|YOUR RESPONSE TO EXERCISE ?
Preparing and Training…
Founder of Ken Aston Referee Society
What do you notice happening
to your body when you exercise?
|YOUR RESPONSE TO EXERCISE
YOUR BREATHING IS MORE FREQUENT AND DEEPER
YOU SWEAT, FEEL HOTTER AND "FLUSHED"
YOU FEEL THIRSTY
YOUR MUSCLES ACHE
YOU FEEL LIGHT-HEADED & MENTAL ALERTNESS IS REDUCED
DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ALL THIS TO BE A REFEREE?
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO PRACTICE?
RATE AS A GUIDE TO WORK RATE
YOUR RESPONSE TO EXERCISE
What do you notice happening to your body when you exercise?
The list would probably go something like this:
- Your heart beats faster
- You breathe more deeply and more frequently
- You sweat and feel hotter
- You feel thirsty
- You change "color" - your skin becoming "flushed"
- You can feel your pulse beating
- Your muscles may begin to ache
- You may feel light headed and not as mentally alert
Obviously the body is trying to tell you something. There has to be a
purpose to these changes or else the body would not bother. It is saying
"if you are going to be doing this, 1 need extra resources". Let's take
a look at some of the clues.
YOUR HEART BEATS FASTER AND YOUR
PULSE FEELS STRONGER
Fact - Your heart is a muscle
and its function is to pump blood around your body. Blood is the
transport system for your body and carries the fuel and nutrients your
body requires. Your heart is approximately the size of a clenched fist
and weighs about 300g. It also holds about 70ml of blood (4.5
tablespoons) or about 1ml for every kilogram of your body weight. At
rest your heart rate averages about 72 beats per minute so the amount of
blood being pumped around your body each minute is 70 x 72 = 5 liters.
Fact - During moderate
exercise, such as steady running during a game, your heart will respond
to the increased demands for resources by slightly enlarging, thus
allowing more blood to enter your heart, and by increasing the number of
beats per minute. This allows more blood to be pumped around your body
i.e. 80 x 130 = 10.4 liters. As the intensity of your exercise increases
e.g. you have to sprint, heart rate increases still further so more
blood can be circulated e.g. 80 x 170 = 13.6 liters.
Reason - Your body is
asking for deliveries to be increased to meet the new demands. With
nearly three times the volume of blood flowing around your body it
cannot be surprising that awareness of your pulse beating is also
enhanced. Because of the greater volume and the increase in the speed at
which your blood is flowing, your heart would have to pump harder, and
your blood vessels expand, to meet the demand. Your heart is beating
more strongly so you feel the blood pulsating.
Thought - An Olympic
athlete can reach a level of 40 liters per minute!
YOUR BREATHING IS MORE
FREQUENT AND DEEPER
The message here is quite simple. Your body is asking for more oxygen to
cope with the demand for a greater fuel supply to your working muscles.
Fact - The oxygen you require is
breathed in through your nose and mouth and passes down your bronchial
tubes and into your lungs, which are made up of over 300 million tiny
air sacs, called Alveoli. It is here the oxygen transfers itself to your
blood to be transported around your body.
Thought - if you were to
flatten out the surface of your lungs it would cover an area of between
150 - 300 square meters.
Bearing in mind only 80ml of blood is circulated per beat of your heart
during exercise, that is a lot of surface area over which to spread such
a small amount of blood. It means the blood can be spread very thinly
and this speeds up the transfer of oxygen.
Thought - Put another way, one
person getting onto a tube (underground train) is quicker than 30 people
trying to get board during rush hour!
Fact - When resting you usually
breathe in about 500ml per breath and you do this 12 times per minute.
This would give you 6 liters of air. When you are exercising it is quite
reasonable to take in 2300ml per breath and your breathing rate could
increase 2 or 3 times.
Thought - This means you would
be taking in up to 80 liters of air.
How you breathe is also very important to you. Is it better to take
slower deeper breaths or faster shallower breaths? The answer lies in
understanding the mechanics of breathing.
Fact - When air is taken in, a
small amount (150ml) remains in your air passages and never reaches your
lungs. This is known as the 'Dead Air Space'.
Say, in slow deep breathing you were to breathe in 1000ml of air, the
amount of air reaching your lungs would be 1000 - 150 = 850ml. If the
number of breaths per minute is 16, the total air breathed in for one
minute is 1000 x 16 = 16 liters. The total air reaching your lungs,
however, is 850 x 16 = 13.6 liters.
By halving the amount of air breathed in and doubling the number of
breaths per minute as in faster shallower breathing, the total amount of
air taken in remains the same i.e. 500 x 32 = 16 liters.
However, the amount of air reaching your lungs is greatly reduced. 500
150 = 350 x 32 = 11.2 liters (instead of 13.6 liters).
- Slow deep breathing
is more efficient than rapid shallow breathing in increasing airflow to
YOU SWEAT, FEEL HOTTER AND
Fact - When you exercise the
muscles are used more and as a result produce heat. This heat needs to
be dissipated and your body loses heat in two principal ways. Firstly,
your sweat glands are stimulated to secrete fluid, which then evaporates
on the surface of your body to produce a cooling effect. Secondly, your
small blood vessels near to the surface of your skin enlarge to allow
more blood to flow closer to the surface where cooling can take place.
This is what makes you feel "flushed". Your body is telling you it wants
to cool down so you should help it.
Thought - The mere process of
sweating is not in itself a cooling process. The liquid sweat must be
allowed to evaporate before any heat loss occurs.
- On a hot day you
should try and wear a short-sleeved shirt, or at least have the sleeves
rolled up, to allow more skin surface to be exposed to the air.
YOU FEEL THIRSTY
Fact - Exercise will increase the
temperature of your body and your body will try to reduce the
temperature by secreting fluids. These fluids come from the reservoir of
fluids contained in your body. If the fluids are not replaced the level
in the reservoir will go down and eventually this will trigger a feeling
Thought - Thirst is a poor
indicator of fluid needs as by the time the feeling of thirst has been
registered the level of your reservoir is already quite low. Prolonged
periods of intensive exercise can result in fluid losses of up to 2 - 3
liters. This result in dehydration, which will not only adversely affect
performance but can also, be dangerous.
- Fluid, especially
water, should be regularly consumed before, during and after training or
matches to continually top up your reservoir and prevent you feeling
YOUR MUSCLES ACHE
So far, the reason for all this activity by your body has been to ensure
your muscles receive an adequate supply of fuel and nutrients to enable
them to work and propel you around the field of play. One of the
by-products of all this activity is heat, but there are other waste
products as well to be dealt with.
Fact - In moderate exercise your
body may be able to remove these waste materials as they are produced,
but as the intensity or length of the activity increases, the build up
of these waste products occurs faster than they can be removed. The
waste materials occupy space previously available to the fuel and
nutrients in your blood, so as they build up, your blood supply to carry
them away decreases. Without oxygen and nutrients the efficiency of your
muscles diminishes, waste products swell your muscle, and muscle
Reason - Your body is telling
you it is getting tired and will soon need a rest. The fitter you are
the longer you will be able to exercise before the waste products begin
to swell your muscles.
- When such soreness
occurs, stretching the muscles involved will assist in reducing the pain
YOU FEEL LIGHT-HEADED AND
MENTAL ALERTNESS IS REDUCED
So far, you know the reason for all the changes occurring in your body
are related to getting more fuel and nutrients to your working muscles.
In most cases in life when demand increases, additional resources are
sought and brought into play to meet the demand. Blood is your transport
system but you cannot suddenly inject a few extra pints, you have to use
what is already there.
Fact - When you are going about
your everyday lives, blood is circulating to all parts of your body.
When demand increases for more fuel to be taken to working muscles, your
body responds by reducing your blood supply to some organs not
immediately involved in the activity. It is then redistributed to the
areas in need. This means that organs such as your liver and stomach
will have their blood supply reduced so that more blood can be taken to
Thought - It is unwise to eat
a lot of food prior to exercising, as with a reduced blood supply the
food cannot be broken down and carried away quickly. It remains in your
stomach longer and can cause nausea and stomach cramps.
Fact - Your brain is another part
of your body that finds itself having to deal with a reduced blood flow
and the diminished oxygen supply may well make you feel light-headed and
your concentration to lapse. In severe cases it could cause you to
- The fitter you are the
more efficiently the oxygen can be transferred to your muscles. As the
oxygen flows to your muscles more easily they get all they want without
having to call on all your extra supplies of blood. Oxygen reduction to
your brain is, therefore, decreased.
DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ALL THIS
TO BE A REFEREE?
No you don't, but at least you know what your body is trying to do to
help you Referee.
Thought - Why not support your
body and make Refereeing a joint effort. You will become a better
Referee if you and your body practice together. With practice your body
will perform its tasks better, leaving you to concentrate on performing
well as a Referee.
- Ignore these
requests at your own peril.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO PRACTICE?
Running - for sure.
Did You Know? - A Referee covers between 6 -
12 kilometers during a game depending on the level of the competition.
Fact - Research carried out at
Liverpool University in 1993 on 11 Football League Referees and 3
Contributory League Referees showed that they:
Covered 9-10km during the match
Had an average heart rate of 165 beats per minute
Spent the major percentage of the time with heart rates above 85% of
Varied their movements around the field to include 50% jogging, 20%
walking, 20% reverse running and 10% sprinting.
- This is valuable
information and should be used to help you devise your training
There is nothing wrong with going for a run, but it is of little use if
you do not run very far.
- If you are expected to
cover between 6 & l2 kilometers during a game then you should practice
covering those distances during training.
You are told that your heart rate is likely to rise to about 165 beats
per minute and that for the major part of the game you will be working
near to 85% of your maximum heart rate. To get benefit from this
information you need to understand something about heart rates. What is
your maximum heart rate, for example? Will your heart be able to cope
with 165 beats per minute?
Fact - It is generally accepted
that a person's maximum heart rate is equivalent to the formula 220 -
Age = Maximum Heart Rate. So a young, healthy 20-year-old referee could
expect to have a maximum heart rate of 200 beats per minute. If this
referee had a heart rate of 165 beats per minute during a game, then
that would correspond to 82.5% of the maximum heart rate.
As you can see, a 55 year old referee working at 165 beats per minute
would be working at or near the predicted maximum, (220 - 55 = 165). The
body would not be able to maintain this level for the duration of the
game and so our referee would have to slow down to allow the heart rate
to drop. Having said that, a referee who has trained hard over the years
would have been able to slow down the rate of normal decline and even at
the age of 55 years could still record a maximum heart rate well above
the predicted value.
Thought - This may help to
explain why some older Referees are still fit enough to continue
performing at the top.
Advice - During training you need to practice raising your heart rate to
the level it is likely to go during a game. Jogging along slowly and
steadily for 8 kilometers may cover an appropriate distance but not at
the right intensity. You need to check your heart rate has increased to
near match level by stopping every now and again to take your pulse.
During training you should aim to increase your heart rate to between
70% and 90% of your maximum. (See ‘Heart Rate as a Guide to Work Rate’
chart below). If your heart rate is below 70% you are not running hard
enough but if it is over 90% you should ease off a little.
Refereeing is not just about running up and down. During a game you
would be expected to move in a variety of ways including jogging, fast
running, sprinting, side-ways running, running backwards, walking and
even standing still. If that is what is required then surely you must
practice these movements.
- Running is a good basic
stamina builder but you need to include the other movements so your body
gets used to it.
RATE AS A GUIDE TO WORK RATE
Source of information: 'A Guide to
Fitness for Referees' April 2001, produced by the Football Association
England. Acknowledgement to the National Coordinator for Fitness
Training, Vernon Crew; along with expert advice from John Brewer,
Director of the Lilleshall Sports Injury and Human Performance Center;
Alan Hodson, Director of the Football Association Medical Education
Center; and Rob Hartley, Head of the Sports Science Department,
University of Brighton.