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Physical Fitness as a Predictor of Disability Retirement: A 9-Year Register Linked Follow-Up Study

Markus Kuusela, Valtteri Pohjola, Katariina Sarttila, Matti Munukka, Riikka Holopainen, Mikko Laaksonen, Annamari Lundqvist, and Jouni Lahti

Background: To prospectively examine the association between physical fitness and risk of disability retirement in a large population-based cohort. Methods: This study utilized data from Health 2011 survey Physical Activity subsample (n = 4898), combined with information on disability retirement derived from 2 national registers. In total, 2455 individuals aged 18–74 years underwent the physical fitness test protocol concerning measures of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, and balance. The outcome variable was disability retirement, during the follow-up period of 9 years. After excluding those not at risk of disability retirement (ie, age ≥63 y) or who had already been granted disability pension, and those who had not completed the fitness protocol, the analytical sample included 1381 participants. Data were analyzed using Cox regression model with SPSS (version 29). Results: During the 9-year follow-up period, 61 individuals (4.4%) transitioned to a disability retirement. Cox regression analysis showed an association between the various physical fitness subdomains and the risk of disability retirement. In model 1, all fitness tests were associated with the risk of disability retirement, except the one-leg stand test with hazard ratios ranging from 1.69 (95% CI, 0.86–3.34) to 5.75 (95% CI, 1.84–17.90). Further adjustment for sociodemographic, health behavior, and health-related covariates attenuated the associations and statistical significance was lost, except for the vertical jump test (hazard ratio = 4.33; 95% CI, 1.32–14.10) and 6-minute walk test (hazard ratio = 3.81; 95% CI, 1.35–10.70). Conclusion: These findings highlight the importance of physical fitness for preventing work disability.

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Sport Stadiums and Environmental Justice (1st ed.)

Adam G. Pfleegor

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Mother-Coaches’ Experiences of Policy and Programs: “Whoever Wrote This Policy Doesn’t Understand What It Means to Be a Mom”

Jesse Porter, Dawn E. Trussell, Ryan Clutterbuck, and Jennifer Mooradian

In this paper, we explore the lived experiences of mother-coaches who, while coaching, navigate policy and programs aimed at promoting gender equity. Specifically, this study took place within the context of an amateur national, 10-day multisport games event in Canada. Using critical feminist narrative inquiry, 14 mother-coaches (apprentice, assistant, or head coach), representing eight different provinces, and 10 different sports, participated in this study. Three themes were constructed that call attention to the Canadian sport system broadly, as well as the 10-day multisport games event specifically: (a) performative policies and gendered assumptions, (b) programs that are band-aids for a “shitty culture,” and (c) a pathway to nowhere for mother-coaches. The findings complicate the hegemonic work–family conflict narrative, suggesting that mother-coaches’ advancement, opportunities, and quality experiences are impacted by the current heteropatriarchal culture and structure of sport that these programs and policy are rooted in.

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Barriers to Leisure-Time Physical Activity Among Women of Rural Gipuzkoa: A Mixed-Methods Approach

Olaia Eizagirre-Sagastibeltza, Uxue Fernandez-Lasa, and Oidui Usabiaga

Background: Women, particularly those with young children, engage in less leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) than men. Additionally, mothers living in rural areas have more difficulty participating in LTPA than those in urban areas. The aim of this study was to analyze the challenges faced by mothers of rural areas of Gipuzkoa in LTPA participation, from a feminist perspective. Methods: A total of 129 mothers (age 41.5 ± 5.9; 45.7% inactive) with young children completed the Gipuzkoa Women’s Physical Activity Questionnaire. Concurrently, four focus groups were organized in four different municipalities, in which 19 mothers of young children participated (13 were inactive). Barriers were classified based on the socioecological perspective. Results: The most frequently mentioned intrapersonal barriers were lack of time due to work and caregiving, age-/pregnancy-/motherhood-related health issues, and a feeling of rejection toward LTPA. The most relevant interpersonal barriers were a lack of partners to do LTPA with and a lack of spouse support. The main environmental barriers were related to the shortage of facilities and activities suited to their needs and the rugged terrain. Conclusions: Mothers of young children living in rural areas face barriers twice over: because they are women and mothers and because they live in a rural environment. It therefore seems important to consider their perceived barriers to design, develop, and implement strategies to promote LTPA among this population group.

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Impact of Sport Engagement and Social Support on the Health-Related Quality of Life of Youth Athletes With Physical Disabilities

Myung Ha Sur, Deborah R. Shapiro, and Jeffrey Martin

Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a multidimensional concept focusing on the impact of health status on quality of life. The purpose of this study was to examine if sport engagement and sport-specific social support predicted HRQOL among adolescents with physical disabilities. Sixty-eight participants completed surveys assessing sport engagement, sport-specific social support, and HRQOL. Participants had moderate to high perceptions of sport engagement, social support, and HRQOL supporting the affirmation model of disability. Based on a canonical correlation, esteem, information, and tangible social support and sport engagement—confidence—were the strongest predictor variables of the sport engagement/social support variant, which was linked to the HRQOL variant predicted by emotional, social, and school functioning. The findings support the importance of social support and confidence in the sport context for the HRQOL of youth with physical disabilities.

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Mentioned, Quoted, and Promoted: How Sports Journalists Constructed a Narrative of Athletes’ Value in the “Name, Image, and Likeness” Era

Shannon Scovel

Using theories of framing and agenda setting, this study explores how journalists covered women athletes during the first week of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s new “name, image, and likeness” (NIL) policy. Athlete representation during this first week was critical, as it established precedent for which athletes, according to media members, held value and were worthy of publicity. The findings from this study show that journalists focused their reporting of NIL on U.S. male athletes, although women athletes such as Olivia Dunne, Haley Cavinder, and Hanna Cavinder were also frequently mentioned in relation to their large social media following, lifestyle, or appearance. Overall, reporters generally promoted a male-dominated NIL agenda, one that undervalued women athletes and minimized their potential role as sporting celebrities in the college sports space.

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Self-Reported Performance and Hormonal-Cycle-Related Symptoms in Competitive Female Athletes

Johanna K. Ihalainen, Sinikka Takalo, Katja Mjøsund, Guro Strøm Solli, Maarit Valtonen, Marja Kokkonen, Anthony C. Hackney, and Ritva S. Mikkonen

Introduction: The present scientific consensus is that the menstrual cycle (MC) and hormonal contraceptive (HC) cycle only influence performance trivially. Nevertheless, athletes perceive changes in performance that they associate with different phases of their hormonal cycle. Methods: A total of 959 female athletes completed a questionnaire, of which 750 were included in the present analysis. The questionnaire included questions about demographics and experiences of the MC and HC (symptoms, perceived impact on performance characteristics). Results: In total, 55% of athletes reported a natural MC while 45% reported HC use. Meanwhile, 56% of all athletes reported a decline in perceived performance during the bleeding or inactive phase, whereas 26% of all athletes reported no changes in performance over their hormonal cycle. All athletes reported an average of 10 ± 7 symptoms during hormonal cycles. The naturally menstruating (NM) group reported more symptoms than the HC group (p < .05). The most frequent symptoms reported were abdominal pain, bloating, and mood swings. Only 7% of all athletes (4.1% in NM and 11.3% in HC) reported an absence of any symptoms. Quantity of total symptoms was associated with a perceived decrease in performance (R 2 = .138, p < .05). Hormonal cycles had the greatest negative effect on mental performance with 37% reporting a large to very large effect. Conclusions: Perceived negative effects on performance were similar in both NM and HC groups while perceived mental performance (e.g., mood and attention) appeared to be most affected by both MC and HC.

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Volume 21 (2024): Issue 7 (Jul 2024)

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Volume 38 (2024): Issue 4 (Jul 2024)

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What’s Your Poison? Is Sitting Always Health Hindering and Moving Always Health Promoting?

Leon Straker, Charlotte Lund Rasmussen, Nidhi Gupta, and Andreas Holtermann

The clear public messaging from international health authorities is that individuals should “sit less and move more.” While it is acknowledged that this guidance needs to be tailored to the age of people and also to their health, and abilities, the guidance is not tailored to their current level of physical behaviors. This opinion piece aims to highlight that although people with excessive sitting and insufficient moderate-to-vigorous physical activity should sit more and move less, for other people their health would be promoted by sitting more and moving less. Thus, physical behaviors are not always “poison” or “medicine,” but rather the health impact of changes in physical behaviors depends on people’s initial levels. Policy, research, and practice implications of this realization are presented. Only tailoring messaging to age and health status could be far from optimal for people with very different current levels of physical behaviors. Policy, research, and practice will be enhanced when the potential for physical behaviors to be either health hindering or health promoting is adequately considered.