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Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Nicholas Kuzik, Leigh M. Vanderloo, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, Maeghan E. James, Rebecca L. Bassett-Gunter, Daniela Ruttle, Pinder DaSilva, Katerina Disimino, Christine Cameron, Mike Arthur, Keiko Shikako, and Amy E. Latimer-Cheung

This report provides an expert appraisal of the Canadian Para Report Card on physical activity (PA) for children and adolescents with disabilities. Thirteen indicators were graded by a panel of researchers, representatives from disability and PA organizations, and parents of children and adolescents with disabilities using benchmarks of the Global Matrix 4.0 and previous Canadian PA Report Cards. Facilitated panel discussions were used to appraise the available evidence based on data gaps, opportunities, and recommendations. The available data sources included four nationally generalizable or representative data sets. Grades were assigned to 8/13 indicators and ranged from B+ to F. Data gaps in measurement and national surveillance systems were identified. Ableism was an issue identified within some of the reporting benchmarks. The absence of PA from existing accessibility legislation in Canada was a policy gap of concern. Recommendations related to research, surveillance, and policy are provided to enhance PA among children and adolescents with disabilities in Canada.

Open access

P. Asunta, K. Kämppi, K. Ng, A. Saari, and T. Tammelin

Finland’s 2022 Para Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents With Disabilities includes a summary of results and grades for 10 physical activity indicators and highlights how these grades are interpreted by stakeholders. The disability classification was based on the UNICEF/Washington Group on Disability Statistics measure, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD7) measure, or education status. Data between 2017 and 2021 were reviewed by 24 physical activity specialists using benchmarks adapted for data on disabilities from the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance. The grades were assigned as follows: Overall Physical Activity, C+; Organized Sport, C; Active Play, D; Active Transportation, B; Family and Peers, C+; School, B; Community and Environment, C−; Government, A−; sedentary behavior and physical fitness were graded as incomplete. Stakeholder focus-group discussions highlighted the need for multidisciplinary cooperation and increasing competence of specialists working with children to promote a physically active lifestyle for all children.

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Paige Laxton, Freda Patterson, and Sean Healy

This systematic review of literature aimed to synthesize the multilevel factors related to physical activity (PA) among adults (age 18–65) with intellectual disability living in group homes. Keyword searches were used to identify articles from electronic databases, resulting in the inclusion of 10 articles for full-text review. Data were extracted relating to study and sample characteristics and study findings. Methodological quality of the studies was also evaluated. Factors related to PA in group homes were identified at all levels of the social–ecological model. Intrapersonal factors (e.g., health and functional status, attitude to PA), interpersonal factors (e.g., staff attitude, encouragement for PA, and coparticipation in PA), and organizational factors (e.g., program offerings, staff education, and staff–client ratios) were prominent findings in the reviewed studies. The findings support a social–ecological approach for PA promotion in group homes that target intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational factors.

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Mark L. Latash, Shirin Madarshahian, and Joseph M. Ricotta

We accept a definition of synergy introduced by Nikolai Bernstein and develop it for various actions, from those involving the whole body to those involving a single muscle. Furthermore, we use two major theoretical developments in the field of motor control—the idea of hierarchical control with spatial referent coordinates and the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis—to discuss recent studies of synergies within spaces of individual motor units (MUs) recorded within a single muscle. During the accurate finger force production tasks, MUs within hand extrinsic muscles form robust groups, with parallel scaling of the firing frequencies. The loading factors at individual MUs within each of the two main groups link them to the reciprocal and coactivation commands. Furthermore, groups are recruited in a task-specific way with gains that covary to stabilize muscle force. Such force-stabilizing synergies are seen in MUs recorded in the agonist and antagonist muscles but not in the spaces of MUs combined over the two muscles. These observations reflect inherent trade-offs between synergies at different levels of a control hierarchy. MU-based synergies do not show effects of hand dominance, whereas such effects are seen in multifinger synergies. Involuntary, reflex-based, force changes are stabilized by intramuscle synergies but not by multifinger synergies. These observations suggest that multifinger (multimuscle synergies) are based primarily on supraspinal circuitry, whereas intramuscle synergies reflect spinal circuitry. Studies of intra- and multimuscle synergies promise a powerful tool for exploring changes in spinal and supraspinal circuitry across patient populations.

Free access

Lee T. Atkins, Michael Lowrey, Sarah Reagor, Kirsten Walker, and Dhalston Cage

Research indicates that increasing trunk flexion may optimize patellofemoral joint loading. However, this postural change could cause an excessive Achilles tendon force (ATF) and injury risk during movement. This study aimed to examine the effects of increasing trunk flexion during stair ascent on ATF, ankle biomechanics, and vertical ground reaction force in females. Twenty asymptomatic females (age: 23.4 [2.5] y; height: 1.6 [0.8] m; mass: 63.0 [12.2] kg) ascended stairs using their self-selected and flexed trunk postures. Compared with the self-selected trunk condition, decreases were observed for peak ATF (mean differences [MD] = 0.14 N/kg; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.06 to 0.23; Cohen d = −1.2; P = .003), average rate of ATF development (MD = 0.25 N/kg/s; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.43; Cohen d = −0.9; P = .010), ankle plantar flexion moment (MD = 0.08 N·m/kg; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.13; Cohen d = −1.1; P = .005), and vertical ground reaction force (MD = 38.6 N/kg; 95% CI, 20.3 to 56.90; Cohen d = −1.8; P < .001). Increasing trunk flexion did not increase ATF. Instead, this postural change was associated with a decreased ATF rate and magnitude and may benefit individuals with painful Achilles tendinopathy.

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Chris J. Alfiero, Ann F. Brown, Youngmin Chun, Alexandra Holmes, and Joshua P. Bailey

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of foot positioning and lean mass on jumping and landing mechanics in collegiate dancers. Thirteen dancers performed 3 unilateral and bilateral vertical jumps with feet in neutral and turnout positions. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans, jump height, vertical stiffness, and joint stiffness were assessed for relationships between foot positions. Jump heights were greater in right compared with left limb (P = .029) and neutral compared with turnout (P = .020) during unilateral jumping. In unilateral landing, knee stiffness was greater in turnout compared with neutral (P = .004) during the loading phase. Jump height (P < .001) was significantly increased, and vertical stiffness (P = .003) was significantly decreased during bilateral jumping in neutral compared with turnout. Significantly increased hip stiffness during the attenuation phase was observed in neutral compared with turnout (P = .006). Left-limb lean mass was significantly less than the right limb (P < .05). Adjustments for bilateral jumping were focused on hip stiffness, whereas there was a slight shift to knee strategy for unilateral jump.

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Rodrigo Ghedini Gheller, Rafael Lima Kons, Juliano Dal Pupo, and Daniele Detanico

The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the effect of specific sprint and vertical jump training interventions on transfer of speed–power parameters. The data search was carried out in three electronic databases (PubMed, SCOPUS, and SPORTDiscus), and 28 articles were selected (13 on vertical jump training and 15 on sprint training). We followed the PRISMA criteria for the construction of this systematic review and used the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale to assess the quality of all studies. It included studies with a male population (athletes and nonathletes, n = 512) from 18 to 30 years old who performed a vertical jump or sprint training intervention. The effect size was calculated from the values of means and SDs pre- and posttraining intervention. The percentage changes and transfer of training effect were calculated for vertical jump training and sprint training through measures of vertical jump and sprint performance. The results indicated that both training interventions (vertical jump training and sprint training) induced improvements in vertical jump and linear sprint performance as well as transfer of training to speed–power performance. However, vertical jump training produced greater specific and training transfer effects on linear sprint than sprint training (untrained skill). It was concluded that vertical jump training and sprint training were effective in increasing specific actions of vertical jump and linear sprint performance, respectively; however, vertical jump training was shown to be a superior alternative due to the higher transfer rate.

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Carlos Alix-Fages, Jozo Grgic, Pablo Jiménez-Martínez, Eneko Baz-Valle, and Carlos Balsalobre-Fernández

The purpose of the present systematic review and meta-analysis was to explore the effects of mental fatigue on upper and lower body strength endurance. Searches for studies were performed in the PubMed/MEDLINE and Web of Science databases. We included studies that compared the effects of a demanding cognitive task (set to induce mental fatigue) with a control condition on strength endurance in dynamic resistance exercise (i.e., expressed as the number of performed repetitions at a given load). The data reported in the included studies were pooled in a random-effects meta-analysis of standardized mean differences. Seven studies were included in the review. We found that mental fatigue significantly reduced the number of performed repetitions for upper body exercises (standardized mean difference: −0.41; 95% confidence interval [−0.70, −0.12]; p = .006; I 2 = 0%). Mental fatigue also significantly reduced the number of performed repetitions in the analysis for lower body exercises (standardized mean difference: −0.39; 95% confidence interval [−0.75, −0.04]; p = .03; I 2 = 0%). Our results showed that performing a demanding cognitive task—which induces mental fatigue—impairs strength endurance performance. Collectively, our findings suggest that exposure to cognitive tasks that may induce mental fatigue should be minimized before strength endurance-based resistance exercise sessions.

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Jacob Benzinger, Jeff R. Crane, Angela M. Coppola, and David J. Hancock

Schools can support physical education (PE) among students with mobility disabilities (SMDs). However, previous research has indicated that people and resources in the school environment have served as facilitators and barriers to engaging SMDs in PE. Thus, the purpose of this pragmatic, qualitative study was to explore physical educators’ perceptions and experiences of teaching SMDs to learn how to develop a PE environment supportive of SMDs. Eleven K-8 PE teachers who taught SMDs engaged in semistructured interviews. A thematic analysis revealed three themes describing facilitators and barriers of a supportive PE environment for SMDs: (a) teacher planning, (b) students in the PE environment, and (c) resources and support. These findings provide context to PE environments for SMDs and highlight a need for increased communication and collaboration with students with or without mobility disabilities, training or professional development for PE teachers to develop skills for adapted PE, and financial and personnel support.

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Michal Vagner, Daniel J. Cleather, Petr Kubový, Vladimír Hojka, and Petr Stastny

Contemporary descriptions of motor control suggest that variability in movement can be indicative of skilled or unskilled performance. Here we used principal component analysis to study the kicking performance of elite and sub-elite soldiers who were highly familiar with the skill in order to compare the variability in the first and second principal components. The subjects kicked a force plate under a range of loaded conditions, and their movement was recorded using optical motion capture. The first principal component explained >92% of the variability across all kinematic variables when analyzed separately for each condition, and both groups and explained more of the variation in the movement of the elite group. There was more variation in the loading coefficient of the first principal component for the sub-elite group. In contrast, for the second principal component, there was more variation in the loading coefficient for the elite group, and the relative magnitude of the variation was greater than for the first principal component for both groups. These results suggest that the first principal component represented the most fundamental movement pattern, and there was less variation in this mode for the elite group. In addition, more of the variability was explained by the hip than the knee angle entered when both variables were entered into the same PCA, which suggests that the movement is driven by the hip.