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Sari Aaltonen, Teemu Palviainen, Richard J. Rose, Urho M. Kujala, Jaakko Kaprio, and Karri Silventoinen

Background: Both genetic and environmental influences have been shown to contribute to the association between physical activity and overall academic performance. The authors examined whether leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) shares genetic and environmental variances between spelling, essay writing, reading aloud, reading comprehension, and mathematics in early adolescence. Moreover, they investigated whether genetic polymorphisms associated with physical activity behavior affect these academic skills. Methods: Participants were 12-year-old Finnish twins (n = 4356–4370 twins/academic skill, 49% girls). Academic skills were assessed by teachers, and LTPA was self-reported. Polygenic scores for physical activity behavior were constructed from the UK Biobank. Quantitative genetic modeling and linear regression models were used to analyze the data. Results: The trait correlations between LTPA and academic skills were significant but weak (r = .05–.08). The highest trait correlation was found between LTPA and mathematics. A significant genetic correlation was revealed between LTPA and essay writing (r A = .14). Regarding polygenic scores of physical activity, the highest correlations were found with reading comprehension, spelling, and essay writing, but these results only approached statistical significance (P values = .09–.15). Conclusions: The authors’ results suggest that reading and writing are the academic skills that most likely share a common genetic background with LTPA.

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Melissa A. Jones, Kara Whitaker, McKenzie Wallace, and Bethany Barone Gibbs

Background: Sedentary behavior (SED) and moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) have important implications for health; however, little is known about predictors of these behaviors during pregnancy. Methods: This cohort study measured SED (activPAL) and MVPA (GT3X) in each trimester of pregnancy. Univariate associations of demographic, socioeconomic, and pregnancy health-related factors with SED or MVPA were calculated. Associations with P < .10 were included in stepwise linear regression models to determine independent predictors in each trimester. Results: Pregnant women (n = 127) were age 31.0 (4.9) years and 78% white. In regression models across trimesters, fewer children ≤ age 5 in the household (P < .04) and primarily sitting job activity (P < .008) were related to higher SED and use of assisted reproductive technology (P < .05) was associated with higher MVPA. In at least one trimester, younger age was related to higher SED (P = .014); no history of pregnancy loss (P < .04), being married (P = .003), employed (P < .004, full time or student), white race (P = .006), and higher education (P = .010) were associated with higher MVPA. Conclusions: Predictors of SED in pregnancy were more consistent, and differed from predictors of MVPA. These findings may help identify women at risk of high SED or low MVPA, though future research in larger samples is needed.

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Huda Al Siyabi, Ruth M. Mabry, Amal Al Siyabi, Moosa Al Subhi, and Karen Milton

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Barbara Resnick, Marie Boltz, Elizabeth Galik, and Shijun Zhu

The purpose of this study was to test the impact of function-focused care on adverse outcomes in assisted living. This was a randomized trial including 85 settings. The age of the 794 recruited participants was 89.48 (SD = 7.43) years, the majority was female (n = 561, 71%) and White (n = 771, 97%). The percentage of residents in the treatment group experiencing a fall decreased at 12 months from 26% to 20% and the control group increased from 24% to 25%, p = .02. A greater percentage of residents in the treatment group transferred to nursing facilities at 4 months (4–1% in control vs. 4–5% in treatment, p = .02) and 12 months (4–2% in control and 4–7% in treatment, p = .01). There was no treatment effect on emergency room or hospital transfers. The findings support the safety of function-focused care related to falls and need for hospital transfers.

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Joshua Gold and Joseph Ciorciari

Effective anticipation skills in sporting cognition have been shown to facilitate expertise in sports. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has shown to improve motor and cognitive functioning. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the assistive effects of tDCS on the action observer network in both novice and expert gamers during an occlusion task, as well as the related electroencephalographic spectral power response. Twenty-three novice and 23 expert video gamers received either sham or active tDCS with a right parietal anode and left frontal cathode. Only experts demonstrated a significant improvement in predicting ball direction for the overall and early occlusions after tDCS. Spectral power results revealed significant changes in theta, high-gamma, and delta frequencies. The findings indicate that tDCS was able to modulate anticipatory behavior and cortical activity in experts compared with novice participants, suggesting a facilitatory role for tDCS to improve anticipatory effects and assist as a neurocognitive training technique.

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Patricia O’Brien-Richardson

Background: Although hair has been found to be a barrier to physical activity (PA) among adult black women, the research exploring this phenomenon among black adolescent girls is deficient. This presents a concern because physical inactivity can lead to obesity and a host of comorbidities. This qualitative study explores hair experiences of black adolescent girls and how they maintain their cultural hair practices in hopes of promoting PA among this at-risk population. Methods: Focus groups were conducted for 37 black adolescent girls attending a public high school in Newark, New Jersey. Results: The participants reported increasing hair knowledge via social media, sociocultural influences of family and culture, and the driving force of their peer group, a concept identified in the focus groups as Hair IQ (intelligence quotient). Hair IQ helped the participants learn how to maintain their hair practices before and after PA. These factors combined to develop a framework described as the “Mane”taining model. Conclusions: The findings suggest the “Mane”taining model may provide pathways for engaging in PA for this population and serve as an example for adult black women who face similar barriers to PA.

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Christine W. St. Laurent, Sarah Burkart, Chloe Andre, and Rebecca M.C. Spencer

Background: Early childhood is an important age for brain and cognitive development. Given the support of physical activity and fitness on cognition and academic performance in older children, more research has emerged recently focusing on younger children. In this systematic review, the authors review the relations between physical activity/fitness and academic-related (ie, school readiness and cognitive) outcomes in early childhood. Methods: A search was conducted from PubMed, PsycINFO, Web of Science, ERIC databases, and reference lists for articles that had participants aged less than 6 years were written in English, and were in peer-reviewed journals. Articles were excluded if the design was a case study or case series report. The Grading Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation framework was followed to assess the quality of evidence by study design. Results: Sixty-eight articles reporting on 72 studies (29 observational and 43 experimental) were included. The majority of study effects were mixed, and the quality of evidence varied from very low to low. Conclusions: A clear consensus about the role of physical activity and fitness on academic-related outcomes in early childhood is still lacking given the high heterogeneity in methodological approaches and overall effects. Additional high-quality studies are needed to determine what specific dosages of physical activity are impactful at this age.

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Aamir R. Memon, Quyen G. To, and Corneel Vandelanotte

Background: To date, no citation analysis has been conducted in the physical activity field, which can contribute to assess the impact of this research field and identify knowledge gaps. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the 500 most cited physical activity publications and report their bibliometric characteristics. Methods: The Web of Science database (all database indexes) was searched, and bibliometric characteristics were imported and calculated. Results: A total of 520 publications were ranked as the top 500. The sum of the citations was 326,258, and the average citation density was 41.0 (45.1) citations per year. Original research articles constituted the major portion of included publications (53.7%; 170,774 citations). Papers reporting relationship of physical activity with health were the most prevalent type of publication included (43.7%; 141,027 citations). Journal impact factor had a weak but significant positive correlation with citation density (r = .12; P = .006). The United States was ranked first in terms of the contributions from institutions and authors contributing to the most cited physical activity papers. Conclusions: Top physical activity publications are well cited compared with other health behavior fields. Original research reporting on the associations between physical activity and health has a higher citation impact compared with other types of original research within the physical activity field. The physical activity research field continues to expand rapidly as newer publications attract more citations in a shorter time span compared with older publications.

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Ilona I. McMullan, Brendan P. Bunting, Nicole E. Blackburn, Jason J. Wilson, Manuela Deidda, Paolo Caserotti, Lee Smith, Dhayana Dallmeier, Marta Roque, Gudrun Weinmayr, Maria Giné-Garriga, Laura Coll-Planas, Mark A. Tully, and on behalf of the SITLESS group

Improving the capacity for physical activity interventions to maintain behavior change is a key public health concern and an important strategy for the health and independence of older adults. Ways of ensuring effective maintenance of physical activity levels in older adults are unclear. This study includes the objective measure of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA); self-reported self-efficacy; and self-regulation at four timepoints (baseline, intervention completion at 4 months, 12-, and 18-month follow-up) from the SITLESS study, a clinical trial conducted with a cohort of community-dwelling older adults (≥65 years) from Denmark, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. A cross-lagged analysis found that self-regulation and self-efficacy may be key determinants of MVPA behavior in community-dwelling older adults. More specifically, the use of behavioral support strategies represents an important correlate of MVPA behavior, and its association with MVPA may be mediated by self-regulation and self-efficacy in older adults in the short and long term.

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Shireen W. Eid, Rhonda F. Brown, Carl L. Birmingham, and Shane K. Maloney

Background: Several behaviors have been reported to interfere with sleep in otherwise healthy adults, including low physical activity (PA) levels. However, few studies have compared low PA with the other behavioral risk factors of objective sleep impairment, despite the behavior tending to cooccur in highly stressed and affectively distressed individuals. Thus, the authors compared objective and subjective measures of PA and other potential sleep disrupting behaviors as predictors of objective sleep (sleep onset latency, actual sleep time, total sleep duration, awake time, and sleep efficacy) at baseline (T1) and 3 months later (T2). Methods: A community-derived sample of 161 people aged 18–65 years were asked about PA, other behavior (ie, night eating, electronic device use, watching television, caffeine and alcohol use), stress, affective distress (ie, anxiety, depression), and demographics including shift work and parenting young children in an online questionnaire at T1 and T2. PA and sleep were also monitored for 24 hours each at T1 and T2 using actigraphy. Results: Multiple regression analyses indicated that sleep at T1 was associated with PA (ie, total number of steps, metabolic equivalents/time, time spent travelling) after controlling mean ambient temperature and relevant demographics. At T2, longer sleep onset latency was predicted by parenting young children and night time television viewing; shorter sleep duration was predicted by female gender; and awake time and sleep efficacy were predicted by alcohol intake after controlling T1 sleep measures, demographics, and mean ambient temperature. Conclusion: The risk factors for objective sleep impairment included parenting young children and watching television at night, whereas better sleep outcomes were associated with greater engagement with PA.