Article Title



C. Burt, J. Hope, M. John, E. Butler, W. M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Research has linked specific odorant stimulations to altered psychological states. Ammonia increases alertness, whereas lavender has a calming effect. These altered psychological states may affect exercise performance. Therefore, odorants may possess the ability to act as an ergogenic aid. However, there is minimal research on odorant stimulation related to exercise performance. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of ammonia and lavender odorants on peak force output among recreationally active college-aged students. The researchers hypothesized that exposure to ammonia inhalation would improve peak force output compared to lavender. METHODS: Thirty-one college-aged, recreationally active males and females (nm = 17, nf = 14; ht: 174.4 ± 10.8 cm, wt: 76.2 ± 15.5 kg, age: 20.8 ± 0.9 y) completed a single experimental session that include performance trials for both odorants, in a randomly assigned order. To begin, participants performed a 5 min stationary bicycle warm-up at a self-selected intensity. Immediately following the warm-up participants inhaled the first odorant. Ammonia was inhaled from a 0.3 ml ampule (15% ammonia and 35% alcohol). Lavender was inhaled from a microcentrifuge tube, which contained one ml of 100% lavender oil. Immediately after inhalation of an odorant, participants stepped onto the force plate and performed a single maximal-effort vertical jump. The inhalation and jump procedure was performed three times for each odorant with several seconds rest between jumps. A 15 min passive recovery period separated the odorants conditions. Once completed, the warmup and testing sequence was replicated for the other odorant. A paired t-test (significance level p ≤ 0.05) was utilized to determine the existence of significant differences in force output between ammonia and lavender. RESULTS: No significant statistical difference was observed between ammonia and lavender conditions (ammonia: 1906.8 ± 457.2 N, lavender: 1864.6 ± 434.7 N, p = 0.078), although there was a trend for higher force output for ammonia. Due to extremely small effect sizes for the dependent variable, it is quite possible that these results are due to a Type II error (β = 0.96). CONCLUSIONS: Under these research conditions, ammonia and lavender did not elicit significantly different effects on peak force output. Ammonia and lavender may have both improved force output, but the researchers were unable to determine this because a control condition was not included. Further research on odorants and exercise should test a larger sample size with a control condition, and include additional familiarization to the odorants prior to testing.

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