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A Novel Behavioral Intervention to Enhance Physical Activity for Older Veterans in a Skilled Nursing Facility

Julie A. Stutzbach, Kristine S. Hare, Allison M. Gustavson, Danielle L. Derlein, Andrea L. Kellogg, and Jennifer E. Stevens-Lapsley

Physical activity levels during skilled nursing facility (SNF) rehabilitation fall far below what is needed for successful community living and to prevent adverse events. This feasibility study’s purpose was to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of an intervention designed to improve physical activity in patients admitted to SNFs for short-term rehabilitation. High-Intensity Rehabilitation plus Mobility combined a high-intensity (i.e., high weight, low repetition), progressive (increasing in difficulty over time), and functional resistance rehabilitation intervention with a behavioral economics-based physical activity program. The behavioral economics component included five mobility sessions/week with structured goal setting, gamification, and loss aversion (the idea that people are more likely to change a behavior in response to a potential loss over a potential gain). SNF physical therapists, occupational therapists, and a mobility coach implemented the High-Intensity Rehabilitation plus Mobility protocol with older Veterans (n = 18) from a single SNF. Participants demonstrated high adherence to the mobility protocol and were highly satisfied with their rehabilitation. Treatment fidelity scores for clinicians were ≥95%. We did not observe a hypothesized 40% improvement in step counts or time spent upright. However, High-Intensity Rehabilitation plus Mobility participants made clinically important improvements in short physical performance battery scores and gait speed from admission to discharge that were qualitatively similar to or slightly higher than historical cohorts from the same SNF that had received usual care or high-intensity rehabilitation alone. These results suggest a structured physical activity program can be feasibly combined with high-intensity rehabilitation for SNF residents following a hospital stay.

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A Practice Guide for Physical Therapists Prescribing Physical Exercise for Older Adults

Frederico M. Baptista, Rosa Andias, Nelson P. Rocha, and Anabela G. Silva

Introduction: Physical activity and exercise are protective factors for physical and cognitive decline in older adults, but recent studies reveal that a large percentage of this population do not practice exercise at the levels recommended by international guidelines. The frequency, intensity, type, time, volume, and progression (FITT-VP) principles are a widely used method for prescribing physical exercise, allowing the development of a personalized exercise program that meets the needs of each individual. Objectives: This masterclass is intended to serve as a professional application tool for physical therapists who prescribe physical exercise for older adults. We present a section for each FITT-VP principle to facilitate handling these principles individually when prescribing exercise for this population. Methods: Review of the scientific literature and international guidelines on the prescription of physical exercises for older adults. Results: Aerobic, mobility, resistance, balance, and flexibility exercises, as well as functional training, should be included in an exercise program for older adults, which should be progressed using different methods for each of the exercise modalities. Conclusions: An exercise program for older adults should integrate different exercise modalities. Exercise progression should be performed following the FITT-VP principles and some specific progression factors recommended for each exercise modality. Significance: Considering the challenge faced by clinicians in designing a viable exercise program for older adults that responds to international recommendations, with this masterclass we hope to help physical therapists to plan an exercise program that is feasible and at the same time, responds to the expected needs of this population.

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Relationship Between External Training Load and Session Rating of Perceived Exertion Training Impulse in Elite Sprinters

Matthew Thome, Sophia Nimphius, Matthew J. Jordan, and Robin T. Thorpe

Purpose: To quantify the change in session rating of perceived exertion training impulse (RPE-TRIMP) that may occur in response to increased running distance at 3 running velocity ranges in elite sprinters. Methods: We monitored training load in elite sprinters (women: n = 7; men: n = 11) using wearable Global Positioning System technology and RPE-TRIMP for a total of 681 individual training sessions during a 22-week competition-preparation period. Internal training load was operationalized by RPE-TRIMP, and external training load was operationalized by distance covered in 3 velocity ranges. A linear mixed-effects model with athlete as a random effect was fit to RPE-TRIMP with total distance covered at ≤69.99% (low-velocity running [LVR]), 70% to 84.99% (high-velocity running [HVR]), and 85% to 100% (very-high-velocity running [VHVR]) of individual maximum velocity. Results: Increased running distance in all 3 velocity ranges (LVR, HVR, and VHVR) resulted in a significant (P < .001) increase in RPE-TRIMP. Coefficients (95% CIs) were .10 (.08–.11) for LVR, .23 (.18–.28) for HVR, and .44 (.35–.53) for VHVR. A 50-m increase in running distance covered in the LVR, HVR, and VHVR velocity ranges was associated with increases in RPE-TRIMP of 5, 11.5, and 22 arbitrary units, respectively. Conclusions: Internal training load, calculated as RPE-TRIMP, increased with increases in total distance covered in the LVR, HVR, and VHVR velocity ranges (P < .001). RPE-TRIMP can be a practical solution for monitoring global training-session load in elite sprinters.

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Sex Differences in Self-Reported Causes, Symptoms, and Recovery Strategies Associated With Underperformance in Endurance Athletes

Aarón Agudo-Ortega, Rune Kjøsen Talsnes, Hanna Eid, Øyvind Sandbakk, and Guro Strøm Solli

Purpose: This study investigated sex differences in self-reported causes, symptoms, and recovery strategies associated with underperformance in endurance athletes. Methods: A total of 82 athletes (40 women) meeting the inclusion criteria (performance level ≥tier 3, used training diaries, and experienced 1 or more periods of underperformance during their career) completed an online questionnaire. The questionnaire encompassed inquiries regarding load monitoring and experiences with underperformance, focusing on causes, symptoms, and recovery strategies. Results: The most frequently reported symptoms associated with underperformance included psychological (31%), physiological (23%), and health-related (12%) symptoms. Notably, female athletes were more likely to report psychological symptoms associated with underperformance (38% vs 25%, P = .01) compared with male athletes. The leading causes of underperformance comprised illness (21%), mental/emotional challenges (20%), training errors (12%), lack of recovery (10%), and nutritional challenges (5%). Female athletes reported nutritional challenges more frequently as the cause of underperformance compared with males (9% vs 1%, P = .01), whereas male athletes more often attributed underperformance to training errors (15% vs 9%, P = .03). Overall, 67% of athletes reported recovering from underperformance, with a tendency for more male than female athletes to recover (76% vs 58%, P = .07). Furthermore, a higher proportion of male than female athletes reported implementing changes in the training process as a recovery strategy (62% vs 35%, P = .02). Conclusions: This study offers valuable insights into sex differences in experiences with underperformance in endurance athletes. The findings could inform coaches and athletes in both the prevention and treatment of such incidents.

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Single Session Intermittent Heat Exposure With More Frequent and Shorter Cooling Breaks Facilitates Greater Training Intensity and Elicits Physiological Responses Comparable to Continuous Heat Exposure

Julian A.P. Ramos, Kagan J. Ducker, Hugh Riddell, Grant Landers, Olivier Girard, and Carly J. Brade

Purpose: To investigate the influence of shorter, more frequent rest breaks with per-cooling as an alternative heat-acclimation session on physiological, perceptual, and self-paced maximal cycling performance, compared with continuous heat exposure. Methods: Thirteen participants completed 1 continuous and 3 intermittent-heat-exposure (IHE) maximal self-paced cycling protocols in a random order in heat (36 °C, 80% relative humidity): 1 × 60-minute exercise (CON), 3 × 20-minute exercise with 7.5-minute rest between sets (IHE-20), 4 × 15-minute exercise with 5-minute rest between sets (IHE-15), and 6 × 10-minute exercise with 3-minute rest between sets (IHE-10). Mixed-method per-cooling (crushed-ice ingestion and cooling vest) was applied during rest periods of all IHE protocols. Results: Total distance completed was greater in IHE-10, IHE-15, and IHE-20 than in CON (+11%, +9%, and +8%, respectively), with no difference observed between IHE protocols. Total time spent above 38.5 °C core temperature was longer in CON compared with IHE-15 and IHE-20 (+62% and +78%, respectively) but similar to IHE-10 (+5%). Furthermore, a longer time above 38.5 °C core temperature occurred in IHE-10 versus IHE-15 and IHE-20 (+54% and +69%, respectively). Sweat loss did not differ between conditions. Conclusion: IHE with per-cooling may be a viable alternative heat-acclimation protocol in situations where training quality takes precedence over thermal stimulus or when both factors hold equal priority.

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Criterion Validity and Reliability of 2 Brief Physical Activity Questionnaires in Ethnically Diverse Adults

Norberto N. Quiles, David Uher, Anoop Balachandran, Alexis Ortiz, and Carol Garber

Purpose: The study compares moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) as evaluated by the Exercise Vital Signs (EVS) and Physical Activity Vital Signs (PAVS) questionnaires to accelerometry, and evaluates the reliability of the questionnaires in ethnically diverse adults. Methods: Ninety-nine participants (mean age 38.1 y; 49.5% women; Hispanics 43.8%; European American 18.8%; African American 14.6%) were included in the analyses. Participants wore an accelerometer at the hip for at least 7 days and completed the EVS and PAVS questionnaires at the beginning (T1) and at the end (T2) of the 7 days. Associations between the questionnaires and accelerometry were examined using Spearman rho. The reliability of the questionnaires was evaluated using intraclass correlation coefficient. Sensitivity and specificity were also calculated. Results: Weak positive correlations were observed between the accelerometer MVPA and the EVS MVPA at T2 (ρ = .263, P = .013), and the PAVS MVPA at T2 (ρ = .327, P = .003). The sensitivity of the EVS and PAVS was 73.2% and 82.6%, respectively. The specificity for each questionnaire was 35.3%. The reliability for the EVS questionnaire (intraclass correlation coefficient = .855; 95% CI, .791–.901; P < .001) was good, while the reliability of the PAVS questionnaire (intraclass correlation coefficient = .652; 95% CI, .511–.758; P < .001) was moderate. Conclusion: Caution should be used when utilizing the EVS and PAVS questionnaires in ethnically diverse adults.

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Exploring the Lived Experiences of Physical Activity in Community-Dwelling Adults Living With Dementia and Their Carers

Joanna Blackwell and Mo Ray

People living with dementia have the same right to well-being as anyone else, including physical activity. Yet, physical activity levels among people with dementia are lower than in the general population, and while the physical activity health benefits are well established, little is known about how people living with dementia experience physical activity. To explore these physical activity experiences, we visited six community settings in one English county and conducted informal interviews with 18 people who were either living with dementia and community dwelling (n = 4), caring for or who had cared for someone with dementia (n = 10), or providing a support service for people living with dementia and their carers (n = 4). Findings highlight both the challenges and facilitators presented by organized groups, service provider skills and qualities, and environmental factors. Additionally, these factors were influential in shaping the physical activity experience of people living with dementia. The findings may be relevant for people providing or planning support services, commissioners, policymakers, and researchers.

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Physiological Profiles of Male and Female CrossFit Athletes

Gommaar D’Hulst, Deni Hodžić, Rahel Leuenberger, Janik Arnet, Elena Westerhuis, Ralf Roth, Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss, Raphael Knaier, and Jonathan Wagner

Objective : To (1) establish extensive physiological profiles of highly trained CrossFit® athletes using gold-standard tests and (2) investigate which physiological markers best correlate with CrossFit Open performance. Methods : This study encompassed 60 participants (30 men and 30 women), all within the top 5% of the CrossFit Open, including 7 CrossFit semifinalists and 3 CrossFit Games finalists. Isokinetic dynamometers were employed to measure maximum isometric and isokinetic leg and trunk strength. Countermovement-jump height and maximum isometric midthigh-pull strength were assessed on a force plate. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) was measured by a cardiopulmonary exercise test, and critical power and W′ were evaluated during a 3-minute all-out test, both on a cycle ergometer. Results: Male and female athletes’ median (interquartile range) VO2peak was 4.64 (4.43, 4.80) and 3.21 (3.10, 3.29) L·min−1, critical power 314.5 (285.9, 343.6) and 221.3 (200.9, 238.9) W, and midthigh pull 3158 (2690, 3462) and 2035 (1728, 2347) N. Linear-regression analysis showed strong evidence for associations between different anthropometric variables and CrossFit Open performance in men and women, whereas for markers of cardiorespiratory fitness such as VO2peak, this was only true for women but not men. Conventional laboratory evaluations of strength, however, manifested minimal evidence for associations with CrossFit Open performance across both sexes. Conclusions : This study provides the first detailed insights into the physiology of high-performing CrossFit athletes and informs training optimization. Furthermore, the results emphasize the advantage of athletes with shorter limbs and suggest potential modifications to CrossFit Open workout designs to level the playing field for athletes across different anthropometric characteristics.

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Process Evaluation of a Scaled-Up School-Based Physical Activity Program for Adolescents: Physical Activity 4 Everyone

Matthew Mclaughlin, Jed Duff, Elizabeth Campbell, Tom McKenzie, Lynda Davies, Luke Wolfenden, John Wiggers, and Rachel Sutherland

Background: Physical Activity 4 Everyone (PA4E1) is a whole-school physical activity program, with demonstrated efficacy (2012–2014). PA4E1 was adapted (scaled-up) and tested in a scale-up trial (2017–2020). This process evaluation study of the scale-up trial had 2 aims. First, to describe the acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility of PA4E1 in the scale-up trial, from the perspective of school staff involved in the program management and delivery. Second, to generate themes that may explain school staff assessments of acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility. Methods: Data were collected at various time points throughout the 2-year implementation phase. Online surveys were collected from In-School Champions, Head Physical Education teachers, Principals, and Physical Education teachers (quantitative data). Focus groups and interviews were conducted with In-School Champions, Principals, and Physical Education teachers (qualitative data). Existing published data on website engagement, adaptations, modifications, and the scale-up trial primary outcome (implementation of physical activity practices) were triangulated with the quantitative and qualitative during analysis, to generate themes. Results: School staff delivering PA4E1 reported it was highly acceptable, appropriate, and feasible. Seven themes were generated relating to acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility. The themes related to how the program was funded, the delivery modes of implementation support, the identification of easy-wins, the recruitment of the right in-school champion, facilitating principal buy-in, mitigating the impact of school staff turnover, and engaging the whole school. Conclusions: Recommendations are made to inform future adaptations for PA4E1 and potentially school-based physical activity programs more generally. The findings may inform future scalability assessments of the suitability of programs for scale-up.

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Effect of Data and Gap Characteristics on the Nonlinear Calculation of Motion During Locomotor Activities

Arash Mohammadzadeh Gonabadi, Thad W. Buster, Guilherme M. Cesar, and Judith M. Burnfield

This study investigated how data series length and gaps in human kinematic data impact the accuracy of Lyapunov exponents (LyE) calculations with and without cubic spline interpolation. Kinematic time series were manipulated to create various data series lengths (28% and 100% of original) and gap durations (0.05–0.20 s). Longer gaps generally resulted in significantly higher LyE% error values in each plane in noninterpolated data. During cubic spline interpolation, only the 0.20-second gap in frontal plane data resulted in a significantly higher LyE% error. Data series length did not significantly affect LyE% error in noninterpolated data. During cubic spline interpolation, sagittal plane LyE% errors were significantly higher at shorter versus longer data series lengths. These findings suggest that not interpolating gaps in data could lead to erroneously high LyE values and mischaracterization of movement variability. When applying cubic spline, a long gap length (0.20 s) in the frontal plane or a short sagittal plane data series length (1000 data points) could also lead to erroneously high LyE values and mischaracterization of movement variability. These insights emphasize the necessity of detailed reporting on gap durations, data series lengths, and interpolation techniques when characterizing human movement variability using LyE values.