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The Effect Of Eumenorrheic Menstrual Cycle Phase On Physiological Responses To A Repeated Lifting Task

Karen M. Birch, Thomas Reilly

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Cyclic variations in physiological and endocrinolgical baselines are known to be consistent with the eumenorrheic (healthy) menstrual cycle. The aim of this study was to examine the interaction of these variations with the physiological responses to repeated lifting. Sixteen females visited the laboratory in each of five phases of their menstrual cycle. During each visit, subjects performed a repetitive lifting task, lifting a weighted box, from knee to shoulder height, at six repetitions per minute for 10 min. Oxygen consumption, minute ventilation, heart rate (HR), and perceived exertion were monitored throughout the task. The variation in physiological and subjective responses to lifting with menstrual cycle phase did not reach statistical significance (p > .05). However, the HR response to lifting was elevated by approximately 10 beats min−1 in the postovulatory phases of the cycle (effect size > 0.61). Although the impact of the menstrual cycle upon lifting performance is minimal, alterations in HR must be taken into account in determining new international standards for manual handling. Key words: lifting, maximal oxygen consumption, subjective response, effect size