Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Biosciences and Bioengineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 October 2024 | Viewed by 6635

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Life Sciences, School of Life & Health Sciences, University of Nicosia, 46 Makedonitissas Ave., P.O. Box 24005, Nicosia 1700, Cyprus
Interests: exercise physiology; sports performance; sports nutrition; exercise&health; fitness testing

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Guest Editor
Sports Science Program, School of Life and Health Sciences, University of Nicosia, Nicosia 1700, Cyprus
Interests: Athletic Performance; Sports Science; Resistance Training; Sports Physiology; Olympic Weightlifting; Track & Field; Strength-Power Training; Exercise & Health
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Irrespective of the age, gender and initial fitness level of each individual, specific strength and conditioning exercises are essential elements incorporate in a training program for fitness development either for improving human sports performance or for maintaining and securing human health.

This Special Issue of Applied Sciences, entitled “Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health”, will be dedicated to new perspectives in the aforementioned research topic. We intend to attract high-quality experimental and review manuscripts that will examine/discuss the metabolic, cardiorespiratory, muscular/neuromuscular, immune, hormonal and myokine effects of acute and/or chronic strength and conditioning training on human performance and on health for both genders and at all fitness levels and age groups.

We would like to welcome various types of manuscript submissions, including original experimental/research (cross-sectional, intervention studies) articles, systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Potential themes and sub-topics may include, but are not limited to, the effect of various types of strength/resistance (i.e., concentric, plyometric, isometric), cardiorespiratory (anaerobic: HIIT, SIT and aerobic) and/or concurrent strength and endurance training on fitness development attempting to maximize human sports performance and promote/secure human health.

We are looking forward to receiving your valuable manuscripts and collaborating with you.

Prof. Dr. Marios Hadjicharalambous
Dr. Nikolaos Zaras
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • strength and conditioning
  • fitness development
  • biological responses
  • sports performance
  • human health

Published Papers (10 papers)

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12 pages, 1169 KiB  
Article
Effect of Combined Intra-Session Glucose and Fructose Intake on the Performance of Young Super-Sprint Triathletes: A Randomised, Crossover, Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
by Pablo Pérez, Víctor Toro-Román, Jesús Siquier-Coll, Ignacio Bartolomé and Francisco Javier Grijota Pérez
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 3005; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14073005 - 3 Apr 2024
Viewed by 485
Abstract
Carbohydrate intake is a commonly used strategy in sports, and supplementation for triathletes includes pre-competition, intra-competition, and post-competition intake. The consumption of fructose–glucose improves intestinal transit and gastric emptying. The main purpose of this study was to analyse the effect of intra-session carbohydrate [...] Read more.
Carbohydrate intake is a commonly used strategy in sports, and supplementation for triathletes includes pre-competition, intra-competition, and post-competition intake. The consumption of fructose–glucose improves intestinal transit and gastric emptying. The main purpose of this study was to analyse the effect of intra-session carbohydrate intake in triathletes training in the super-sprint modality. Eleven adolescent triathletes (boys, n = 9, 14.6 years; girls, n = 2, 15.2 years) participated in a crossover, randomised, and blind study on the effect of supplementation with 45 g of carbohydrates (glucose:fructose; 1:2) The participants performed two super-sprint tests (swimming 250 m, cycling 6 km, and running 2 km) with a rest period (2 h) during which they drank a placebo drink (PG) or a carbohydrate drink (SG). The effect on blood glucose was evaluated, but there were no significant changes in glucose values. However, it was higher in the SG after supplementation. No significant differences were found in the cycling, swimming, and running tests, except for RPE in the swimming sector (p < 0.05). Neither were significant changes in body weight observed during the assessments. Supplementation with 45 g of liquid carbohydrates composed of fructose and glucose in a 2:1 ratio was not effective for delaying fatigue or improving performance markers or blood glucose levels in super-sprint triathletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health)
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9 pages, 267 KiB  
Article
Sports Analysis of Wheelchair Basketball Game Statistics
by Víctor Hernández-Beltrán, Sergio J. Ibáñez, Mário C. Espada and José M. Gamonales
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 2923; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14072923 - 29 Mar 2024
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Game statistics are used for the analysis of the performance of athletes. This allows the strengths and weaknesses of the players to be understood, and to design and implement training sessions for performance enhancement. Therefore, the objective of this study was to analyse [...] Read more.
Game statistics are used for the analysis of the performance of athletes. This allows the strengths and weaknesses of the players to be understood, and to design and implement training sessions for performance enhancement. Therefore, the objective of this study was to analyse the game statistics of the 2021 and 2023 European Champions and the 2023 World Champions in Wheelchair Basketball (WB), both male and female. For this purpose, the game statistics of all the championships were collected, and the differences according to gender and competition analysed through a statistical and inferential analysis, considering the functional classification of the players, based on the Mann–Whitney U test for the comparison of gender, and the Kruskal–Wallis H test for the comparison between championships. The results showed that players with a classification higher than 3.0 have higher three-point and two-point throws, while players with a classification of 1.0 have lower effectiveness in shooting. Depending on the championship, a greater number of three-point throws and respective effectiveness was found in the 2023 World Championships, with the male athletes presenting a greater number of points. This information will support WB coaches in designing and implementing training sessions and patterns of play and movements in competitive moments to improve individual and team performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health)
11 pages, 1142 KiB  
Article
Neuromuscular Performance of World-Class Judo Athletes on Bench Press, Prone Row and Repeated Jump Tests
by Luís Monteiro, Luís Miguel Massuça, Sérgio Ramos and José Garcia-Garcia
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 2904; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14072904 - 29 Mar 2024
Viewed by 809
Abstract
Judo is a sport that requires multiple high-intensity moments during the fight and high neuromuscular performance. Although not often, the explosive actions of the lower limbs can be decisive to winning in combat. This study aims to identify the differences in the neuromuscular [...] Read more.
Judo is a sport that requires multiple high-intensity moments during the fight and high neuromuscular performance. Although not often, the explosive actions of the lower limbs can be decisive to winning in combat. This study aims to identify the differences in the neuromuscular features of the range of movements of the upper and lower limbs between the top-elite and elite male judo athletes. This cross-sectional study included 63 high-level male judo athletes, who were classified into two level groups: (i) top-elite (n = 30; age: 23.5 ± 3.2 years) and (ii) elite (n = 33; age: 22.6 ± 2.9 years). All the participants went to the laboratory for neuromuscular evaluations in the bench press (BP), prone row (PR), and repeated jump in 30 s (RJ30) tests. The results show that the top-elite judo athletes are superior in all the upper-body neuromuscular attributes studied. These differences were significantly superior in (i) BP peak velocity (p < 0.01), maximum load 1RM, power (peak and mean), force (peak and mean), force mean to peak power, and rate of force development (RFD) (all, p < 0.001); and (ii) RP maximum load 1RM (p < 0.01), power load (kg, p < 0.001; % 1RM, p < 0.05), peak power (p = 0.010), power mean (absolute, p < 0.01; relative, p < 0.05), force mean (p < 0.05), force mean to peak power (absolute, p < 0.05) and RFD (p < 0.001). However, no significant differences were observed in the BP and PR time to peak force, time to peak power, and time between peaks (power and force). In the RJ30, it was observed that the initial contact time (T1) of top-elite athletes is significantly lower than that of elite athletes (p < 0.05) and that power at 15 (T2) and 30 (T3) seconds is significantly higher in top-elite athletes (T2, p < 0.05; T3, p < 0.01). The main effect of the performance group was significant in contact time (p < 0.05), and the main effect of time was statistically significant in jump height (p < 0.001), power (p < 0.001), force (p < 0.001) and velocity (p < 0.01). In addition, jump height (p < 0.01; η2p = 0.088) and power (p < 0.05; η2p = 0.068) showed a significant interaction between time and performance group. These results suggested that the observed superiority of the top-elite judo athletes in neuromuscular attributes can determine success in judo competitions. This observation reinforces that neural and metabolic profiles must be considered to increase the effectiveness of maximal power training for the upper and lower body. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health)
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16 pages, 1244 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Pilates vs. Zumba Dancing on Functional Performance, Mood and Health-Related Quality of Life in Postmenopausal Women
by Fatma Ben Waer, Mariam Lahiani, Cristina Ioana Alexe, Dana Badau, Mihail Petru Onoi, Dan Iulian Alexe and Sonia Sahli
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 2886; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14072886 - 29 Mar 2024
Viewed by 459
Abstract
This study aimed to compare the effects of Zumba and Pilates training on functional performance, mood, and health-related quality of life in postmenopausal women. Fifty-four postmenopausal women, aged 55–65, were randomly allocated to a control group (CG), a Pilates group (PG), or a [...] Read more.
This study aimed to compare the effects of Zumba and Pilates training on functional performance, mood, and health-related quality of life in postmenopausal women. Fifty-four postmenopausal women, aged 55–65, were randomly allocated to a control group (CG), a Pilates group (PG), or a Zumba group (ZG). Functional performance factors, in terms of walking speed, lower body muscle strength, dynamic balance, and functional mobility, as well as mood and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), were assessed before and after the intervention period. As results, both training modalities significantly improved the walking speed (PG (p < 0.001)/ZG (p < 0.001)), strength (PG (p < 0.001)/ZG (p < 0.05)), dynamic balance (PG (p < 0.001)/ZG (p < 0.001)), and functional mobility (PG (p < 0.001)/ZG (p < 0.001)), as well as mood (PG (p < 0.01)/ZG (p < 0.001)). Additionally, both intervention programs significantly improved their HRQol [physical function (PG (p < 0.001)/ZG (p < 0.001)) domain and SF36 total scores (PG (p < 0.01)/ZG (p < 0.001))] with better performance following Zumba training. However, the domains of social function (p < 0.001), mental health (p < 0.001), and role limitation due to emotional problems (p < 0.05) significantly enhanced only for the ZG. In conclusion, Pilates or Zumba training appears to be an ideal exercise for promoting functional performance, mood, and HRQoL in postmenopausal women. However, Zumba training seems to be more effective, resulting in optimal scores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health)
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13 pages, 7187 KiB  
Article
Immediate Effect of a Kinesiotape Bandage on Knee Mechanics during Functional Tests in Female Rugby and Football Athletes: A Pilot Study
by Amandine Fevre, Juliette Moriceau, Jaime Almazán-Polo and Guillermo García-Pérez-de-Sevilla
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 2839; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14072839 - 28 Mar 2024
Viewed by 429
Abstract
Background: Some bandages with Kinesiotape have demonstrated some potential as means of prevention for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in men. Objective: The main objective of this pilot study was to observe if a Kinesiotape bandage at the knee could potentially have an [...] Read more.
Background: Some bandages with Kinesiotape have demonstrated some potential as means of prevention for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in men. Objective: The main objective of this pilot study was to observe if a Kinesiotape bandage at the knee could potentially have an immediate preventive effect against ACL injuries by improving proprioception and balance and reducing knee valgus and anterior translation of the tibia during certain functional tests in female athletes. Materials and Methods: A cross-over clinical trial including 10 female athletes (football and rugby) was conducted, where the two lower limbs of the 10 participants (n = 20) were randomly assigned to the intervention group (IG) or to the control group (CG). A Kinesiotape bandage was placed on one knee with a tension of 75% (IG, n = 10) and another bandage on the other knee with a tension of 10% (CG, n = 10), as a placebo. Ultrasound assessment and functional tests were performed before (T1) and after (T2) bandaging according to group assignment. A videographic analysis was carried out with the ImageJ Software version 2.0. Results: A statistically significant reduction in knee valgus was observed in the Lateral Step Down test in the IG, compared to the CG (p < 0.05; η2p = 0.26) (IG-T1: 151.40 ± 11.04°; IG-T2: 157.10 ± 10.18°; versus CG-T1: 156.96 ± 5.44°; CG-T2: 158.68 ± 6.12°). In the other tests, no significant differences were found in terms of time × group interaction. Conclusions: A Kinesiotape bandage was able to reduce knee valgus in a functional test compared to a placebo bandage but was not more effective at reducing the anterior translation of the tibia or improving balance or proprioception. Based on these results, it could have a modest preventive effect against an ACL injury in female athletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health)
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18 pages, 2222 KiB  
Article
High-Volume Resistance Training Improves Double-Poling Peak Oxygen Uptake in Youth Elite Cross-Country Skiers and Biathletes: A Pilot Study
by Carl-Maximilian Wagner, Øyvind Sandbakk, Daniel Röhrs, Stephan Schiemann, Tobias Schmidt and Michael Keiner
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 2774; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14072774 - 26 Mar 2024
Viewed by 513
Abstract
A total of nineteen elite youth cross-country skiers (16 ± 2 years) were divided into three groups: a low-load group (LL, n = 6) performing 15–20 repetitions per exercise, a high-load group (HL, n = 9) executing 6–12 repetitions, and a control group [...] Read more.
A total of nineteen elite youth cross-country skiers (16 ± 2 years) were divided into three groups: a low-load group (LL, n = 6) performing 15–20 repetitions per exercise, a high-load group (HL, n = 9) executing 6–12 repetitions, and a control group (CON, n = 4) exclusively engaging in endurance training. Testing included 1RM in upper-body exercises, VO2max running tests, and double-poling (DP) ergometer exhaustion and sprint tests to determine peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak-DP) and peak power (PP). The results indicated that HL and LL showed significant increases in VO2peak-DP, both in absolute values (d = −1.2 and −1.2, p < 0.05) and when normalized to body mass (d = 0.93 and 1.3, p < 0.05). Although there were no group*time effects for VO2peak-DP, PP during DP tests to exhaustion increased in both HL (d = −1.6, p < 0.05) and LL (d = 1.4, p < 0.05) compared to CON. Standardized to body mass, only HL showed significant improvements in PP during the sprint test (d = 1.7, p < 0.05). During the sprint test, both absolute and body-mass-normalized peak power increased only in the high-load group (d = −1.0 and 0.93, p < 0.05). In conclusion, high-load resistance training resulted in the greatest improvements in strength, DP performance, and VO2peak-DP, indicating a dose–response relationship to the load magnitude of resistance training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health)
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14 pages, 900 KiB  
Article
The Impact of High-Intensity Interval Exercise Including Acceleration/Deceleration Patterns on Redox Status of Healthy Male Adults
by Eleanna Chalari, Huw S. Jones, Marios Hadjicharalambous and Mark C. Fogarty
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(6), 2655; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14062655 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 861
Abstract
High-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) is a type of structured physical training characterized by repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise interspersed with recovery periods. Although HIIE was found to improve physical performance in a relatively short period of time, there is emerging evidence suggesting that [...] Read more.
High-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) is a type of structured physical training characterized by repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise interspersed with recovery periods. Although HIIE was found to improve physical performance in a relatively short period of time, there is emerging evidence suggesting that acute HIIE may induce oxidative stress. The purpose, therefore, of the present study was to examine the effect of intermittency and/or acceleration during HIIE on oxidative stress in male participants. Nine healthy males [(age: 21.0 ± 3.0 years; height: 180.0 ± 4.0 cm; body mass: 79.4 ± 7.9 kg; maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max) 52.0 ± 6.0 mL·kg−1·min−1)] were recruited to perform six distinct exercise protocols of various intermittency (high, medium, and low) and acceleration (high, medium, and low) while a control session was also included. Blood samples were obtained to determine oxidative stress indices (lipid hydroperoxides, superoxide dismutase, and total glutathione) at rest, 1 h, 2 h, and 24 h following exercise on a non-motorized treadmill. The intra-individual variability of participants was observed in lipid hydroperoxides at baseline, ranging from 1.80 to 20.69 μmol·L−1. No significant differences among the six different exercise protocols in any of the oxidative stress indices evaluated were observed (p > 0.05). These results suggest that the influence of various intermittency levels and acceleration patterns upon exercise-induced oxidative stress is negligible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health)
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20 pages, 1649 KiB  
Article
Performance-Determining Variables of a Simulated Skimo Sprint Competition in Elite Junior Skimo Athletes
by Carl-Maximilian Wagner, Daniel Röhrs, Øyvind Sandbakk, Andreas Katz, Andreas Wittke and Michael Keiner
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(5), 1882; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14051882 - 25 Feb 2024
Viewed by 599
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the variables determining performance in a simulated on-snow Skimo sprint competition, and how their relationship with performance evolves from the individual time trial to the final. Fifteen national-level junior Skimo athletes (mean ± SD: age, 17.8 ± 2.5 [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the variables determining performance in a simulated on-snow Skimo sprint competition, and how their relationship with performance evolves from the individual time trial to the final. Fifteen national-level junior Skimo athletes (mean ± SD: age, 17.8 ± 2.5 years; maximal oxygen uptake, 66.8 mL·kg−1·min−1) underwent a comprehensive assessment, involving submaximal and maximal endurance tests, maximal strength assessments, and a maximal sprint to determine maximal glycolytic capacity. Subsequently, a simulated sprint competition, comprising an individual time-trial and three heats (quarterfinal, semifinal, final), was conducted. Whole-body and upper body aerobic power (r = 0.69–0.93), maximal speed and power (r = 0.82–0.85) during the maximal performance test, as well as fat-free mass (r = 0.62–0.77) and body fat (r = −0.67–−0.77), exhibited significant correlations with performance in the time-trial, quarterfinal and semifinal. Moreover, maximal strength (r = 0.39–0.95) and transition duration (r = 0.52–0.85) showed moderate to large correlations with sprint performance. Overall, aerobic power, maximal speed and power, as well as fat-free mass, and body fat emerged as crucial determinants of Skimo sprint performance, while dynamic strength and the ability to transition quickly between sections also proved to be relevant factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health)
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13 pages, 361 KiB  
Article
Associations of Balance, Strength, and Gait Speed with Cognitive Function in Older Individuals over 60 Years: A Cross-Sectional Study
by José Daniel Jiménez-García, Sonia Ortega-Gómez, Antonio Martínez-Amat and Francisco Álvarez-Salvago
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 1500; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14041500 - 12 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 696
Abstract
This research examined the association between the risk of falls and cognitive function in older individuals at risk of mild cognitive impairment. One hundred seventy-five older adults were included in 2021. Balance confidence was scored using the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC), gait [...] Read more.
This research examined the association between the risk of falls and cognitive function in older individuals at risk of mild cognitive impairment. One hundred seventy-five older adults were included in 2021. Balance confidence was scored using the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC), gait speed was assessed by the 4 m test, handgrip strength by a digital dynamometer, and balance by the Timed Up-and-Go Test (TUG). The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), The Controlled Oral Word Association Test, and The Boston Naming Test short-version questionnaires assessed global cognitive function, verbal fluency, and language, respectively. A bivariate correlation analysis and multivariate linear regressions were applied, adjusting for confounders (BMI, sex, age, and educational level). Shorter time in the TUG and greater educational status were independently associated with improved scores on the MMSE. Lower age and greater educational status were independently associated with increased phonological fluency. Better ABC and performance on the TUG and higher educational attainment were independently associated with enhanced semantic fluency. Higher education level and gait speed were independently associated with increased language (all p < 0.05). Improved physical factors, such as gait speed, grip strength, balance, and balance confidence enhanced cognitive function, particularly global cognitive function, verbal fluency, and language, in individuals over 60, with education as a potential confounder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health)
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12 pages, 1172 KiB  
Systematic Review
Exploring the Potential Benefits of Interventions When Addressing Simulated Altitude Hypoxia during Male Cyclist Sports: A Systematic Review
by Chen-Jui Yu, Shiow-Chwen Tsai, Yi-Hung Liao, Chung-Yu Chen and Kuo-Cheng Wu
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 3091; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14073091 - 7 Apr 2024
Viewed by 487
Abstract
Training in hypoxic environments enhances endurance, but the various influences of training protocols and supplementation for efficient performance are not yet clear. This systematic review explored the effects of different supplementations and interventions used to optimize the aerobic and anaerobic performance of cyclists. [...] Read more.
Training in hypoxic environments enhances endurance, but the various influences of training protocols and supplementation for efficient performance are not yet clear. This systematic review explored the effects of different supplementations and interventions used to optimize the aerobic and anaerobic performance of cyclists. Data were collected from the following sources: PubMed, Google Scholar, EMBASE, WOS, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Studies that explored the effects of supplementation or intervention during cycling were selected for analysis. Five studies (67 male cyclists; mean age, 23.74–33.56 years) reported different outcomes from supplementation or intervention during the acute hypoxia of cyclists. Three studies (42 male cyclists; mean age, 25.88–36.22 years) listed the benefits of beetroot juice in preserving SpO2 (pulse oxygen saturation) and enhancing high-intensity endurance performance, effectively preventing the reduction in power output. This systematic review provided evidence that the different effects of ischemic preconditioning (IPC), sildenafil, and beetroot (BR) supplementation and intervention did not present a statistically greater benefit than for normoxia groups, but BR supplementation promoted the benefits of SpO2. Future research should evaluate the duration and higher FiO2 (simulated altitude, hypoxia) levels of hypoxia in training protocols for cyclists. This is important when determining the effectiveness of supplements or interventions in hypoxic conditions and their impact on sports performance, particularly in terms of power output. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Fitness, Human Performance and Health)
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