The Alexander technique (AT) has been practiced for over 125 years. Despite evidence of its clinical utility, a clear explanation of how AT works is lacking, as the foundational science needed to test the underlying ideas has only recently become available. The authors propose that the core changes brought about by Alexander training are improvements in the adaptivity and distribution of postural tone, along with changes in body schema, and that these changes underlie many of the reported benefits. They suggest that AT alters tone and body schema via spatial attention and executive processes, which in turn affect low-level motor elements. To engage these pathways, AT strategically engages attention, intention, and inhibition, along with haptic communication. The uniqueness of the approach comes from the way these elements are woven together. Evidence for the contribution of these elements is discussed, drawing on direct studies of AT and other relevant modern scientific literature.
Potential Mechanisms of the Alexander Technique: Toward a Comprehensive Neurophysiological Model
Timothy W. Cacciatore, Patrick M. Johnson, and Rajal G. Cohen
Volume 9 (2020): Issue 3 (Aug 2020): Special Issue: “Re-Education”
The Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program Model: A Proposed Illustrative Supplement to Help Move the Needle on Youth Physical Activity
Collin A. Webster, Judith E. Rink, Russell L. Carson, Jongho Moon, and Karen Lux Gaudreault
Birthed over a decade ago and built on a solid foundation of conceptual and empirical work in public health, the comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP) model set the stage for a new and exciting chapter of physical activity promotion through schools. On the academic front, there has been much enthusiasm around the potential of CSPAPs to positively affect youth physical activity behaviors and trajectories. However, program uptake in schools has yet to take hold. This article examines the CSPAP model and proposes an illustrative supplement to enhance communication about its application. The authors begin by charting the model’s challenging contextual landscape and then highlight the model’s early successes in spite of such challenges. Subsequently, they turn their attention to limitations in the way the model is presented, which appear to undermine CSPAP advocacy, and focus on improving the messaging about CSPAPs as an immediate step toward increased implementation.
The Shared Criticisms of Periodization Models and Behavior-Change Theories for Exercise: An Opportunity for Collaborative Advancement?
Kelley Strohacker and Cory T. Beaumont
Engaging in regular exercise is a common strategy to meet physical activity guidelines. It is generally accepted that exercise programs and interventions that are theory driven and provide clear exercise prescriptions elicit greater improvements than ones that are and do not. Several researchers have further surmised that the application of periodization may be useful for insufficiently active and at-risk populations. Although periodization is most commonly used to elicit peak performance in athletes, the goal of manipulating human movement to elicit favorable health and fitness adaptations is shared by interventionists applying behavior-change theories. However, the commonly applied theories and concept of periodization have received criticisms alluding to their potential obsolescence. The purpose of this review was to synthesize these criticisms and present current opinions in intervention development, with the goal of promoting cross talk and collaboration between experts in both disciplines to address potential shortcomings and stimulate innovation in exercise-program design.
Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Implementation of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program: A Review
Shannon C. Mulhearn, Pamela Hodges Kulinna, and Collin Webster
The Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) is a whole-school model for increasing opportunities throughout the school day for access to physical activity (PA). Opportunities for PA during the school day are an important part of the field of kinesiology and critical to individuals’ developing patterns of lifetime PA. Guided by Guskey’s theory of teacher change, this scoping literature review summarizes findings from 29 studies that collected data concerning the perceptions of stakeholders in a CSPAP. Teachers’ lifelong learning process is the focus, including K-12 classroom and physical education teachers and students, as well as current preservice classroom and physical education teacher education students and education faculty at teacher-preparation institutions. Positive perceptions of CSPAP programs were reported by all stakeholder groups. Although studies often include barriers to implementation, the stakeholders generally shared strategies to overcoming these and focused on benefits to the school setting that the researchers explained in their discussions.
What Triplett Didn’t Find and What Lewin Never Said First
Jeffrey J. Martin
The purpose of this brief commentary is to correct some misinformation that appears in many sport psychology writings. As the title of this paper indicates, the author discusses two historical giants in social psychology, Norman Triplett and Kurt Lewin, who are often cited in sport psychology publications. The problem with the typical commentary on these two social scientists and the events they are linked to is that the discussions of them are typically inaccurate, as Strube, Stroebe, and Bedeian indicate and the author next elaborates on.
Volume 9 (2020): Issue 2 (May 2020)
Groupness: Providing a Roadmap for an Emerging Construct in Physical Activity Settings
Alyson J. Crozier, Luc J. Martin, and Kevin S. Spink
The extent to which humans consider themselves part of a group versus a collection of individuals is termed groupness. Despite a rich history in other domains, research examining the construct in physical activity settings is only beginning to emerge. Indeed, seminal research from other domains and recent efforts in physical activity highlight the importance of groupness perceptions for a range of outcomes. This paper provides an overview of the current groupness conceptualization in physical activity, presents research conducted in exercise and sport contexts, and, most important, provides a roadmap highlighting future research avenues. Proposed lines of enquiry relevant to physical activity include the development of a context-specific conceptualization, advances in methodologies to facilitate measurement and analysis, and the importance of contextualizing groupness research within physical activity settings.
Social Psychology and Physical Activity: A Senior Perspective
Diane L. Gill
In taking a senior perspective, the author first steps back and offers an historical view and then offers her senior advice for moving forward. When the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) was in its infancy (early 1970s), the psychology subarea was known as social psychology and physical activity, and our research largely followed social psychology theories and research methods. In subsequent developing years, our research split into sport psychology and exercise psychology, with more focused research lines that moved away from social psychology and physical activity. While the more focused research builds our evidence base, that research has little impact on the wide range of participants and professionals. To have greater impact, we can reclaim the “social,” and we can take a more inclusive view of physical activity. We must recognize and highlight the powerful and complex role of “social” context and relationships and directly engage with professionals and participants in those real-world settings. We need more scholars who partner with other (nonacademic) professionals, teach those future professionals, and engage with their community and the public to enhance our real-world impact.
A Systematic Review of Child and Adolescent Physical Activity by Schoolyard Location
Kimberly A. Clevenger, Michael J. Wierenga, Cheryl A. Howe, and Karin A. Pfeiffer
The authors conducted a systematic review of children’s and adolescent’s physical activity by schoolyard location. PubMed and Web of Science were searched and articles were selected that included 3- to 17-year-olds and specifically examined and reported physical activity by schoolyard location. The primary outcomes of interest were the percentage of total time or observation intervals spent in each location and percentage of time or observation intervals in each location being sedentary or participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity. Included studies (N = 24) focused on preschoolers (n = 6), children (n = 11), adolescents (n = 2), or children and adolescents (n = 5) and primarily used direct observation (n = 17). Fields, fixed equipment, and blacktop were all important locations for physical activity participation, but there were differences by age group and sex. More research is needed that uses consistent methodology and accounts for other factors such as time of year, provided equipment, and differences in schoolyard designs.