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Oliver W.A. Wilson, Kelsey E. Holland, Lucas D. Elliott, Michele Duffey, and Melissa Bopp

Background: Investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both physical activity (PA) and mental health is important to demonstrate the need for interventions. This study examined the apparent impact of the pandemic on college students’ PA, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms. Methods: From 2015 through 2020, data were collected at the beginning and end of the spring semester at a large Northeastern US university via an online survey assessing student demographics, PA, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms. Mixed ANOVA examined differences in PA and mental health changes over the spring semester between “normal” and COVID-19 circumstances. Two-way ANOVA examined the interaction between circumstance and changes in PA in relation to changes in mental health. Results: Participants (n = 1019) were predominately women and non-Hispanic white. There was a significant decline in PA and an increase in perceived stress under COVID-19, but not normal, circumstances and a significant increase in depressive symptoms under COVID-19, but not normal, circumstances among women. Conclusions: A significant decline in PA and mental health among college students occurred under COVID-19 circumstances, and PA did not appear to protect against deterioration in mental health. Proactive and innovative policies, programs, and practices to promote student health and well-being must be explored immediately.

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Bryndan W. Lindsey, Ali Boolani, Justin J. Merrigan, Nelson Cortes, Shane V. Caswell, and Joel R. Martin

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our working environment and divided workers into essential or nonessential statuses. Employment status is a major factor determining the amount of physical activity performed. Our purpose was to understand how employment status affects physical activity and sitting time. Methods: Between April 13 and May 4, 2020, 735 full-time employed individuals responded to a survey investigating daily life and overall health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants reported how much physical activity they had performed in the last 7 days. Multiple linear regressions were performed for physical activity and sitting time. Results: Physical activity was not associated with employment status. An interaction effect between hours worked and employment status was found for sitting time. Conclusions: Employment status was not related to physical activity; however, it did affect the amount of time spent sitting, with nonessential employees sitting more and working more hours than essential employees. Because greater amounts of daily total sitting time have been associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality, it is important that increased sitting time be attenuated by greater physical activity.

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Brandon J. Shad, Janice L. Thompson, James Mckendry, Andrew M. Holwerda, Yasir S. Elhassan, Leigh Breen, Luc J.C. van Loon, and Gareth A. Wallis

The impact of resistance exercise frequency on muscle protein synthesis rates remains unknown. The aim of this study was to compare daily myofibrillar protein synthesis rates over a 7-day period of low-frequency (LF) versus high-frequency (HF) resistance exercise training. Nine young men (21 ± 2 years) completed a 7-day period of habitual physical activity (BASAL). This was followed by a 7-day exercise period of volume-matched, LF (10 × 10 repetitions at 70% one-repetition maximum, once per week) or HF (2 × 10 repetitions at ∼70% one-repetition maximum, five times per week) resistance exercise training. The participants had one leg randomly allocated to LF and the other to HF. Skeletal muscle biopsies and daily saliva samples were collected to determine myofibrillar protein synthesis rates using 2H2O, with intracellular signaling determined using Western blotting. The myofibrillar protein synthesis rates did not differ between the LF (1.46 ± 0.26%/day) and HF (1.48 ± 0.33%/day) conditions over the 7-day exercise training period (p > .05). There were no significant differences between the LF and HF conditions over the first 2 days (1.45 ± 0.41%/day vs. 1.25 ± 0.46%/day) or last 5 days (1.47 ± 0.30%/day vs. 1.50 ± 0.41%/day) of the exercise training period (p > .05). Daily myofibrillar protein synthesis rates were not different from BASAL at any time point during LF or HF (p > .05). The phosphorylation status and total protein content of selected proteins implicated in skeletal muscle ribosomal biogenesis were not different between conditions (p > .05). Under the conditions of the present study, resistance exercise training frequency did not modulate daily myofibrillar protein synthesis rates in young men.

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Stephanie G. Kerrigan, Evan M. Forman, Dave Williams, Mitesh Patel, Caitlin Loyka, Fengqing Zhang, Ross D. Crosby, and Meghan L. Butryn

Background: Financial incentives and feedback on behavior offer promise for promoting physical activity. However, evidence for the effect of each of these techniques is inadequate. The present study evaluated the effects of daily versus weekly feedback and incentives contingent on reaching a daily walking goal versus noncontingent incentives in a 2 × 2 trial. Methods: Participants (N = 57) had a body mass index >25 kg/m2 and were insufficiently active. Participants received a daily walking goal that adapted weekly. Results: Participants receiving daily feedback increased daily steps (P = .03) more than those receiving weekly feedback. Participants receiving contingent incentives did not significantly increase steps (P = .12) more than those receiving noncontingent incentives. A trend-level effect (P = .09) suggested that there may be an interaction such that the combination of daily feedback and contingent incentives is most effective. Conclusions: Results indicate that feedback is an important component of remotely delivered PA interventions and that evaluating each component of low-intensity interventions may help to improve efficacy. Moreover, results indicate that possible synergistic effects of feedback and rewards should be investigated further to help optimize interventions.

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Matías Henríquez, Aitor Iturricastillo, Arturo González-Olguín, Felipe Herrera, Sonny Riquelme, and Raul Reina

This study compared physical performance in a group of international cerebral palsy football players during two formats of small-sided games (SSGs) and performance in a simulated game (SG) according to players’ sport classes (FT1, FT2, and FT3). Internal load (heart rate and rating of perceived exertion) and external load (total distance, distance covered at different velocities, maximum speed reached, acceleration, and deceleration) were obtained with global positioning system devices during two formats of SSGs (2-a-side/SSG2 and 4-a-side/SSG4) and an SG (7-a-side). SSG2 demands faster actions compared with SSG4/SG, and significant differences and large effect sizes were found in the distance covered in Speed Zones 5 (16.0−17.9 km/hr) and 6 (>18.0 km/hr; p < .05; .35<ηp2<.50, large). Lower moderate accelerations and decelerations per minute in SSG4/SG compared with SSG2 were also found (p < .01; .77<ηp2<.81, large). In the SSG2 task, the FT3 players reached maximum speeds, covered more distance at the highest intensities, and performed more moderate/high accelerations/decelerations and more sprints compared with FT1 and FT2 players (p < .05; −0.85 < d g < −4.64, large). The SSG2 task could be the best option for discriminating physical demands in important variables for cerebral palsy football performance between classes FT3 versus FT1/FT2.

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John Bellettiere, Fatima Tuz-Zahra, Jordan A. Carlson, Nicola D. Ridgers, Sandy Liles, Mikael Anne Greenwood-Hickman, Rod L. Walker, Andrea Z. LaCroix, Marta M. Jankowska, Dori E. Rosenberg, and Loki Natarajan

Little is known about how sedentary behavior (SB) metrics derived from hip- and thigh-worn accelerometers agree for older adults. Thigh-worn activPAL (AP) micro monitors were concurrently worn with hip-worn ActiGraph (AG) GT3X+ accelerometers (with SB measured using the 100 counts per minute [cpm] cut point; AG100cpm) by 953 older adults (age 77 ± 6.6, 54% women) for 4–7 days. Device agreement for sedentary time and five SB pattern metrics was assessed using mean error and correlations. Logistic regression tested associations with four health outcomes using standardized (i.e., z scores) and unstandardized SB metrics. Mean errors (AP − AG100cpm) and 95% limits of agreement were: sedentary time −54.7 [−223.4, 113.9] min/day; time in 30+ min bouts 77.6 [−74.8, 230.1] min/day; mean bout duration 5.9 [0.5, 11.4] min; usual bout duration 15.2 [0.4, 30] min; breaks in sedentary time −35.4 [−63.1, −7.6] breaks/day; and alpha −.5 [−.6, −.4]. Respective Pearson correlations were: .66, .78, .73, .79, .51, and .40. Concordance correlations were: .57, .67, .40, .50, .14, and .02. The statistical significance and direction of associations were identical for AG100cpm and AP metrics in 46 of 48 tests, though significant differences in the magnitude of odds ratios were observed among 13 of 24 tests for unstandardized and five of 24 for standardized SB metrics. Caution is needed when interpreting SB metrics and associations with health from AG100cpm due to the tendency for it to overestimate breaks in sedentary time relative to AP. However, high correlations between AP and AG100cpm measures and similar standardized associations with health outcomes suggest that studies using AG100cpm are useful, though not ideal, for studying SB in older adults.

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Hyeonho Yu, Pamela H. Kulinna, and Shannon C. Mulhearn

Background: Environmental provisions can boost students’ discretionary participation in physical activity (PA) during lunchtime at school. This study investigated the effectiveness of providing PA equipment as an environmental intervention on middle school students’ PA levels and stakeholders’ perceptions of the effectiveness of equipment provisions during school lunch recess. Methods: A baseline–intervention research design was used in this study with a first baseline phase followed by an intervention phase (ie, equipment provision phase). A total of 514 students at 2 middle schools (school 1 and school 2) in a rural area of the western United States were observed directly using the System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth instrument. Interviews were conducted with stakeholders. Paired-sample t tests and visual analysis were conducted to explore differences in PA levels by gender, and common comparison (with trustworthiness measures) was used with the interview data. Results: The overall percentage of moderate to vigorous PA levels was increased in both schools (ranging from 8.0% to 24.0%). In school 2, there was a significant difference in seventh- and eighth-grade students’ moderate to vigorous PA levels from the baseline. Three major themes were identified: (1) unmotivated, (2) unequipped, and (3) unquestionable changes (with students becoming more active). Conclusions: Environmental supports (access, equipment, and supervision) significantly and positively influenced middle school students’ lunchtime PA levels.

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