Article Text

  1. SH Wong,
  2. J O'Reilly
  1. Department of Sports Science and P.E. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Jockeys often make weight by methods such as caloric restriction and voluntary dehydration, which may lead to a compromise in muscle and liver glycogen stores and blood glucose concentration, all of which are necessary for optimal racing performance. However, little information is known about the physiological measures of the Hong Kong jockeys. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine aerobic fitness and bone health of Hong Kong professional jockeys and their hydration status on race day morning, as well as their work intensity during competitive races. 15 professional jockeys in Hong Kong took part in the study. Maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max) and bone mineral densities of each wrist and calcaneus were assessed in the laboratory. On race-day, the first morning urine sample was assessed for urine specific gravity (USG) and each jockey wore a heart rate monitor from 45 min prior to their first race until 15 min after their final race of the day. VO2max for the group was 57±5−1. Mean combined T-scores and Z-scores for bone density were −1.04±1.19 and −0.74±1.10 respectively. USG was 1.0256±0.0058 g.mL−1. Mean heart rate during racing was 165±5 bpm. VO2max of Hong Kong jockeys was higher than that previously found in their UK counterparts. However, the jockeys had a markedly lower bone mineral density than would be expected for their age (Palmer et al. MSSE 2003;35:20) leaving them at a greater susceptibility to fracture from an impact that might otherwise leave them unharmed (Brown and Josse. Can Med Assoc J 2002;167:1–34). The jockeys were considerably dehydrated in an attempt to make weight for racing. Heart rate data indicated that the jockeys performed regular bouts of high-intensity exercise during the race day. A review of dietary, physical activity and hydration practices is recommended for this athletic group.

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