Special Issues

Biological Mechanisms Underlying Physical Fitness and Sports Performance
Editor: Georgian Badicu and Felipe J. Aidar

Submission Deadline: 24 December 2023 (Status: Open)

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Georgian Badicu      Email   |   Website
Department of Physical Education and Special Motricity, Transilvania University of Brasov, Brasov, Romania
Interests: physical activity; fitness; sport; obesity; well-being; recreation; public health; quality of life; sports activities; physical education; didactics of physical education and sports; sleep

Dr. Felipe J. Aidar      Email
Department of Physical Education, Federal University of Sergipe, São Cristovão, Sergipe, Brazil
Interests: exercise physiology; including physiological responses to stress (e.g., exercise); simulated and real adaptations in exercise and training; chronic disease and exercise

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In general, the concept of mechanism in biology has three distinct meanings. It may refer to a philosophical thesis about the nature of life and biology, to the internal workings of a machine-like structure, or to the causal explanation of a particular phenomenon. In this Special Issue, we try to discuss these possible biological mechanisms that underly the beneficial effects of physical fitness and sports performance, as well their importance and role/influences on physical health.

Understanding the biological mechanisms that justify acute and chronic physiological responses to exercise interventions is a determinant to sustain training principles and training methods. A strong understanding of the effects of exercise in humans may help to identify which causes could justify specific biological changes and properly identify the most adequate processes for implementing the training stimulus. The biological mechanisms whereby regular exercise and physical fitness promote psychological and physical health are diverse and complex. Physical fitness, achieved through regular exercise and/or spontaneous physical activity, can protect against the development of chronic stress- and inflammatory-related disease by optimizing physiological and neuroendocrine stress responsivity, promoting an anti-inflammatory state, and enhancing neuroplasticity and growth factor expression. Together, these biological mechanisms facilitate efficient activation, recovery and communication among the stress-responsive systems.

Despite the significant body of knowledge regarding the physiological and physical effects of different training methods (based on dimensions of load), some of the biological causes for those changes are still unknown. Additionally, few studies have focused on the natural biological variability in humans and how specific properties of humans can justify different effects for the same training intervention. Thus, more original research is needed to provide plausible biological mechanisms that may explain the physiological and physical effects of exercise and training in humans.

In this Special Issue, we welcome the contributions that describe and list the link between physical fitness, sports performance and human biology. Your contribution is welcome in the form of an original article and review. This Special Issue offers the opportunity to address the following types of topics: (i) Physiological and mechanistic effects of exercise on the human body. (ii) Biological mechanisms of recovery after exercise.

Georgian Badicu and Felipe J. Aidar
Guest Editors


biological mechanisms; physical fitness; sports and exercise physiology; physical activity; athletic performance; physical health; sport performance psychophysiological

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted via our online editorial system at https://www.biolifesas.org/journalx_brha/authorLogOn.action by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to start your submission. Manuscripts can be submitted now or up until the deadline. All papers will go through peer-review process. Accepted papers will be published in the journal (as soon as accepted) and meanwhile listed together on the special issue website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts will be thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. Please visit the Instruction for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted manuscripts should be well formatted in good English.

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  • Article
    Dimitra Nafpaktitou, Anastassios Philippou, Nikos Vagiakakos, George Vagiakakos, Markos Mantaloufas, George Chrousos, Michael Koutsilieris, Theodoros Platanou
    Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents. 2023, 37(9): 4899-4908. https://doi.org/10.23812/j.biol.regul.homeost.agents.20233709.476
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    Background: The immunological responses to exercise and the corresponding adaptations in high-level sports have become an important issue, from both the health and the physical performance points of view. A better understanding of the immune responses to exercise and chronic exercise training may benefit athletes and improve physical performance and health. The purpose of this study was to investigate the fluctuations in the immune status of young swimmers throughout a training season.

    Methods: Twelve well-trained male swimmers (14.08 ± 1.0 yrs) were recruited. Measurements were carried out at the beginning of the training season (T1) and pre- and post the taper of each competitive period (i.e., T2, T3 for the first training macrocycle, and T4, T5 for the second macrocycle, respectively). Blood samples were collected before and 1 hour post a maximal 400 m swimming testing at each of the above time points. Serum interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-1rα, IL-4, IL-10, C-reactive protein (CRP) and creatine kinase (CK) levels were measured. Adjustment for exercise-induced plasma volume changes was performed before all data analyses. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures was used for statistics.

    Results: An anti-inflammatory profile was induced during the second competitive period characterized by a reduction in the levels of inflammatory indices (T1 compared to T4 and T5, IL-1β: p = 0.019, p = 0.034 respectively; T1 compared to T4, CRP: –43%, p > 0.05) along with a tendency of increase in anti-inflammatory ones (T1–T5, IL-6: 75%, T4–T5 IL-10: 122%; p > 0.05). Moreover, acute exercise induced anti-inflammatory responses, causing an increase in anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-10, IL-1rα; p < 0.05). There was a significant decrease in serum CK levels between T1-T4 both in the pre- and post-test condition (p = 0.027, p = 0.005, respectively), while significant differences were found between pre- and post-test at T1, T2, and T4 (p = 0.000, p = 0.011, p = 0.017, respectively).

    Conclusions: The findings of this study indicated that swimming training throughout a season induces mild long-term but strong acute effects on the immune profile of the swimmers. These findings should be taken into consideration throughout a training season in young swimmers, adjusting the exercise stimuli accordingly in terms of volume, intensity, and recovery time.

  • Article
    Jainara Lima Menezes, Felipe J. Aidar, Francesco Fischetti, Georgian Badicu, Márcio Getirana-Mota, Gabriel González-Valero, Filipe Manuel Clemente, Stefania Cataldi, Gianpiero Greco
    Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents. 2023, 37(9): 4571-4579. https://doi.org/10.23812/j.biol.regul.homeost.agents.20233709.446
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    Background: Several reports have highlighted the beneficial impacts of caffeine on performance in various disciplines of Paralympic Powerlifting (PP), a sport renowned for its emphasis on maximal strength. Moreover, caffeine consumption within the context of PP has been found to be safe.

    Objective: To examine the effects of caffeine intake before, during, and after PP training sessions at national level in Brazil.

    Methods: Thirteen male PP athletes competing at national level (31.31 ± 10.13 years, 80.77 ± 22.66 kg) participated in the study. They were provided with either 9.0 mg/kg of Caffeine Anhydrous (CA) or Placebo (PL) and were evaluated using 45% of their one-repetition maximum (1RM) before and after training sessions, as well as 24 and 48 hours after sessions. Additionally, they performed five sets of five repetitions maximum (5x5), with assessments carried out during the first and fifth sets for all five repetitions. Evaluations focused on Mean Propulsive Velocity (MPV), Maximum Velocity (MaxV), and Power.

    Results: No significant differences were observed with 45% 1RM. However, at 80% 1RM, CA demonstrated significant improvement compared to PL during Set 1 and Set 5 (p < 0.05).

    Conclusions: CA exhibits promising ergogenic properties, enabling athletes to sustain training intensity throughout the session, even when working with heavier PP loads.