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Amanda Young, Seán Healy, Lisa Silliman-French, and Ali Brian

To inform the development of scalable and sustainable fundamental motor skill interventions for children with Down syndrome, this study examined the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of Project Skill Intervention Implemented by Parents (Project SKIP), a web-based, parent-mediated intervention intended to improve ball skills among children with Down syndrome. Twenty-four families enrolled in the study (including 13 boys and 11 girls; M age = 4.92). Fourteen children were assigned to an experimental group and participated in the 6-week intervention, and 10 children served as the inactive comparison group. The Test of Gross Motor Development-3 was administered preintervention and postintervention. In addition, parents of children in the experimental group completed a postintervention survey to assess their perceptions of Project SKIP. Following the intervention, there was a significant improvement in ball skills (p = .023, d = 0.86) for children in the experimental group, whereas the comparison group did not show significant improvement. Moreover, parents perceived Project SKIP to be feasible and effective; all parents reported being satisfied with their overall experience in the program, and 11 parents indicated that their child’s fundamental motor skills were positively influenced by the intervention. Engagement was high, with the majority of parents (n = 8, 57%) interacting with Project SKIP content three to four times a week.

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Benjamin A. McKay, Jace A. Delaney, Andrew Simpkin, Theresa Larkin, Andrew Murray, Charles R. Pedlar, Nathan A. Lewis, and John A. Sampson

Purpose: To assess associations between a free oxygen radical test (FORT), free oxygen radical defense test (FORD), oxidative stress index, urinary cortisol, countermovement jump (CMJ), and subjective wellness in American college football. Methods: Twenty-three male student athlete American college football players were assessed over 10 weeks: off-season conditioning (3 wk), preseason camp (4 wk), and in season (3 wk). Assessments included a once-weekly FORT and FORD blood sample, urinary cortisol sample, CMJ assessment including flight time, reactive strength index modified and concentric impulse, and a daily subjective wellness questionnaire. Linear mixed models analyzed the effect of a 2 within-subject SD change in the predictor variable on the dependent variable. The effects were interpreted using magnitude-based inference and are presented as standardized effect size (ES) ± 90% confidence intervals. Results: Small negative associations were observed between FORT–flight time, FORT–fatigue, FORT–soreness (ES range = −0.30 to −0.48), FORD–sleep (ES = 0.42 ± 0.29), and oxidative stress index soreness (ES = 0.56 ± 0.29). Small positive associations were observed between FORT–cortisol (ES = 0.36 ± 0.35), FORD–flight time, FORD reactive strength index modified and FORD–soreness (0.37–0.41), oxidative stress index concentric impulse (ES = 0.37 ± 0.28), and with soreness–concentric impulse, soreness–flight time, and soreness reactive strength index modified (0.33–0.59). Moderate positive associations were observed between cortisol–concentric impulse and cortisol–sleep (0.57–0.60). Conclusion:FORT/FORD was associated with CMJ variables and subjective wellness. Greater amounts of subjective soreness were associated with decreased CMJ performance, increased FORT and cortisol, and decreased FORD.

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Masahiro Yamada, Lauren Q. Higgins, and Louisa D. Raisbeck

Although multiple review studies have supported the superior effects of an external compared with internal focus, these reviews are based on performance outcomes. Currently, the literature lacks knowledge regarding the effects of external/internal foci on individuals’ perceptions, which may provide further explanations for how attentional focus affects performance. Therefore, the present study conducted a systematic review of survey/questionnaire data of participants’ thoughts and emotions from laboratory studies. The authors used ERIC, SPORTDiscus, PsycArticle, CINAHL Plus, Health Source Nursing Academic edition, and PubMed search engines. Literature specific to external/internal focus effects on motor learning or performance were reviewed (N = 37). The results showed that participants generally adhered to the assigned attentional focus instruction and there was a trend that preference may affect the attentional focus effects, but the results were inconsistent regarding if attentional focus cues affected the magnitude of adherence and mental demands. There were substantial differences in methodologies and theoretical issues of measuring these data. Future studies should adopt inferential statistics, choose theoretically relevant questions in a priori manner, or, at minimum, propose a hypothesis for the selected question.

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Ghazala T. Saleem, Jeanne Langan, Jacob I. McPherson, Beth S. Slomine, E. Mark Mahone, Martha Bridge Denckla, and Stacy J. Suskauer

Purpose: To facilitate precise diagnosis and provide tailored treatment of postural anomalies in the pediatric population, appropriate assessments are essential. In light of the multicomponent structure of postural control, understanding underlying constructs of an assessment is valuable in selecting and interpreting assessments. This study investigates the construct validity of the Gaits and Stations variables in the Revised Physical and Neurological Examination of Subtle Signs, a measure used to evaluate standing postural control in youth with mild neurological deficits. Methods: Data were included from 350 healthy participants ages 10–19 years old. An exploratory factor analysis with varimax rotation was performed. Individual loadings of ≥0.4 were used for factor designation. Results: Three latent factors were identified and labeled, based on evidence, as dynamic stability, movement strategies/coordination, and underlying motor systems—musculoskeletal strength. Conclusions: These brief, easily administered Gaits and Stations measures of the Physical and Neurological Examination of Subtle Signs facilitate evaluation of three constructs of standing postural control relevant to youth with mild neuromotor impairments. This information will potentially assist in clinical practice to identify youth with postural control deficits and establish developmentally appropriate interventions and in research to refine understanding of pathology and the impact on components of postural control.

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Kerri A. Graber, Kari L. Loverro, Mark Baldwin, Erika Nelson-Wong, Joshua Tanor, and Cara L. Lewis

Pelvic drop is caused by decreased hip abductor muscle activity and is associated with lower-extremity injury. Hip abductor strengthening exercises are well established; however, no standard method exists to increase hip abductor activity during functional activities. The purpose of this research was to study the effects of walking with a unilateral weight. A total of 26 healthy adults walked on an instrumented treadmill with and without handheld weight (15%–20% body weight). Muscle activity, kinematic, and kinetic data were collected using surface electromyography, motion capture, and force plates, respectively. Average hip and trunk muscle activity, hip, pelvic, and trunk angles, and peak internal hip moments during stance were compared for each side (contralateral/ipsilateral to the weight) between conditions (unweighted/weighted) using a generalized linear model with generalized estimating equation correction. Interactions between condition and side were observed for muscle activity, frontal plane pelvic and trunk angles, and frontal plane hip moments (P ≤ .003). Compared with the unweighted condition, the weighted condition had higher hip abductor activity contralateral to the weight (P < .001), while no change was found ipsilateral to the weight (P ≥ .790). Similar changes were found for kinematic and kinetic variables. Walking with a unilateral weight may be a therapeutic option to increase functional hip abductor activity.

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Dennis E. Dever, Kellen T. Krajewski, Camille C. Johnson, Katelyn F. Allison, Nizam U. Ahamed, Mita Lovalekar, Qi Mi, Shawn D. Flanagan, William J. Anderst, and Chris Connaboy

The objective was to examine the interactive effects of load magnitude and locomotion pattern on lower-extremity joint angles and intralimb coordination in recruit-aged women. Twelve women walked, ran, and forced marched at body weight and with loads of +25%, and +45% of body weight on an instrumented treadmill with infrared cameras. Joint angles were assessed in the sagittal plane. Intralimb coordination of the thigh–shank and shank–foot couple was assessed with continuous relative phase. Mean absolute relative phase (entire stride) and deviation phase (stance phase) were calculated from continuous relative phase. At heel strike, forced marching exhibited greater (P < .001) hip flexion, knee extension, and ankle plantar flexion compared with running. At mid-stance, knee flexion (P = .007) and ankle dorsiflexion (P = .04) increased with increased load magnitude for all locomotion patterns. Forced marching (P = .009) demonstrated a “stiff-legged” locomotion pattern compared with running, evidenced by the more in-phase mean absolute relative phase values. Running (P = .03) and walking (P = .003) had greater deviation phase than forced marching. Deviation phase increased for running (P = .03) and walking (P < .001) with increased load magnitude but not for forced marching. With loads of >25% of body weight, forced marching may increase risk of injury due to inhibited energy attenuation up the kinetic chain and lack of variability to disperse force across different supportive structures.

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Kevin Alan Valenzuela, Songning Zhang, Lauren Elizabeth Schroeder, Joshua Trueblood Weinhandl, Jeffrey Reinbolt, Rebecca Zakrajsek, and Harold Earl Cates

Patient dissatisfaction following total knee replacement (TKR) procedures is likely influenced by both subjective and objective aspects. Increased pain and reduced performance on clinical tests have been shown in persons who are dissatisfied with the outcome of their surgery. However, it is unknown how overground walking kinematics and kinetics might differ in the dissatisfied versus satisfied patients following TKR surgery. This study compared the lower-extremity walking kinematics and kinetics of patients dissatisfied with their TKR to that of satisfied patients and healthy controls. Thirty nine subjects completed walking trials, including nine dissatisfied and 15 satisfied TKR patients and 15 healthy controls. A 2 × 3 repeated -measures analysis of variance was used to assess differences between groups and limbs (P < .05). Dissatisfied persons showed significantly reduced loading-response and push-off peak vertical ground reaction forces, flexion range of motion, loading-response extension moments, and loading-response abduction moments compared to the controls. Peak loading-response and push-off vertical ground reaction forces and flexion range of motion were reduced in the replaced limb of dissatisfied patients compared with their nonreplaced limb. Push-off plantar flexion moments were reduced in the dissatisfied patients compared with the satisfied and healthy controls. Dissatisfied patients also reported increased knee joint pain and reduced preferred gait speed. Moreover, dissatisfied patients experienced mechanical limb asymmetries not present in those satisfied with their surgery result. Thus, patients dissatisfied with their total knee replacement outcome were found to be experiencing significant negative physiological changes.

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Adam Field, Liam D. Harper, Bryna C.R. Chrismas, Peter M. Fowler, Alan McCall, Darren J. Paul, Karim Chamari, and Lee Taylor

Purpose: To survey soccer practitioners’ recovery strategy: (1) use, (2) perceived effectiveness, and (3) factors influencing their implementation in professional soccer. Methods: A cross-sectional convenience sample of professional soccer club/confederation practitioners completed a web-based survey (April to July 2020). Pearson chi-square and Fisher exact tests with Cramer V (φ − c) assessed relationships and their strength, respectively, between the perceived effectiveness and frequency of strategy use. Results: A total of 80 soccer practitioners (13 countries) completed the survey. The 3 most important recovery objectives were “alleviating muscle damage/fatigue,” “minimizing injury risk,” and “performance optimization.” The most frequently used strategies were active recovery, structured recovery day, extra rest day, massage, cold-water therapy, and carbohydrate provision (predominantly on match day and match day + 1). Relationships were identified between perceived effectiveness and frequency of strategy use for sleep medication (P < .001, φ − c = 0.48), carbohydrate provision (P = .007, φ − c = 0.60), protein provision (P = .007, φ − c = 0.63), an extra rest day (P < .001, φ − c = 0.56), and a structured recovery day (P = .049, φ − c = 0.50). Conclusions: The study demonstrates that professional soccer practitioners have a range of objectives geared toward enhancing player recovery. A disconnect is apparent between the perceived effectiveness of many recovery strategies and their frequency of use in an applied setting. Novel data indicate that strategies are most frequently employed around match day. Challenges to strategy adoption are mainly competing disciplinary interests and resource limitations. Researchers and practitioners should liaise to ensure that the complexities involved with operating in an applied environment are elucidated and apposite study designs are adopted, in turn, facilitating the use of practically effective and compatible recovery modalities.

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Sylwia Bartkowiak, Jan M. Konarski, Ryszard Strzelczyk, Jarosław Janowski, Małgorzata Karpowicz, and Robert M. Malina

Background: The objective of the study was to evaluate secular changes in the physical fitness of rural school youth, 7–15 years, in west-central Poland between 1986 and 2016. Methods: The fitness of cross-sectional samples of school youth resident in the same 10 communities was evaluated in 4 decennial surveys: 1986—1417 boys/1326 girls; 1996—979 boys/947 girls; 2006—871 boys/843 girls; and 2016—1189 boys/1105 girls. Five tests evaluated speed (5-m run), agility (figure 8 run), explosive power (vertical jump), flexibility (stand and reach), and cardiovascular fitness (modified Harvard step test). Age- and sex-specific descriptive statistics were calculated by survey, while differences among surveys were compared in 3 broad age groups (7–9, 10–12, and 13–15 y) using analysis of variance with age and age squared as covariates. Results: Speed and flexibility declined, while the jump and step test index changed variably across surveys. Although agility improved across surveys, the major improvement occurred between 1986 and 1996. Conclusions: Performances of rural school youth on 5 tests of physical fitness changed significantly, but, variably, between 1986 and 2016. The results were generally consistent with other studies of Polish school youth that spanned a similar interval.

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Erianne A. Weight, Molly Harry, and Heather Erwin

Background: The Walking Classroom is an education program that provides students with an opportunity to accumulate physical activity without losing instructional time. Method: This research tests Kuczala’s application of kinesthetic learning theory through measuring knowledge retention, postactivity information processing, and mood in students who engage in a short bout of physical activity while listening to Walking Classroom podcasts about language arts, science, and history, and those who remain seated during a podcast, compared with baseline levels. Students from 9 high-poverty fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms (n = 319) in a North Carolina county comprised the sample. Results: Utilizing multivariate analysis of covariance, the results demonstrate significantly higher levels of learning while walking compared with learning while sitting. Measures of mood utilizing the 10-item version of the Positive and Negative Affect Scale also demonstrated a significant effect in predicted directions. Conclusion: The results support that coupling physical activity with instruction leads to increased performance and mood for elementary school students.