Current methods to understand implicit motor sequence learning inadequately assess motor skill acquisition in daily life. Using fixed sequences in the serial reaction time task is not ideal as participants may become aware of the sequence, thereby changing the learning from implicit to explicit. Probabilistic sequences, in which stimuli are linked by statistical, rather than deterministic, associations can ensure that learning remains implicit. Additionally, the processes underlying the learning of motor sequences may differ based on sequence structure. Here, the authors compared the learning of fixed and probabilistic sequences to randomly ordered stimuli using a modified serial reaction time task. Both the fixed and probabilistic sequence groups exhibited learning as indicated by decreased response time and variability. In the initial stage of learning, fixed sequences exhibited both online and offline gains in response time; however, only the offline gain was observed during the learning of probabilistic sequences. These results indicated that probabilistic structures may be learned differently from fixed structures and have important implications for our current understanding of motor learning. Probabilistic sequences more accurately reflect motor skill acquisition in daily life, offer ecological validity to the serial reaction time framework, and advance our understanding of motor learning.
Shikha Prashad, Yue Du, and Jane E. Clark
Catherine E. Draper, Karen Milton, and Jasper Schipperijn
Philip J. Morgan, Clare E. Collins, Alyce T. Barnes, Emma R. Pollock, Stevie-Lee Kennedy, Ryan J. Drew, Kristen L. Saunders, Jacqueline A. Grounds, Anna T. Rayward, and Myles D. Young
Background: Few lifestyle programs for young children have targeted fathers. This study examined the feasibility of a lifestyle intervention for fathers and their preschool-aged children. Method: A total of 24 father/preschool child dyads were recruited from Newcastle, Australia, into a single-arm, feasibility trial (baseline and 3-mo postbaseline assessments). The 9-session program aimed to improve physical activity and dietary habits of fathers and children. A priori feasibility benchmarks targeted recruitment (15 dyads), eligibility rate (>60%), attendance (80%), retention (≥85%), and program acceptability (≥4 out of 5). Acceptability of data collection procedures, research team program/resource management, home-program compliance, and preliminary intervention outcomes were also assessed. Results: Feasibility benchmarks were surpassed for recruitment (24 dyads), eligibility rate (61.5%), attendance (89%), retention (100%), and program acceptability (4.6 out of 5). Data collection procedures were acceptable. Challenges included mothers reporting their own dietary intake rather than their child’s, children moving during body composition measurement, and resetting pedometers. Resource and program management were excellent. Most families met home-program requirements (83%). Preliminary intervention outcomes were encouraging for fathers and children. Conclusion: Program feasibility was demonstrated by excellent recruitment, attendance, acceptability, retention, program administration, and promising preliminary intervention outcomes. A few data collection difficulties were identified. A larger scale efficacy trial is warranted.
Joanna Horne, Nichola Kentzer, Lee Smith, Mike Trott, and Jitka Vseteckova
Background: It is estimated that 17% of the UK adult population are informal carers, usually for a family member, with a majority reporting that they are not able to engage in physical activity as much as they would like. The aim of this review is to provide a greater understanding of the prevalence of, and barriers and facilitators to, physical activity of informal carers in the United Kingdom. Methods: A systematic review of relevant databases and grey literature was undertaken, following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidance, from its inception until July 17, 2020. Results: Barriers to physical activity include increasing aging, not wanting to leave the caree alone, the caree being unable to take part in activities, health conditions, fatigue, lack of time, and difficulties in changing the routine for the caree. Facilitators include an appreciation of the benefits of engaging in exercise, previous participation in activities, group activities with similar people, and having some free time. Conclusions: Due to the paucity of research into the prevalence of, and barriers and facilitators to, physical activity in informal carers in the United Kingdom, this systematic review highlights the need for further research, focusing primarily on the physical activity of informal carers caring for individuals with a range of conditions. A further systematic review exploring these issues internationally is warranted.
Christa Spicer and Daniel B. Robinson
Feelings of isolation have long been found to be experienced by many teachers, particularly by those within some specialist disciplines, including physical education (PE). The potential effects of teacher isolation are undesirable and plentiful. They include a lessening of interest in one’s work, burnout, and/or an absence of community connection. Given the uniqueness of their discipline, PE teachers may especially be impacted by the following: Their discipline is “low status” and marginalized, they are frequently both physically and psychologically isolated from their peers, and they often are one of very few PE specialists in a school. Given these sorts of unique challenges for PE teachers, the authors undertook a scoping review of literature in order to gather and provide a comprehensive and up-to-date account of peer-reviewed literature related to PE teachers and isolation, as well as offer implications for PE research and practice.
Joanne A. McVeigh, Jennifer Ellis, Caitlin Ross, Kim Tang, Phoebe Wan, Rhiannon E. Halse, Satvinder Singh Dhaliwal, Deborah A. Kerr, and Leon Straker
Activity trackers provide real-time sedentary behavior (SB) and physical activity (PA) data enabling feedback to support behavior change. The validity of activity trackers in an obese population in a free-living environment is largely unknown. This study determined the convergent validity of the Fitbit Charge 2 in measuring SB and PA in overweight adults. The participants (n = 59; M ± SD: age = 48 ± 11 years; body mass index = 34 ± 4 kg/m2) concurrently wore a Charge 2 and ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometer for 8 days. The same waking wear periods were analyzed, and standard cut points for GT3X+ and proprietary algorithms for the Charge 2, together with a daily step count, were used. Associations between outputs, mean difference (MD) and limits of agreement (LOA), and relative differences were assessed. There was substantial association between devices (intraclass correlation coefficients from .504, 95% confidence interval [.287, .672] for SB, to .925, 95% confidence interval [.877, .955] for step count). In comparison to the GT3X+, the Charge 2 overestimated SB (MD = 37, LOA = −129 to 204 min/day), moderate to vigorous PA (MD = 15, LOA = −49 to 79 min/day), and steps (MD = 1,813, LOA = −1,066 to 4,691 steps/day), and underestimated light PA (MD = −32, LOA = −123 to 58 min/day). The Charge 2 may be a useful tool for self-monitoring of SB and PA in an overweight population, as mostly good agreement was demonstrated with the GT3X+. However, there were mean and relative differences, and the implications of these need to be considered for overweight adult populations who are already at risk of being highly sedentary and insufficiently active.
Karl Spiteri, Kate Grafton, John Xerri de Caro, and David Broom
The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) is a widely used self-reported physical activity (PA) measure developed to allow for international cross-country comparisons. Due to its unavailability, the aim of this study was to translate the IPAQ-long to Maltese and undertake reliability testing. The IPAQ-long English version was translated into Maltese following the IPAQ guidelines, which included backwards translation. Maltese-speaking participants, aged between 18 and 69 years, were recruited through convenience sampling (n = 170). Participants completed the IPAQ-long twice within an 8- to 48-hr period. PA was calculated in MET minutes per week, and reliability was calculated using the Spearman correlation, intraclass correlation coefficient, concordance correlation coefficient, and Bland–Altman plots. A total of 155 participants completed the questionnaire at two time points. Spearman correlation was .83 (.76–.88) for total PA and .84 (.77–.89) for total sitting time. The intraclass correlation coefficient was .83 (.76–.88) and the concordance correlation coefficient was .75–.87 for total PA. The lowest reliability was for total transport, with a concordance correlation coefficient of .21−.45. Bland–Altman plots highlight that 95% of the differences fell within 2 SDs from the mean. Since the Maltese IPAQ-long has similar reliability to the English version, the authors recommend that health care professionals and PA practitioners use this tool when examining population-level PA among Maltese-speaking individuals.
Kasper Salin, Anna Kankaanpää, Xiaolin Yang, Tuija H. Tammelin, Costan G. Magnussen, Risto Telama, Nina Hutri-Kähönen, Jorma S.A. Viikari, Olli T. Raitakari, and Mirja Hirvensalo
Background: To examine if major life changes over a 4-year period among 34- to 49-year-old adults (mean = 41.8, SD = 5.0) were associated with a change in physical activity in men (37.7%) and women (62.3%). Methods: Daily steps and aerobic steps (steps that lasted for at least 10 min without interruption at a pace of >60 steps/min) were collected from 1051 participants in 2007 and 2011. Changes in marital status, work status, and residence and the birth of a child were determined from both time points. A latent change score model was used to examine mean changes in daily total steps, aerobic steps, and nonaerobic steps (total steps minus aerobic steps). Results: Women who had a first child in the 4-year period had a decrease in their nonaerobic steps (P = .001). Men who divorced in the 4-year period had a decrease in their nonaerobic steps (P = .020), whereas women who recoupled decreased their total steps (P = .030). Conclusions: Counseling for parents having a first child on how to increase physical activity in their everyday life could potentially have an influence on an individual’s physical activity.
Xiyao Shan, Pavlos Evangelidis, Takaki Yamagishi, Shun Otsuka, Fumiko Tanaka, Shigenobu Shibata, and Yasuo Kawakami
This study investigated (a) site- and direction-dependent variations of passive triceps surae aponeurosis stiffness and (b) the relationships between aponeurosis stiffness and muscle strength and walking performance in older individuals. Seventy-nine healthy older adults participated in this study. Shear wave velocities of the triceps surae aponeuroses at different sites and in two orthogonal directions were obtained in a prone position at rest using supersonic shear imaging. The maximal voluntary isometric contraction torque of the plantar flexors and normal (preferred) and fast (fastest possible) walking speeds (5-m distance) were also measured. The shear wave velocities of the adjoining aponeuroses were weakly associated with plantar flexion torque (r = .23–.34), normal (r = .26), and fast walking speed (r = .25). The results show clear spatial variations and anisotropy of the triceps surae aponeuroses stiffness in vivo, and the aponeurosis stiffness was associated with physical ability in older adults.
Craig Pickering, Dylan Hicks, and John Kiely
Elite sprint performances typically peak during an athlete’s 20s and decline thereafter with age. The mechanisms underpinning this sprint performance decline are often reported to be strength-based in nature with reductions in strength capacities driving increases in ground contact time and decreases in stride lengths and frequency. However, an as-of-yet underexplored aspect of Masters sprint performance is that of age-related degradation in neuromuscular infrastructure, which manifests as a decline in both strength and movement coordination. Here, the authors explore reductions in sprint performance in Masters athletes in a holistic fashion, blending discussion of strength and power changes with neuromuscular alterations along with mechanical and technical age-related alterations. In doing so, the authors provide recommendations to Masters sprinters—and the aging population, in general—as to how best to support sprint ability and general function with age, identifying nutritional interventions that support performance and function and suggesting useful programming strategies and injury-reduction techniques.