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Werner de Andrade Müller, Grégore Iven Mielke, Inácio Crochemore M. da Silva, Mariangela F. Silveira and Marlos Rodrigues Domingues

Background: Physical activity (PA) during pregnancy is associated with several benefits in maternal and child outcomes, and its relationship with preterm birth is still conflicting. This study aims to examine the associations between PA during pregnancy and occurrence of preterm birth. Methods: PA was assessed by questionnaire (for each trimester) and accelerometry (second trimester) in women enrolled in a birth cohort study that started during pregnancy and included births that occurred between January 1 and December 31, 2015. Gestational age was based on the last menstrual period and ultrasonography. All deliveries before 37 weeks of gestation were considered preterm births. A Poisson regression model was used to measure associations controlling for potential confounders. Results: PA information was available for 4163 women and 13.8% of births were preterm. A total of 15.8% of women were engaged in PA during pregnancy. Multivariate analysis showed that only PA performed in the third trimester of pregnancy (prevalence ratio = 0.58; 95% confidence interval, 0.36–0.96) was associated with the outcome. Conclusions: PA performed in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with a protection to preterm birth. Pregnant women should be counseled to engage in PA to lower the risk of premature delivery.

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Lewis Keane, Emma Sherry, Nico Schulenkorf, Joel Negin, Ding Ding, Adrian Bauman, Edward Jegasothy and Justin Richards

Background: The purpose of this paper was to identify personal, social, and environmental mediators of recreational physical activity (PA) in a 6-month netball-based intervention for women and girls in Tonga. Methods: Tonga Netball’s “low-engagement village program” was implemented in 10 villages and aimed to increase the recreational PA levels in women and girls through a comprehensive, structured community-level netball program addressing key barriers to participation. In a mixed-methods approach, these mediating barriers were identified through qualitative interviews based on the socioecological model. Quantitative measures for mediators and recreational PA were then developed, and data from 301 women and girls were collected. Standard mediation analyses methods were then applied. Results: Program participation appeared to significantly increase PA levels. Statistically significant personal mediators were body issues, preferring competitions, and clothing. Social mediators were support from sports council, community leaders, friends, and church. Environmental mediators were travel time and access to balls, bibs, and umpires. Conclusion: A comprehensive community-level program addressing key participation barriers can increase recreational PA among women and girls in Tonga. Triangulating these results with mediation analyses of variables on the causal pathway can strengthen our understanding of causation and inform funding prioritization for critical program components in similar contexts.

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Jennifer R. Pharr, Mary Angela M. Terencio and Timothy Bungum

Background: People who are physically active enjoy a multitude of health benefits across their lifespan compared with people who are not physically active. However, little research has sought to determine whether those who meet the physical activity (PA) guidelines also engage in other healthy behaviors. The purpose of this study was to compare healthy behaviors of people who met the PA guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to those who did not meet the guidelines. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey conducted in 2017. Descriptive statistical analyses were performed using chi-square tests. Odds and adjusted odds ratios were calculated using multiple logistic regressions. Results: Those who met the PA guidelines were more likely to get a flu shot, have a medical checkup, take human immunodeficiency virus tests, wear seatbelts, and binge drink more frequently, compared with those who did not meet the guidelines. This group is also less likely to be smokers and be overweight or obese in comparison to their inactive counterparts. Conclusion: The positive association between PA and other healthy behaviors represents synergistic health activities, with healthy behaviors supporting others.

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Alanna Weisberg, Alexandre Monte Campelo, Tanzeel Bhaidani and Larry Katz

Traditional physical activity tracking tools, such as self-report questionnaires, are inherently subjective and vulnerable to bias. Physical activity tracking technology, such as activity tracking wristbands, is becoming more reliable and readily available. As such, researchers are employing these objective measurement tools in both observational- and intervention-based studies. There remains a gap in the literature on how to properly select activity tracking wristbands for research, specifically for the older adult population. This paper outlines considerations for choosing the most appropriate wrist-worn wearable device for use in research with older adults. Device features, outcome measures, population, and methodological considerations are explored.

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Janet Lok Chun Lee and Rainbow Tin Hung Ho

In response to demographic changes in recent years, an increasing number of parks have established exercise spaces for older adults. However, limited research has been conducted to investigate how older adults utilize, experience, and perceive these spaces. This study aims to explore their experiences of using these spaces and their perspectives on these spaces by using a qualitative descriptive research design. In-depth interviews were conducted with 32 users in three Hong Kong parks with low, medium, and high area-based socioeconomic statuses. The findings highlight that exercise spaces in parks can cultivate a positive environment allowing older adults with varying physical abilities and health statuses to remain active together as well as to support each other socially and emotionally in a natural outdoor setting. The participants’ perspectives on the exercise space discussed in this study suggest that future plans for constructing such spaces in parks might benefit from a co-design approach.

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Nicole K. Nathan, Rachel L. Sutherland, Kirsty Hope, Nicole J. McCarthy, Matthew Pettett, Ben Elton, Rebecca Jackson, Stewart G. Trost, Christophe Lecathelinais, Kathryn Reilly, John H. Wiggers, Alix Hall, Karen Gillham, Vanessa Herrmann and Luke Wolfenden

Aim: To assess the impact of a multistrategy intervention designed to improve teachers’ implementation of a school physical activity (PA) policy on student PA levels. Methods: A cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted in 12 elementary schools. Policy implementation required schools to deliver 150 minutes of organized PA for students each week via physical education, sport, or class-based activities such as energizers. Schools received implementation support designed using the theoretical domains framework to help them implement the current policy. Results: A total of 1,502 children in kindergarten to grade 6 participated. At follow-up compared with control, students attending intervention schools had, measured via accelerometer, significantly greater increases in school day counts per minute (97.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 64.5 to 130.4; P < .001) and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (3.0; 95% CI, 2.2–3.8, P < .001) and a greater decrease in sedentary time (−2.1; 95% CI, −3.9 to −0.4, P = .02) per school day. Teachers in intervention schools delivered significantly more minutes (36.6 min) of PA to their students at follow-up (95% CI, 2.7–70.5, P = .04). Conclusions: Supporting teachers to implement a PA policy improves student PA. Additional strategies may be needed to support teachers to implement activities that result in larger gains in student MVPA.

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Tomas Vetrovsky, Dan Omcirk, Jan Malecek, Petr Stastny, Michal Steffl and James J. Tufano

Following a 4-week control period, 24 older men and women (55–91 years) attended a 4-week progressive jumping program to determine whether assisted jumping could be safely and effectively implemented as a novel stimulus in healthy older adults. Bodyweight countermovement jump performance, isometric and isokinetic strength, postural stability, and exercise enjoyment were assessed before the control period, before the training intervention, and after the training intervention. Following the 4-week intervention, eccentric quadriceps strength increased by 19 N·m (95% confidence interval [2, 36], p = .013), bodyweight countermovement jump height increased by 1.7 cm (95% CI [0.5, 2.9], p < .001), postural sway improved by 2.1 mm/s (95% CI [0.3, 4.0], p = .026), and the participants’ perceived exercise enjoyment improved (p = .026). Therefore, using assisted jumping to induce an overspeed training stimulus in a jump training program resulted in similar performance improvements as in previous studies in older populations but with less training volume and a shorter training duration.

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Magdalena Żegleń, Łukasz Kryst, Małgorzata Kowal and Agnieszka Woronkowicz

Background: The aim of this study was to analyze the secular changes of the physical fitness of preschool children from Kraków, Poland between 2008 and 2018. Methods: The study group consisted of 2143 children (3- to 7-y-olds; 2008 cohort included 1037 children and the 2018 cohort included 1106 children). The following physical fitness tests were carried out: overhead medicine ball throw, standing broad jump, sit-and-reach test, and handgrip strength. Statistical differences between the cohorts were obtained using 2-way analysis of variance and Tukey tests. Results: Negative changes were noted for the standing broad jump and its relative results among boys. A negative trend was also observed for flexibility and ball throw. Positive changes were noted for the standing broad jump among girls, as well as the absolute and normalized results of handgrip strength in both sexes. Besides the flexibility, observed discrepancies were practically significant between the age groups. Differences between the cohorts reached practical significance in the case of absolute and normalized handgrip strength. Conclusions: There was at least partial progress in the children’s fitness. Physical fitness, in turn, is one of the most important health markers. Moreover, its low level is a predictor of diseases, including metabolic and cardiovascular ones, lower academic performance, and psychosocial problems.

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Kerem Shuval, Liora Sahar, Kelley Pettee Gabriel, Gregory Knell, Galit Weinstein, Tal Gafni Gal, Felipe Lobelo and Loretta DiPietro

Background: The Rapid Assessment Disuse Index (RADI) is a brief tool aimed to promptly assess primary care patients’ overall physical inactivity and sedentary behavior. This study examines the relation between physical inactivity and sitting time (RADI) to cardiometabolic risk among primary care patients. Methods: Survey data and electronic medical record information were collated to explore the association between RADI scores (cumulative and sitting) to metabolic syndrome (and components) among women and men, using multivariable logistic regression. Results: Among women, the cumulative RADI score was not significantly associated with metabolic syndrome. However, the RADI sitting score was related to low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and metabolic syndrome. That is, a transition to a higher RADI sitting score by 1 unit (vs remaining in the score) was related with a 1.4 and 1.3 times higher odds for having low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (95% confidence interval, 1.05–1.87) and metabolic syndrome (95% confidence interval, 1.02–1.64), respectively. Among men, no significant relations were found. Conclusions: The RADI sitting score is positively and significantly related to high-density lipoprotein and metabolic syndrome among women, yet not men. Due to the RADI’s potential clinical utility, future research should attempt to examine these relations in larger, more robust samples and adjudicated outcomes using a prospective design.

Open access

Abby Haynes, Catherine Sherrington, Geraldine Wallbank, David Lester, Allison Tong, Dafna Merom, Chris Rissel and Anne Tiedemann

The Coaching for Healthy Ageing trial evaluated the impact on physical activity (PA) and falls based on a year-long intervention in which participants aged 60+ receive a home visit, regular health coaching by physiotherapists, and a free activity monitor. This interview study describes the participants’ experiences of the intervention and ideas for improvement. The authors sampled purposively for maximum variation in experiences. The data were analyzed thematically by two researchers. Most of the 32 participants reported that the intervention increased PA levels, embedded activities, and generated positivity about PA. They were motivated by quantified PA feedback, self-directed goals, and person-centered coaching. Social connectivity motivated some, but the intervention did not support this well. The intervention structure allowed participants to trial and embed activities. Autonomy and relatedness were emphasized and should be included in future program theory. The authors identified synergistic effects, likely “essential ingredients,” and potential areas for improving this and similar interventions.