the most efficient training program," said Morrison.

The study investigators hope that the information gained from this and consecutive studies will establish useful physiological data that can be used to predict performance in sprint, Olympic and Ironman Triathlons - a valuable training tool for triathletes. Expanded study of the endurance athlete population will also include testing for swimming economy.

The lab also has the capabilities to help the overweight and bariatric population and future studies will address this group. Learn more about the Houston Methodist Human Performance Lab at, or call 281.737.0466.  Check us out on Facebook!

About Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital is a not-for-profit, faith-based hospital, which is part of Houston Methodist. The facility opened on December 18, 2000. The campus has expanded in Northwest Houston to serve the comprehensive health care needs of the community.

SOURCE Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
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