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Effect of incorporating low intensity exercise into the recovery period after a rugby match
  1. M Suzuki1,
  2. T Umeda1,
  3. S Nakaji1,
  4. T Shimoyama1,
  5. T Mashiko2,
  6. K Sugawara1
  1. 1Hirosaki University, Aomori, Japan
  2. 2National Defense Medical College, Japan
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Umeda
 Hirosaki University, School of Medicine, Zaifu-cho 5, Hirosaki 036-8562, Aomori, Japan;


Background: The psychological and physiological condition of athletes affect both their performance in competitions and their health. Rugby is an intense sport which appears to impose psychological and physiological stress on players. However, there have been few studies of the most appropriate resting techniques to deliver effective recovery from a match.

Objectives: To compare the difference in recovery after a match using resting techniques with or without exercise.

Methods: Fifteen Japanese college rugby football players were studied. Seven performed only normal daily activities and eight performed additional low intensity exercise during the post-match rest period. Players were examined just before and immediately after the match and one and two days after the match. Blood biochemistry and two neutrophil functions, phagocytic activity and oxidative burst, were measured to assess physiological condition, and the profile of mood states (POMS) scores were examined to evaluate psychological condition.

Results: Immediately after the match, muscle damage, decreases in neutrophil functions, and mental fatigue were observed in both groups. Muscle damage and neutrophil functions recovered with time almost equally in the two groups, but the POMS scores were significantly decreased only in subjects in the low intensity exercise group.

Conclusions: Rugby matches impose both physiological and psychological stress on players. The addition of low intensity exercise to the rest period did not adversely affect physiological recovery and had a significantly beneficial effect on psychological recovery by enhancing relaxation.

  • CK, creatine kinase
  • FITC, fluorescein isothiocyanate
  • FITC-OZ, FITC labelled opsonised zymosan
  • GOT, glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase
  • GPT, glutamate pyruvate transaminase
  • LDH, lactate dehydrogenase
  • POMS, profile of mood states
  • rugby
  • profile of mood states (POMS)
  • muscle damage
  • neutrophil function
  • low intensity exercise

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