The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in changes to the structure of sport and the experiences of athletes. In this commentary, we consider how these changes, including schedule disruptions and the early termination of careers, have contributed to a reconsideration of how athlete transition should be defined, examined, and intervened upon. We outline our rationale for this proposed reconfiguration, including implications for researchers and practitioners working with athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. For researchers, we recommend updating the transition definition, reconsidering the measurement of salient transition-related variables, and utilizing study designs/methods that best facilitate this work. For practitioners, we recommend considering the dynamic nature of transition within holistic athlete care, building momentum on mental health destigmatization achieved during the pandemic, athlete transition education, and clinician advocacy for transition-related resources for athletes. Ultimately, we hope this work will spark continued innovations in athlete transition research and practice moving forward.
J.D. DeFreese, Samuel R. Walton, Avinash Chandran, and Zachary Y. Kerr
Claudio R. Nigg, Xanna Burg, Barbara Lohse, and Leslie Cunningham-Sabo
Purpose: This study used different analytic approaches to compare physical activity (PA) metrics from accelerometers (ACC) and a self-report questionnaire in upper elementary youth participating in the Fuel for Fun intervention. Methods: The PA questionnaire and ACC were assessed at baseline/preintervention (fall fourth grade), Follow-up 1/postintervention (spring fourth grade), and Follow-up 2 (fall fifth grade) of 564 fourth grade students from three elementary schools (50% females, 78% White, and 28% overweight or obese). Different analytic approaches identified similarities and differences between the two methods. Results: On average, self-report was higher than ACC for vigorous PA (range = 9–15 min/day), but lower than ACC for moderate PA (range = 24–30 min/day), light PA (range = 30–36 min/day), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; range = 9–21 min/day). Spearman’s correlations for vigorous PA (.30, .26, and .32); moderate PA (.12, .13, and .14); and MVPA (.25, .25, and .24) were significant at each time point (all ps ≤ .01), whereas correlations for light PA were not significant (.06, .04, and .07; all ps > .05). In repeated-measures analyses, ACC and questionnaire measures were significantly different from each other across the three time points; however, change difference of the two measures over time was only 5.5 MVPA min/day. Conclusions: The PA questionnaire and ACC validated each other and can be used to assess MVPA in upper elementary school children in a similar population to the current study. However, each assessment method captures unique information, especially for light-intensity PA. Multiple PA measurement methods are recommended to be used in research and application to provide a more comprehensive understanding of children’s activity.
Jason P. Brandenburg, Iris A. Lesser, Cynthia J. Thomson, and Luisa V. Giles
Background: Regular physical activity and higher cardiorespiratory (CR) fitness enhance immune function, possibly reducing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection severity. The aim was to assess the association between physical activity and self-reported CR fitness on COVID-19 infection characteristics. Methods: Participants formerly testing positive for COVID-19 completed an online questionnaire measuring COVID-19 infection characteristics and complications, self-reported CR fitness level, physical activity, and sociodemographic and health-related characteristics. Self-reported CR fitness was determined as the pace to cover 4.8 km without becoming overly fatigued (with slow walking, brisk walking, jogging, and running corresponding to low, moderate, good, and excellent levels of fitness, respectively). Results: A total of 263 individuals completed the survey. Compared with the lowest level of self-reported CR fitness, the odds of hospitalization significantly decreased by 64% (odds ratio = 0.36; 95% confidence interval, 0.13–0.98; P = .04) in individuals reporting the ability to maintain a brisk walk. In individuals reporting the ability to maintain a jogging pace, the further reduction in hospitalization was not significant (odds ratio = 0.22; 95% confidence interval, 0.05–1.04; P = .05). For COVID-19 symptom severity and number, there were no significant associations with self-reported CR fitness or physical activity levels. Conclusions: For individuals with low self-reported CR fitness, improving CR fitness represents a strategy to reduce the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19.
Sylvia E. Badon, Esti Iturralde, Linda Nkemere, Nerissa Nance, and Lyndsay A. Avalos
Background: Physical activity (PA) can help reduce depression symptom severity in women with perinatal depression. However, PA is low, and barriers and motivators for PA among women with perinatal depression are not well understood. Methods: An ethnically diverse sample of women with perinatal depression was identified using a universal perinatal depression screening program. The authors conducted 8 focus groups (4 in pregnant women [n = 15] and 4 in postpartum women [n = 20]). Depression symptoms were measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 at recruitment. Focus groups were analyzed using an inductive approach. Results: Pregnant participants were 27 weeks gestation, and postpartum participants were 11.5 months postpartum, on average. Depression symptoms were moderately severe (mean Patient Health Questionnaire-8 score: 16). Women identified practical barriers and motivators for PA common to perinatal women (physical health, parental responsibilities, PA tracking tools, and environmental factors) and described emotional and social factors influencing PA. Motivators included using PA to improve mood, relieve stress, boost self-image, and spend time with others. Bad mood, fear of social judgment, and feeling discouraged made it difficult to be active. Conclusion: PA interventions in women with perinatal depression should include components addressing emotional and social barriers to PA in addition to addressing additional common practical barriers to PA.
Paul R. Hibbing, Nicholas R. Lamoureux, Charles E. Matthews, and Gregory J. Welk
Physical behavior can be assessed using a range of competing methods. The Free-Living Activity Study for Health (FLASH) is an ongoing study that facilitates the comparison of such methods. The purpose of this report is to describe the FLASH, with a particular emphasis on a subsample of participants who have consented to have their deidentified data released in a shared repository. Participants in the FLASH wear seven physical activity monitors for a 24-hr period and then complete a detailed recall using the Activities Completed Over Time in 24-hr online assessment tool. The participants can optionally agree to be video recorded for 30–60 min, which allows for direct observation as a criterion indicator of their behavior during that period. As of version 0.1.0, the repository includes data from 38 participants, and the sample size will grow as data are collected, processed, and released in future versions. The repository makes it possible to combine sensor data (e.g., from ActiGraph and SenseWear) with minute-by-minute contextual data (from the Activities Completed Over Time in 24-hr recall system), which enables the FLASH to generate benchmark data for a wide range of future research. The repository itself provides an example of how a powerful open-source tool (GitHub) can be used to share data and code in a way that encourages communication and collaboration among a variety of scientists (e.g., algorithm developers and end users). The FLASH data set will provide long-term benefits to researchers interested in advancing the science of physical behavior monitoring.
S. Maria O’Kane, Ian M. Lahart, Alison M. Gallagher, Angela Carlin, Maria Faulkner, Russell Jago, and Marie H. Murphy
Background: To suppress the transmission of coronavirus, many governments, including that of the island of Ireland, implemented a societal lockdown, which included school closures, limits on social gatherings, and time outdoors. This study aimed to evaluate changes in physical activity (PA), mental health, sleep, and social media use among adolescent girls during lockdown. Methods: 281 female pupils (12–14 y) taking part in the ongoing Walking In Schools study on the island of Ireland self-reported PA, mental health, sleep, and social media use before (September–October 2019) and during lockdown (May–June 2020), via questionnaires. These were supplemented with open-ended structured interviews conducted with 16 girls during lockdown. Results: During the period of lockdown and school closures, pupils tried new forms of PA and undertook PA with family, but there was no significant change in self-reported PA. There was a decline in health-related quality of life and motivation for exercise; however, self-efficacy for walking and happiness with appearance increased. There was no change in sleep quality or social media usage. Conclusions: Despite the many challenges that schools face as they reopen, there is a need to continue to prioritize PA and motivation for exercise to support health and well-being in adolescent girls.
Yetsa A. Tuakli-Wosornu, Xiang Li, Kimberly E. Ona Ayala, Yinfei Wu, Michael Amick, and David B. Frumberg
It is known that high-performance sprinters with unilateral and bilateral prosthetic lower limbs run at different speeds using different spatiotemporal strategies. Historically, these athletes still competed together in the same races, but 2018 classification rule revisions saw the separation of these two groups. This study sought to compare Paralympic sprint performance between all-comer (i.e., transfemoral and transtibial) unilateral and bilateral amputee sprinters using a large athlete sample. A retrospective analysis of race speed among Paralympic sprinters between 1996 and 2016 was conducted. In total, 584 published race results from 161 sprinters revealed that unilateral and bilateral lower-extremity amputee sprinters had significantly different race speeds in all three race finals (100 m, p value <.001; 200 m, <.001; 400 m, <.001). All-comer bilateral amputee runners ran faster than their unilateral counterparts; performance differences increased with race distance. These data support current classification criteria in amputee sprinting, which may create more equal competitive fields in the future.
Although the dynamics of center of mass can be accounted for by a spring-mass model during hopping, less is known about how each leg joint (ie, hip, knee, and ankle) contributes to center of mass dynamics. This work investigated the function of individual leg joints when hopping unilaterally and vertically at 4 frequencies (ie, 1.6, 2.0, 2.4, and 2.8 Hz). The hypotheses are (1) all leg joints maintain the function as torsional springs and increase their stiffness when hopping faster and (2) leg joints are controlled to maintain the mechanical load in the joints or vertical peak accelerations at different body locations when hopping at different frequencies. Results showed that all leg joints behaved as torsional springs during low-frequency hopping (ie, 1.6 Hz). As hopping frequency increased, leg joints changed their functions differently; that is, the hip and knee shifted to strut, and the ankle remained as spring. When hopping fast, the body’s total mechanical energy decreased, and the ankle increased the amount of energy storage and return from 50% to 62%. Leg joints did not maintain a constant load at the joints or vertical peak accelerations at different body locations when hopping at different frequencies.
Joffrey Drigny, Marine Rolland, Robin Pla, Christophe Chesneau, Tess Lebreton, Benjamin Marais, Pierre Outin, Sébastien Moussay, Sébastien Racinais, and Benoit Mauvieux
Purpose: To measure core temperature (T core) in open-water (OW) swimmers during a 25-km competition and identify the predictors of T core drop and hypothermia-related dropouts. Methods: Twenty-four national- and international-level OW swimmers participated in the study. Participants completed a personal questionnaire and a body fat/muscle mass assessment before the race. The average speed was calculated on each lap over a 2500-m course. T core was continuously recorded via an ingestible temperature sensor (e-Celsius, BodyCap). Hypothermia-related dropouts (H group) were compared with finishers (nH group). Results: Average prerace T core was 37.5°C (0.3°C) (N = 21). 7 participants dropped out due to hypothermia (H, n = 7) with a mean T core at dropout of 35.3°C (1.5°C). Multiple logistic regression analysis found that body fat percentage and initial T core were associated with hypothermia (G 2 = 17.26, P < .001). Early T core drop ≤37.1°C at 2500 m was associated with a greater rate of hypothermia-related dropouts (71.4% vs 14.3%, P = .017). Multiple linear regression found that body fat percentage and previous participation were associated with T core drop (F = 4.95, P = .019). There was a positive correlation between the decrease in speed and T core drop (r = .462, P < .001). Conclusions: During an OW 25-km competition at 20°C to 21°C, lower initial T core and lower body fat, as well as premature T core drop, were associated with an increased risk of hypothermia-related dropout. Lower body fat and no previous participation, as well as decrease in swimming speed, were associated with T core drop.
Oliver W.A. Wilson, Michael J. Panza, M. Blair Evans, and Melissa Bopp
Background: The purpose of this scoping review was to critically examine the design and quality of contemporary research involving college student physical activity participation, focusing on physical activity measurement, assessment of sociodemographic characteristics, and examination of inequities based on sociodemographic characteristics. Methods: Systematic searches were conducted in 4 electronic databases. Results: From 28,951 sources screened, data were extracted from 488 that met the inclusion criteria. The majority of the studies were cross-sectional in design (91.4%) and employed convenience sampling methods (83.0%). Based on the subsample of studies that reported the percentage of students meeting aerobic (n = 158; equivalent of 150 min/wk of moderate physical activity) and muscle-strengthening activity recommendations (n = 8; ≥2 times/wk), 58.7% and 47.8% of students met aerobic and muscle-strengthening recommendations, respectively. With the exception of age and sex, sociodemographic characteristics were rarely assessed, and inequities based upon them were even more scarcely examined—with no apparent increase in reporting over the past decade. Conclusions: College student physical activity levels remain concerningly low. The generalizability of findings from the contemporary literature is limited due to study design, and acknowledgement of the influence that sociodemographic characteristics have on physical activity has largely been overlooked. Recommendations for future research directions and practices are provided.