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Andreia Teixeira, Ronaldo Gabriel, Luis Quaresma, Ana Alencoão, José Martinho, and Helena Moreira

Background: Obesity is an important public health issue that has increased globally in the last decade and continues to be one of the main causes of morbidity and premature mortality. An accumulating body of evidence suggests that contact with nature is a valuable resource for the promotion of a more active lifestyle and seems to have a central role in maintaining a healthy weight. The authors conducted a systematic review to summarize the findings of studies that investigated the relationship between natural spaces and obesity. Methods: Following Primary Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, a literature search was conducted using 11 databases for studies fully available in English and published between 2010 and 2020, with adults (18–64 y) and/or older people (≥65 y). Results: Fifty studies were found that met all the inclusion criteria. The majority (68%) of papers found that higher availability and less distance to green and blue spaces are associated with lower levels of adiposity. These associations were positive, even after adjusting for the demographic and socioeconomic factors. Conclusions: Exploring the characteristics of green and blue spaces seems to be a promising tool for urban planning and health policies. The authors suggest the implementation of exercise programs in contact with nature for future interventions.

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Chih-Chia (JJ) Chen, Shannon D.R. Ringenbach, Nathaniel E. Arnold, and Kahyun Nam

Deficits in motor performance have been well documented in individuals with Down syndrome (DS). However, only a few studies have focused on manipulative skills and older adults in this population. Given the associations between manipulative skills and daily living activities, more work is needed to examine the aging effect on individuals with DS. A total of 54 adults with DS participated in this study. The results indicated that older participants showed more lateralization than younger participants. They exhibited superior dominant hand preference compared to younger participants. In addition, participants with DS with high verbal ability had better performance in manual dexterity and handgrip force. Therefore, in the clinical setting, assessing mental age may help in identifying individuals with DS at a higher risk of motor impairment. Future work should examine additional determinants with a large sample size to understand the development of manipulative skills in individuals with DS. Furthermore, additional studies are needed to investigate the associations between mental age and other cognitive functions and motor performance in this population.

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Mary Page Leggett-James, Matthew E. Vanaman, Danielle Lindner, and Robert L. Askew

While regular exercise is associated with a number of physical and mental health benefits, basing one’s self-esteem largely on exercise is likely associated with negative outcomes. In the present studies, the authors developed a novel measure of this construct, something they term “exercise overvaluation.” In Study 1, 820 participants completed an online survey measuring self-esteem, exercise attitudes and behaviors, and eating disorder symptoms. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis were employed to develop the 14-item Exercise Overvaluation Scale. The results provided evidence of discriminant and convergent validity and internal consistency reliability of scale scores. In Study 2, the Exercise Overvaluation Scale was administered to 134 university athletes, including those who participated in intramural sports, club sports, and collegiate athletics. The results from Study 2 supported the criterion validity and test–retest reliability of scale scores. This scale offers researchers a new tool to help understand the relationships among exercise, self-esteem, and physical and mental health outcomes.

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Megan M. Gardner, Jeff T. Grimm, and Bradley T. Conner

This study explored the relations between sensation seeking, impulsivity, risk compensation, and extreme-sports injury to better understand contributing factors to risk taking in extreme sports and subsequent adverse outcomes. Data included cross-sectional survey responses from 1,107 college students (M age = 19.47, SD = 2.14). Poisson, logistic, and negative binomial regressions were used to investigate the relations of interest. Results indicate that sensation seeking and impulsivity are significantly associated with both risk compensation and extreme-sports injury. Risk compensation is significantly and positively associated with extreme-sports injury in mountain biking and snowboarding. Risk compensation did not significantly moderate the relation between the personality constructs of interest and extreme-sports injury. These results show that the role of risk compensation in extreme-sports injury is highly sport-specific. These results highlight the importance of considering both personality and risk compensation in prevention and intervention efforts.

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Eszter Somogyi, Laurent Salomon, and Jacqueline Fagard

As a step toward understanding the developmental relationship between handedness and language lateralization, this longitudinal study investigated how infants (N = 21) move their hands in noncommunicative and communicative situations at 2 weeks and at 3 months of age. The authors looked at whether left-right asymmetry in hand movements and in duration of self-touch appeared across conditions and whether the direction of asymmetry depended on the communicative nature of the situation. The authors found that asymmetries appeared less consistently than suggested in literature and did not only depend on the communicative nature of the situation. Instead, hand activity and self-touch patterns depended on age, the presence of the mother, the degree of novelty of the situation, and the presence of an object. The results partly support previous studies that pointed out an early differentiation of communicative hand movements versus noncommunicative ones in infants. It is in terms of the amount of global hand activity, rather than in those of the laterality of hand movements that this differentiation emerged in this study. At 3 months, infants moved their hands more in the communicative conditions than in the noncommunicative conditions and this difference appeared as a tendency already at 2 weeks of age.

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Raphael M. Cunha, Gisela Arsa, Iransé Oliveira-Silva, Izabela Ferreira Rocha, and Alexandre Machado Lehnen

This study investigated the acute blood pressure (BP) effects of different exercise modalities in older adults with hypertension. Sixty volunteers were randomly assigned (n = 15/group) into different exercise protocols: resistance, bike, water-based exercise (WE), and a control session—all for ∼45 min. Clinic BP measurements were taken before, immediately after, and 15 and 30 min after protocols. The data were analyzed by one-way analysis of variance; generalized estimating equations, following Bonferroni post hoc (p < .05). Immediately after exercise, the systolic BP (SBP) increased in all exercise protocols (resistance exercise = Δ10.3, bike exercise = Δ5.8, WE = Δ9.5 mmHg; p < .001), while the diastolic BP was not altered. Afterward, the SBP reached the value observed before exercise. In Minute 30, only WE presented a significant reduction for SBP (WE = Δ−4.6 mmHg; p < .05). This study has important clinical implications in hemodynamic safety for acute BP increases immediately after exercises, as well as, in the SBP, reduction benefits for older adults with hypertension.

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Kiarri N. Kershaw, Derek J. Marsh, Emma G. Crenshaw, Rebecca B. McNeil, Victoria L. Pemberton, Sabrina A. Cordon, David M. Haas, Michelle P. Debbink, Brian M. Mercer, Samuel Parry, Uma Reddy, George Saade, Hyagriv Simhan, Ronald J. Wapner, Deborah A. Wing, William A. Grobman, and for the NICHD nuMoM2b and NHLBI nuMoM2b Heart Health Study Networks

Background: Several features of the neighborhood built environment have been shown to promote leisure-time physical activity (PA) in the general population, but few studies have examined its impact on PA during pregnancy. Methods: Data were extracted from 8362 Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers-to-Be cohort participants (2010–2013). Residential address information was linked to 3 built environment characteristics: number of gyms and recreation areas within a 3-km radius of residence and census block level walkability. Self-reported leisure-time PA was measured in each trimester and dichotomized as meeting PA guidelines or not. Relative risks for cross-sectional associations between neighborhood characteristics and meeting PA guidelines were estimated using Poisson regression. Results: More gyms and recreation areas were each associated with a greater chance of meeting PA guidelines in models adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and preexisting conditions. Associations were strongest in the third trimester where each doubling in counts of gyms and recreation areas was associated with 10% (95% confidence interval, 1.07–1.13) and 8% (95% confidence interval, 1.03–1.12), respectively, greater likelihood of meeting PA guidelines. Associations were similar though weaker for walkability. Conclusions: Results from a large, multisite cohort suggest that these built environment characteristics have similar PA-promoting benefits in pregnant women as seen in more general populations.

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Marisete P. Safons, Milene S.N. de Lima, Karina F.L. Gonçalves, Gerson A. de Souza Junior, Tito L.C. Barreto, Anderson José S. Oliveira, Alexandre L.A. Ribeiro, Clarissa C. dos Santos Couto Paz, Paulo Gentil, Martim Bottaro, and Wagner R. Martins

The aim of the present study is to compare the effects of 12 weeks of resistance training with machines and elastic tubes on functional capacity and muscular strength in older women aged 60 years or over. The participants were randomized into two groups: a machine group (n = 23) and an elastic group (n = 20). They performed 12 weeks of progressive resistance training, twice a week, with similar exercises. Outcomes were assessed at three time points: baseline, postintervention, and 8 weeks after the end of the training. A significant intragroup effect was demonstrated for both groups at postintervention on functional tests and muscle strength. For the functional reach test and elbow flexion strength (180°/s), only the machine group demonstrated significant intragroup differences. No differences were observed between groups for any outcome. At the 8-week follow-up, functional capacity outcome values were maintained. The muscle strength outcome values decreased to baseline scores, without differences between groups.

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Gregore I. Mielke, Inacio Crochemore-Silva, Marlos Rodrigues Domingues, Mariangela Freitas Silveira, Andréa Dâmaso Bertoldi, and Wendy J. Brown

Background: Physical activity levels decrease during pregnancy, and the time course of return to prepregnancy levels is unclear. This study aimed to describe changes in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and sitting time from 16 to 24 weeks of pregnancy to 12, 24, and 48 months postpartum in women with different education levels in Brazil. Methods: Data from 4000 mothers of children enrolled in the 2015 Pelotas (Brazil) Birth Cohort were analyzed. The women were interviewed between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy and when their children were aged 12, 24, and 48 months. The LTPA and sitting time were self-reported. Results: Only 15.7% of the women reported any LTPA during pregnancy; this declined to 7.9% at 12 months postpartum; it was 16.8% at 24 months and 23.2% at 48 months. On average, participants spent a mean (SD) of 6.4 (3.9), 4.2 (3.2), 4.3 (3.3), and 4.4 (3.3) hours per day sitting during pregnancy, and at 12, 24, and 48 months after the birth, respectively. Both any LTPA and high sitting (8+ h/d) were consistently higher among women with higher education. Conclusion: After 24 months postpartum, LTPA levels had returned to or exceeded pregnancy levels, but sitting time remained lower than during pregnancy.