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Volume 32 (2024): Issue 4 (Aug 2024)

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Volume 36 (2024): Issue 3 (Aug 2024)

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Effect of Beta-Alanine Supplementation on Maximal Intensity Exercise in Trained Young Male Individuals: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

George D. Georgiou, Kyriaki Antoniou, Stephanie Antoniou, Eleni Anna Michelekaki, Reza Zare, Ali Ali Redha, Konstantinos Prokopidis, Efstathios Christodoulides, and Tom Clifford

Beta-alanine is a nonessential amino acid that is commonly used to improve exercise performance. It could influence the buffering of hydrogen ions produced during intense exercise and delay fatigue, providing a substrate for increased synthesis of intramuscular carnosine. This systematic review evaluates the effects of beta-alanine supplementation on maximal intensity exercise in trained, young, male individuals. Six databases were searched on August 10, 2023, to identify randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials investigating the effect of chronic beta-alanine supplementation in trained male individuals with an age range of 18–40 years. Studies evaluating exercise performance through maximal or supramaximal intensity efforts falling within the 0.5–10 min duration were included. A total of 18 individual studies were analyzed, employing 18 exercise test protocols and 15 outcome measures in 331 participants. A significant (p = .01) result was observed with an overall effect size of 0.39 (95% confidence interval [CI] [0.09, 0.69]), in favor of beta-alanine supplementation versus placebo. Results indicate significant effects at 4 weeks of supplementation, effect size 0.34 (95% CI [0.02, 0.67], p = .04); 4–10 min of maximal effort, effect size 0.55 (95% CI [0.07, 1.04], p = .03); and a high beta-alanine dosage of 5.6–6.4 g per day, effect size 0.35 (95% CI [0.09, 0.62], p = .009). The results provide insights into which exercise modality will benefit the most, and which dosage protocols and durations stand to provide the greatest ergogenic effects. This may be used to inform further research, and professional or recreational training design, and optimization of supplementation strategies.

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How to Equalize High- and Low-Intensity Endurance Exercise Dose

Pekka Matomäki, Olli-Pekka Nuuttila, Olli J. Heinonen, Heikki Kyröläinen, and Ari Nummela

Purpose: Without appropriate standardization of exercise doses, comparing high- (HI) and low-intensity (LI) training outcomes might become a matter of speculation. In athletic preparation, proper quantification ensures an optimized stress-to-recovery ratio. This review aims to compare HI and LI doses by estimating theoretically the conversion ratio, 1:x, between HI and LI: How many minutes, x, of LI are equivalent to 1 minute of HI using various quantification methods? A scrutinized analysis on how the dose increases in relation to duration and intensity was also made. Analysis: An estimation was conducted across 4 categories encompassing 10 different approaches: (1) “arbitrary” methods, (2) physiological and perceptual measurements during exercise, (3) postexercise measurements, and comparison to (4a) acute and (4b) chronic intensity-related maximum dose. The first 2 categories provide the most conservative estimation for the HI:LI ratio (1:1.5–1:10), and the third, slightly higher (1:4–1:11). The category (4a) provides the highest estimation (1:52+) and (4b) suggests 1:10 to 1:20. The exercise dose in the majority of the approaches increase linearly in relation to duration and exponentially in relation to intensity. Conclusions: As dose estimations provide divergent evaluations of the HI:LI ratio, the choice of metric will have a large impact on the research designs, results, and interpretations. Therefore, researchers should familiarize themselves with the foundations and weaknesses of their metrics and justify their choice. Last, the linear relationship between duration and exercise dose is in many cases assumed rather than thoroughly tested, and its use should be subjected to closer scrutiny.

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Correlations of Postural Stability to Proprioception, Tactile Sensation, and Strength Among People With Chronic Ankle Instability

Yanhao Liu, Qipeng Song, Ziyin Liu, Shiyu Dong, Claire Hiller, Daniel T.P. Fong, and Peixin Shen

Objectives: The static and dynamic correlations of postural stability to its three potential contributors, namely, proprioception, tactile sensation, and strength remain unclear among people with chronic ankle instability (CAI). This study aimed to compare static and dynamic postural stability, along with proprioception, tactile sensation, and strength between people with and without CAI and explore their correlations. Methods: Sixty-seven participants with CAI and 67 participants without CAI were enrolled in this study. Ankle proprioception, plantar tactile sensation, and lower limb strength were measured by a proprioception test device, a set of monofilaments, and a strength testing system, respectively. Static and dynamic postural stability were measured during standing and jump landing on a force plate and indicated by the root mean square of center of pressure and time to stability. Results: Compared to people without CAI, people with CAI had poorer postural stability, proprioception, tactile sensation, and strength. Both groups demonstrated correlation between proprioception and static postural stability, but only people without CAI showed correlation between proprioception and dynamic postural stability. Both groups demonstrated a correlation between tactile sensation and static postural stability, but not with dynamic stability. Both groups demonstrated a correlation between strength and both static and dynamic postural stability. Conclusions: People with CAI had deficits in static and dynamic postural stability, proprioception, tactile sensation, and strength. Among people with CAI, proprioception, tactile sensation, and strength can help maintain static postural stability; strength can help maintain dynamic postural stability, whereas proprioception may not provide sufficient information for dynamic postural stability.

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Physical Activity and Mental Health: A Little Less Conversation, a Lot More Action

Brendon Stubbs, Ruimin Ma, Felipe Schuch, James Mugisha, Simon Rosenbaum, Joseph Firth, and Davy Vancampfort

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Pickleball Participation and the Health and Well-Being of Adults—A Scoping Review

Kim Stroesser, Adam Mulcaster, and David M. Andrews

Background: Pickleball has grown tremendously in recent years, yet little evidence exists regarding pickleball-related injuries. This scoping review extends current work on pickleball participation by identifying positive and negative health effects associated with the sport. We summarize how pickleball impacts the health and well-being of adult participants. Methods: Searches were conducted on MEDLINE, CINAHL, ProQuest Nursing, ERIC, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, Scopus, CBCA Complete, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Selected studies considered aspects of health and/or well-being of adult pickleball participants. Using the population/concept/context framework, participants were healthy, able-bodied adults 18 years of age or over, who had played pickleball at least once. The positive and negative outcomes of pickleball on participants’ health and well-being (concept) within the context of pickleball participation were examined. Full-text articles written in English since 2013 were included. Extracted data were tabulated, and a descriptive summary with thematic analysis was completed. Results: This scoping review comprised 27 articles that met the inclusion criteria. Pickleball is promising as an exercise intervention for all adults, and there is evidence of positive social and psychological effects, and health and fitness benefits to participating in pickleball by older adults. Conclusions: Although we are still in the early stages of studying pickleball, there have been some documented health benefits of using the sport as a physical exercise intervention for adults. More research is needed on the types, prevalence, and severity of pickleball injuries and the sport’s impact on younger players.

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Understanding the Relationship Between Attachment Orientation and Physical Activity Participation: An Exploratory Study

Jessica Hill, Pamela Meredith, Grace Forrester, Julia Shirley, and Sjaan R. Gomersall

Background: Physical inactivity is recognized as a global health challenge. Attachment theory may provide insight into individual physical activity (PA) patterns, informing the development of PA interventions to promote the maintenance of behavior change. This study investigated the associations between attachment orientation and why and how individuals engage in PA. Given the association between attachment and sensory processing, this study also investigated the link between sensory processing and PA participation. Methods: Participants (N = 141) completed an online questionnaire that included the Modified Experiences of Close Relationships Scale and the Highly Sensitive Person Scale. The relationship between attachment orientation and sensory processing patterns, and preference for PA participation were analyzed using 2-sided independent t tests. Results: Attachment avoidance, attachment anxiety, and sensory sensitivity were significantly related to participants’ preference for PA participation in theoretically consistent ways. Avoidantly attached individuals were less likely to participate in PA as a form of social interaction (mean = 8.57, SD = 2.87, P = .005, d = 0.48). Anxiously attached individuals were more likely to participate in PA to support weight management (mean = 37.02, SD = 11.54, P = .01, d = −0.46) or if recommended by a health professional (mean = 43.55, SD = 12.45, P = .039, d = −0.88). Sensory sensitive individuals were more likely to participate in PA alone (mean = 124.11, SD = 19.23, P = .005, d = −0.510), and more likely to prefer light-intensity forms of PA (mean = 133.29, SD = 12.67, F 3,123 = 5.49, P = .001). Conclusions: Findings highlight the potential value of considering an individual’s attachment orientation and sensory processing patterns in the development of PA interventions. This may help to address the challenges of PA participation, by individually tailoring interventions to participants.

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Acute Effects of Cadence-Controlled Walking on Cognition and Vascular Function in Physically Inactive Older Adults: A Randomized Crossover Study

Peixuan Zheng, Hayley V. MacDonald, Mark T. Richardson, Kaiwen Man, Ian M. McDonough, and Elroy J. Aguiar

Background: Cadence-controlled walking may be a desirable approach for older adults to self-monitor exercise intensity and achieve physical activity guidelines. We examined the acute effects of cadence-controlled walking on cognition and vascular function in physically inactive older adults. Methods: In a randomized crossover design, 26 participants (65% females, 67.8 ± 11.3 years) underwent 30-min acute exercise (walking at 100 steps/min) and control (sitting) conditions. We measured cognition, central blood pressure (BP), and arterial stiffness before, and immediately, after each condition. Results: We observed significant Time × Condition interactions in the Flanker Inhibitory Control and Attention (Flanker) test and Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS) test scores, and in central systolic BP, central pulse pressure, and carotid to femoral pulse wave velocity (p < .05). The Flanker and DCCS scores significantly increased after walking (d = 0.4 and 0.5, respectively), but not after sitting. Central systolic BP, central pulse pressure, and carotid to femoral pulse wave velocity significantly increased after sitting but remained unchanged after acute walking (d = 0.4–0.2), with p-values < .05. After walking, significant correlations were observed between DCCS and diastolic BP and central pulse pressure change scores and change scores in central pulse wave velocity, Flanker, and DCCS (r s = −0.45 to −0.52). Conclusion: These findings suggest that a single bout of cadence-controlled walking elicited an immediate improvement in cognition and might have mitigated increases in arterial stiffness and central BP observed in the seated control condition. Further research is needed to examine the association between cognition and vascular function following acute exercise compared to control conditions. Significance: Our findings may have practical implications for developing daily physical activity recommendations for improving the cognitive health for successful aging.

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Athletic Performance Decline Over the Life Span: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analyses of Elite and Masters Track-and-Field Data

Brandon Pfeifer, W. Bradley Nelson, and Robert D. Hyldahl

Purpose : Loss of muscle power has a significant impact on mobility in geriatric populations, so this study sought to determine the extent and time course of performance decline in power-centric events throughout the life span via retrospective analyses of masters and elite track-and-field data. Methods : Four track-and-field events were selected based on maximal power output: the 100-m dash, long jump, high jump, and triple jump. Elite and masters athlete data were gathered from the World Masters Outdoor Championships and the International Amateur Athletic Federation World Athletics Championships (17,945 individual results). Data were analyzed by fitting individual and group results to quadratic and linear models. Results : Average age of peak performance in all events was 27.8 (0.8) years for men and 28.3 (0.8) years for women. Athlete performance decline best matched a linear model for the 5 years following peak performance (mean R 2  = .68 [.20]) and for ages 35–60, but best matched a quadratic model for ages 60–90 and 35–90 (mean R 2  = .75 [.12]). The average rate of decline for the masters data ages 35–60 ranged from 0.55% per year for men’s 100-m dash to 1.04% per year for women’s long jump. A significant age × sex interaction existed between men and women, with men declining faster throughout life in all events except the 100-m dash. Conclusions : Performance decline begins in the early 30s and is linear through middle age. This pattern of decline provides a basis for further research on power-decline pathophysiology and preventive measures starting in the 30s.