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Daniel P. Ferris and Bryan R. Schlink

Robotic exoskeletons and bionic prostheses have moved from science fiction to science reality in the last decade. These robotic devices for assisting human movement are now technically feasible given recent advancements in robotic actuators, sensors, and computer processors. However, despite the ability to build robotic hardware that is wearable by humans, we still do not have optimal controllers to allow humans to move with coordination and grace in synergy with the robotic devices. We consider the history of robotic exoskeletons and bionic limb prostheses to provide a better assessment of the roadblocks that have been overcome and to gauge the roadblocks that still remain. There is a strong need for kinesiologists to work with engineers to better assess the performance of robotic movement assistance devices. In addition, the identification of new performance metrics that can objectively assess multiple dimensions of human performance with robotic exoskeletons and bionic prostheses would aid in moving the field forward. We discuss potential control approaches for these robotic devices, with a preference for incorporating feedforward neural signals from human users to provide a wider repertoire of discrete and adaptive rhythmic movements.

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Charles H. Hillman, Kirk I. Erickson, and Bradley D. Hatfield

The past two decades have uncovered the beneficial relation of physical activity and other health behaviors on brain and cognition, with the majority of data emerging from older adult populations. More recently, a similar research thread has emerged in school-aged children, which offers insight into the relation of physical activity to scholastic performance, providing a real-world application of the benefits observed in the laboratory. Technological advances have similarly furthered our understanding of physical activity effects on cognitive and brain health. Given this emerging body of work, this manuscript reviews the basic findings within the field, but more importantly suggests triggers or signals from the emerging literature that will shape the field in the near future. The overall goal of this body of research is to increase cognitive and brain health to promote effective functioning of individuals across the lifespan.

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Monica A.F. Lounsbery

For children, schools play an important role in providing and promoting physical activity, yet growing school pressure to produce academic achievement gains have limited the priority of physical activity producing programs. The Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association, and others have developed recommendations for school physical activity policy and there is growing interest in examining the relationship between existing school physical activity policies, school practices, and physical activity. Given that research on school physical activity policy is in its infancy, my goal in writing this paper is to introduce readers to key aspects of school physical activity policy while simultaneously outlining existing research efforts and highlighting the many critical research gaps that still exist. I conclude the paper by linking policy to advocacy and outlining considerations for formulating effective advocacy efforts while emphasizing the need for advocacy research.

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Nancy I. Williams, Clara V. Etter, and Jay L. Lieberman

An understanding of the health consequences of abnormal menstrual function is an important consideration for all exercising women. Menstrual disturbances in exercising women are quite common and range in severity from mild to severe and are often associated with bone loss, low energy availability, stress fractures, eating disorders, and poor performance. The key factor that causes menstrual disturbances is low energy availability created by an imbalance of energy intake and energy expenditure that leads to an energy deficit and compensatory metabolic adaptations to maintain energy balance. Practical guidelines for preventing and treating amenorrhea in exercising women include evidence-based dietary practices designed to achieve optimal energy availability. Other factors such as gynecological age, genetics, and one’s susceptibility to psychological stress can modify an individual’s susceptibility to menstrual disturbances caused by low energy availability. Future research should explore the magnitude of these effects in an effort to move toward more individualized prevention and treatment approaches.

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Jason R. Carter, Nancy I. Williams, and Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko

Building departmental visibility and support is essential to the success of any kinesiology unit. This paper provides an overview of different strategies taken by three American Kinesiology Association member departments to advance their respective units. Each program was faced with unique institutional goals and structures, yet each institutional example highlights the shared theme of building strategic partnerships and cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. Common strategies across the three institutions included a genuine understanding of university priorities and politics, chair and faculty leadership, strong internal and external communication, a willingness to lead and think creatively, and maintaining a focus on academic and educational excellence.

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Jerry R. Thomas, Damon Andrew, Patricia A. Moran, Wayne Miller, and Amelia M. Lee

In today’s challenging economic climate at most universities, kinesiology administrators are becoming increasingly aware of the need to participate in activities that will generate alternative revenue sources related to their academic mission. The ways deans and development officers communicate with alumni, potential donors, upper administrative leaders, and legislatures will all impact how successful the efforts to develop funds and partnerships will be. Successful fundraisers are those who can generate strategic alliances, create and market a plan that relates needs to societal issues of public interest and university priorities, and are able to identify partnerships that will produce an increase in resources. This paper provides strategies for identifying and connecting with key donors, building partnerships, developing the plan and cultivating internal and external audiences, aligning needs with university priorities, and working with legislatures.