We have shown previously that treadmill exercise within lower body negative pressure (LBNPex) maintains upright exercise capacity (peak oxygen consumption, V̇o2peak) in men after 5, 15, and 30 days of bed rest (BR). We hypothesized that LBNPex protects treadmill V̇o2peak and sprint speed in women during a 30-day BR. Seven sets of female monozygous twins volunteered to participate. Within each twin set, one was randomly assigned to a control group (Con) and performed no countermeasures, and the other was assigned to an exercise group (Ex) and performed a 40-min interval (40–80% pre-BR V̇o2peak) LBNPex (51 ± 5 mmHg) protocol, plus 5 min of static LBNP, 6 days per week. Before and immediately after BR, subjects completed a 30.5-m sprint test and an upright graded treadmill test to volitional fatigue. These results in women were compared with previously reported reductions in V̇o2peak and sprint speed in male twins after BR. In women, sprint speed (−8 ± 2%) and V̇o2peak (−6 ± 2%) were not different after BR in the Ex group. In contrast, both sprint speed (−24 ± 5%) and V̇o2peak (−16 ± 3%) were significantly less after BR in the Con group. The effect of BR on sprint speed and V̇o2peak after BR was not different between women and men. We conclude that treadmill exercise within LBNP protects against BR-induced reductions in V̇o2peak and sprint speed in women and should prove effective during long-duration spaceflight
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