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Effects of Breaking Up Sedentary Behavior With Short Bouts of Yoga and Tai-Chi on Glycemia, Concentration, and Well-Being

Alexander Colvin, Lynne Murray, Jillian Noble, and Sebastien Chastin

Background: Investigating the effects of breaking up sedentary behavior with short bouts of Yoga and Tai-Chi on glycemic control, concentration, and well-being in healthy individuals. Methods: In this randomized balanced incomplete block study, 15 adults (age = 26 [2.50] y, 8 females) completed 2 of 3 protocols: uninterrupted sitting (Control), sitting interrupted with 3 minutes of Yoga every 30 minutes, or with 3 minutes of Tai-Chi every 30 minutes. Protocols lasted 7.5 hours and included a standardized diet. Glucose was measured every 30 minutes with a glucometer (Abbott FreeStyle Libre). Concentration and well-being were recorded with self-reported ecological momentary assessment. Area under the curve was calculated for glucose data. Statistical analyses were performed as a hierarchical repeated-measures model. Results: Glucose area under the curve for the Yoga intervention (34.55 [3.12] mmol/L) was significantly lower than the Control (38.14 [3.18] mmol/L; P < .05). There was a trend toward lower glucose in the Tai-Chi group compared with the Control, but no significant differences were found (AUCTai-Chi = 36.64 [3.11] mmol/L; P = .57). Mean concentration in all groups decreased throughout the day, with the largest decrease in the Control. Well-being for the Yoga and Control groups decreased but increased with Tai-Chi. Concentration and well-being responses were not statistically significant between intervention groups. Conclusions: Breaking up sedentary behavior using 3-minute bouts of Yoga significantly lowers blood glucose in healthy individuals without compromising concentration or well-being. Tai-Chi did not provide the same significant effect on glucose levels but allowed better maintenance of concentration and well-being. These interventions provide effective ways to combat the deleterious effects of prolonged sedentary time while maintaining concentration and well-being.

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Improved Physical Health in Middle-Older Aged Golf Caddies Following 24 Weeks of High-Volume Physical Activity

Graeme G. Sorbie, Ashley K. Williams, Sophie E. Carter, Amy K. Campbell, Jonathan Glen, David Lavallee, Nicholas Sculthorpe, Andrew Murray, and Alexander J. Beaumont

Background: The physical demands of golf caddying, including walking while carrying a golf bag, may potentially affect body composition, and markers of metabolic, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal health. Therefore, this study examined the impact of 24 weeks of caddying on physical health in middle-older aged males. Methods: Eleven full-time experienced male caddies (age: 59 [8] y; caddying experience: 14 [12] y) were recruited from a local golf course. The following were assessed at preseason and after 24 weeks of caddying (March–September 2022): body composition, heart rate, blood pressure, blood lipids, and performance tests (static and dynamic balance, strength, and submaximal fitness). Physical activity (PA) levels were assessed at preseason and at the mid-point of the caddying season. Across the caddying season, participants completed a monthly average of 24.0 (3.8) rounds. Results: Following the caddying season, improvements in static balance (Δ = 13.5 s), dynamic balance (Δ = −1.8 s), and lower back absolute strength (Δ = 112.8 N), and muscle quality (Δ = 2.0 N·kg−1) were observed (all P < .05). Additionally, blood lipids, including total cholesterol (Δ = −0.6 mmol·L−1), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (Δ = 0.1 mmol·L−1), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (Δ = −0.6 mmol·L−1) (all P < .05), and body composition, including body mass (Δ = −2.7 kg), fat mass (Δ = −1.9 kg), fat percentage (Δ = −1.4%), fat-to-muscle ratio (Δ = −0.03), and body mass index (Δ = −0.9 kg·m−2) (all P < .05) improved. Caddying did not offer beneficial changes to cardiovascular variables or cardiorespiratory fitness (P > .05), while coronary heart disease risk score decreased (Δ = −3.3%) (P < .05). In relation to PA, light- (Δ = 145 min) and moderate-intensity (Δ = 71 min) PA, moderate to vigorous PA (Δ = 73 min), and total PA (Δ = 218 min) between preseason and the mid-point of the caddying season increased, while sedentary time (Δ = −172 min) decreased (all P < .05). Conclusion: Golf caddying can provide several physical health benefits such as improvements in various markers of cardiometabolic health, lower back absolute strength, and static and dynamic balance. The physical health improvements that caddying offers is likely contributed to by increased PA volume and intensity through walking on the golf course. Therefore, caddying may represent a feasible model for increasing PA volume and intensity and achieve physical health–related benefits.

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Inequalities in Leisure-Time Physical Activity and Television Viewing According to Age Among a Brazilian Adult Population

Andrea Wendt, Adriana K.F. Machado, Bruna G.C. da Silva, Caroline S. Costa, Luiza I.C. Ricardo, and Shana Ginar da Silva

Background: The present study aims to estimate leisure-time physical activity and television (TV) viewing curves according to age stratified by sex, area of residence, and socioeconomic position. Methods: Using data from the Brazilian National Health Survey, we estimated the prevalence of leisure-time physical activity and TV viewing according to continuous age. The estimates were calculated using fractional polynomials and stratified by sex, wealth, skin color, and area of residence. Results: The sample included 87,376 adults (aged 18 y or over). In general, leisure-time physical activity decreased according to age while TV viewing increased. Regarding behavior of curves according to stratifiers, for leisure-time physical activity the disadvantaged groups maintained a pattern of low physical activity across all age groups or presented the decrease earlier when compared to groups in social advantage. On the other hand, for TV viewing, women presented an increase in prevalence before men, and individuals living in the urban area and the wealthiest group were those with a higher increase according to age. Conclusions: Our findings may help researchers and policymakers further explore inequalities in physical activity across life in different settings, as well as develop sensitive cultural actions to support more vulnerable people to adopt public health recommendations.

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“Post or Perish”? An Early Career Researcher’s Guide to Using Social Media

Emma S. Cowley, Kelly McNulty, Ciaran M. Fairman, and Lee Stoner

Social media usage has soared in the last decade, with the majority of adults having an account on at least one platform. Sites such as LinkedIn, X, and TikTok allow users to share content using different forms, for example, written or video, long form or short form. Social media can be used by researchers to forge collaborations, rapidly disseminate new research, and demonstrate societal impact. This opinion piece aims to highlight the value of social media, in particular for early career researchers, and offer suggestions on how early career researchers can strategically use social media to build a network and an online presence. We reflect on our own experiences of social media and include some of the reasons we have been deterred from it in the past, such as fear of making a mistake, being misunderstood, or painted as being an overconfident “know it all.” As the demonstration of impact and engagement becomes ever more important in grant applications and job security, social media competency is a powerful professional skill that will be important for all scientists.

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Charting a Course: Navigating Rigor and Meaning in Global Health Research

Tiago Canelas, Motlatso Godongwana, Feyisayo A. Wayas, Estelle Victoria Lambert, Yves Wasnyo, and Louise Foley

In the rapidly evolving landscape of global health research, the tension between scientific rigor and contextual meaning presents a critical challenge. Drawing on our work with the Global Diet and Physical Activity Network, this commentary explores the complexities of conducting environmental audits for physical activity and diet in 4 rapidly urbanizing African cities: Yaoundé, Lagos, Cape Town, and Soweto. We illustrate the competing demands and tensions that researchers face in balancing rigor and meaning. We discuss the adaptation of internationally validated audit tools to local contexts and the importance of area-level deprivation in interpreting data. We also examine the feasibility of virtual assessment tools, emphasizing the value of local expertise. We argue for a balanced approach that marries research rigor with contextual meaning, advocating for transparency, humility, and meaningful community engagement.

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Participant Bias in Community-Based Physical Activity Research: A Consistent Limitation?

Iris A. Lesser, Amanda Wurz, Corliss Bean, Nicole Culos-Reed, Scott A. Lear, and Mary Jung

Physical activity is a beneficial, yet complex, health behavior. To ensure more people experience the benefits of physical activity, we develop and test interventions to promote physical activity and its associated benefits. Nevertheless, we continue to see certain groups of people who choose not to, or are unable to, take part in research, resulting in “recruitment bias.” In fact, we (and others) are seemingly missing large segments of people and are doing little to promote physical activity research to equity-deserving populations. So, how can we better address recruitment bias in the physical activity research we conduct? Based on our experience, we have identified 5 broad, interrelated, and applicable strategies to enhance recruitment and engagement within physical activity interventions: (1) gain trust, (2) increase community support and participation, (3) consider alternative approaches and designs, (4) rethink recruitment strategies, and (5) incentivize participants. While we recognize there is still a long way to go, and there are broader community and societal issues underlying recruitment to research, we hope this commentary prompts researchers to consider what they can do to try to address the ever-present limitation of “recruitment bias” and support greater participation among equity-deserving groups.

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Effect of Yoga or Physical Exercise on Muscle Function in Rural Indian Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Sonal Kasture, Anuradha Khadilkar, Raja Padidela, Ketan Gondhalekar, Radhika Patil, and Vaman Khadilkar

Background: Synergistic effects of yoga or physical exercise (PE) along with protein supplementation on children’s muscle function in rural India have not been studied. Hence, we aimed to study the effect of yoga and PE along with protein supplementation on muscle function in healthy 6- to 11-year-old rural Indian children post 6 months of intervention. Methods: A randomized controlled trial on 232 children, recruited into 3 groups, each receiving 1 protein-rich ladoo (148 kcal, 7 g protein/40 g ladoo–an Indian sweet snack) daily and performing (1) yoga (n = 78) for 30 minutes 5 times per week, (2) PE (n = 76) for 30 minutes 5 times per week, or (3) control group (n = 78) no additional exercise. Maximum power, maximum voluntary force (Fmax), and grip strength (GS) were measured. Data were analyzed using paired t tests and a 2-way mixed analysis of variance with post hoc Bonferroni adjustment. Results: GS, maximum power, and Fmax within yoga group increased significantly (P < .05) from baseline to endline. GS and Fmax increased significantly within PE group postintervention (P < .001). In controls, GS increased (P < .05) at endline. No significant effect of the intervention was observed on the change in maximum power (P > .05) postintervention. The 2 exercise groups showed significant increase in Fmax compared with the control group (P < .05). Similarly, increase in GS was significantly higher in both the exercise groups compared with the control group (P < .05). No significant difference was observed in change in muscle function between the 2 exercise groups (P > .05). Conclusions: Structured physical activity along with protein supplementation resulted in improved muscle function in children. Yoga and PE showed a comparable impact on muscle force.

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Volume 20 (2023): Issue 11 (Nov 2023)

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Association Between Children’s and Parents’ Physical Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Lagged Analysis

Monika Szpunar, Matthew Bourke, Leigh M. Vanderloo, Brianne A. Bruijns, Stephanie Truelove, Shauna M. Burke, Jason Gilliland, Jennifer D. Irwin, and Patricia Tucker

Background: COVID-19 caused closures of movement supporting environments such as gyms and schools in Canada. This study evaluated the association between Ontario parents’ and children’s physical activity levels across time during COVID-19, controlling for variables that were identified as significant predictors of children’s and parents’ physical activity (e.g., children’s age, parents’ employment status). Methods: Parents (n = 243; mean age = 38.8 y) of children aged 12 and under (n = 408; mean age = 6.3 y) living in Ontario, Canada completed 2 online surveys, the first between August and December 2020 and the second between August and December 2021. At baseline, parents were asked to recall prepandemic physical activity levels. To determine the association between parent and child physical activity during COVID-19, a cross-lagged model was estimated to determine the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between parents’ and children’s physical activity across time. Results: Bivariate associations revealed that parents’ and children’s physical activity levels were significantly related during lockdown and postlockdown but not prelockdown. The autoregressive paths from prelockdown to during lockdown were significant for children (β = 0.53, P < .001) and parents (β = 1.058, P < .001) as were the autoregressive paths from during lockdown to postlockdown for children (β = 0.61, P < .001) and parents (β = 0.48, P < .001). In fully adjusted models, the cross-lagged association between parents’ physical activity prelockdowns was significantly positively associated with their children’s physical activity during lockdowns (β = 0.19, P = .013). Conclusions: Resources are needed to ensure that children and parents are obtaining sufficient levels of physical activity, particularly during a pandemic.

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Clustering of Multilevel Factors Among Children and Adolescents: Associations With Health-Related Physical Fitness

Shan Cai, Yunfei Liu, Jiajia Dang, Panliang Zhong, Di Shi, Ziyue Chen, Peijin Hu, Jun Ma, Yanhui Dong, Yi Song, and Hein Raat

Background: To identify the clustering characteristics of individual-, family-, and school-level factors, and examine their associations with health-related physical fitness. Methods: A total of 145,893 Chinese children and adolescents aged 9–18 years participated in this cross-sectional study. The 2-step cluster analysis was conducted to identify clusters among individual-, family-, and school-level factors. Physical fitness indicator was calculated through sex- and age-specific z scores of forced vital capacity, standing long jump, sit-and-reach flexibility, body muscle strength, endurance running, and body mass index. Results: Three, 3, and 5 clusters were automatically identified at individual, family, and school levels, respectively. Students with low physical fitness indicator were more likely to be in the “longest sedentary time and skipping breakfast” cluster (odds ratio [OR] = 1.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12–1.24), and “physical inactivity and insufficient protein consumption” cluster (OR = 1.07; 95% CI, 1.02–1.12) at individual level, the “single children and high parental education level” cluster (OR = 1.15; 95% CI, 1.10–1.21), and “no physical activity support and preference” cluster (OR = 1.30; 95% CI, 1.25–1.36) at family level, and the “physical education occupied” cluster (OR = 1.06; 95% CI, 1.01–1.11), and “insufficient physical education frequency” cluster (OR = 1.16; 95% CI, 1.08–1.24) at school level. Girls were more vulnerable to individual- and school-level clusters, while boys were more susceptible to family clusters; the younger students were more sensitive to school clusters, and the older students were more susceptible to family clusters (P-interaction < .05). Conclusions: This study confirmed different clusters at multilevel factors and proved their associations with health-related physical fitness, thus providing new perspective for developing targeted interventions.