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Leila Hedayatrad, Tom Stewart and Scott Duncan

Introduction: Accelerometers are commonly used to assess time-use behaviors related to physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep; however, as new accelerometer technologies emerge, it is important to ensure consistency with previous devices. This study aimed to evaluate the concurrent validity of the commonly used accelerometer, ActiGraph GT3X+, and the relatively new Axivity AX3 (fastened to the lower back) for detecting physical activity intensity and body postures when using direct observation as the criterion measure. Methods: A total of 41 children (aged 6–16 years) and 33 adults (aged 28–59 years) wore both monitors concurrently while performing 10 prescribed activities under laboratory conditions. The GT3X+ data were categorized into different physical activity intensity and posture categories using intensity-based cut points and ActiGraph proprietary inclinometer algorithms, respectively. The AX3 data were first converted to ActiGraph counts before being categorized into different physical activity intensity categories, while activity recognition models were used to detect the target postures. Sensitivity, specificity, and the balanced accuracy for intensity and posture category classification were calculated for each accelerometer. Differences in balanced accuracy between the devices and between children and adults were also calculated. Results: Both accelerometers obtained 74–96% balanced accuracy, with the AX3 performing slightly better (∼4% higher, p < .01) for detecting postures and physical activity intensity. Error in both devices was greatest when contrasting sitting/standing, sedentary/light intensity, and moderate/light intensity. Conclusion: In comparison with the GT3X+ accelerometer, AX3 was able to detect various postures and activity intensities with slightly higher balanced accuracy in children and adults.

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Marte Bentzen, Danielle Alexander, Gordon A. Bloom and Göran Kenttä

The purpose of this scoping review was to provide a broad overview of the literature pertaining to parasport coaches, including information regarding the size and scope of research, the populations and perspectives obtained, and the type of methods used to conduct the research. Data were collected and analyzed using a six-stage framework for conducting scoping reviews. The results revealed that the majority of articles were based on interviews, and an overwhelming majority of the participants were men coaching at the high-performance level in North America. Three of the most frequent topics were becoming a parasport coach, being a parasport coach, and having general parasport coaching knowledge. Articles ranged in date from 1991 to 2018, with 70% of empirical articles published from 2014 onward, indicating an emerging interest in this field of research. This review has the potential to advance the science and practice of parasport coaching at all levels.

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Gennaro Boccia, Marco Cardinale and Paolo Riccardo Brustio

Purpose: To quantify how many of the top 50 under-18 (U18) sprinters in the world managed to become top 50 ranked as adult competitors. The authors also described the career trajectory of athletes ranked in the top 50 during either U18 or senior category. Methods: A total of 4924 male and female athletes competing in sprint races and ranked in the International Association of Athletics Federations (now World Athletics) lists in any of the seasons between the 2000 and 2018 were included in the study. The athletes ranked in the top 50 positions of all-time lists during U18, senior, or both categories were analyzed. Results: Only 17% of the male and 21% of the female top 50 ranked U18 managed to become top 50 ranked senior athletes. The top 50 ranked senior athletes consistently produced yearly larger improvements during late adolescence and early adulthood compared with those who ranked in the top 50 at U18. Furthermore, top 50 ranked senior athletes reached their peak performance later compared with the top 50 ranked only in U18. Conclusions: This study confirms that early success in track and field is not a good predictor of success at senior level in sprinting events. The yearly performance improvements and their tracking provide the most suitable approach to identify athletes more likely to succeed as elite performers in adulthood. The authors hope that the results of this study can provide useful comparative data and reference criteria for talent-identification and -development programs.

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John F.T. Fernandes, Kevin L. Lamb, Jonathan P. Norris, Jason Moran, Benjamin Drury, Nattai R. Borges and Craig Twist

Aging is anecdotally associated with a prolonged recovery from resistance training, though current literature remains equivocal. This brief review considers the effects of resistance training on indirect markers of muscle damage and recovery (i.e., muscle soreness, blood markers, and muscle strength) in older males. With no date restrictions, four databases were searched for articles relating to aging, muscle damage, and recovery. Data from 11 studies were extracted for review. Of these, four reported worse symptoms in older compared with younger populations, while two have observed the opposite, and the remaining studies (n = 6) proposed no differences between age groups. It appears that resistance training can be practiced in older populations without concern for impaired recovery. To improve current knowledge, researchers are urged to utilize more ecologically valid muscle-damaging bouts and investigate the mechanisms which underpin the recovery of muscle soreness and strength after exercise in older populations.

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Anna M.J. Iveson, Malcolm H. Granat, Brian M. Ellis and Philippa M. Dall

Objective: Global positioning system (GPS) data can add context to physical activity data and have previously been integrated with epoch-based physical activity data. The current study aimed to develop a framework for integrating GPS data and event-based physical activity data (suitable for assessing patterns of behavior). Methods: A convenience data set of concurrent GPS (AMOD) and physical activity (activPAL) data were collected from 69 adults. The GPS data were (semi)regularly sampled every 5 s. The physical activity data output was presented as walking events, which are continuous periods of walking with a time-stamped start time and duration (to nearest 0.1 s). The GPS outcome measures and the potential correspondence of their timing with walking events were identified and a framework was developed describing data integration for each combination of GPS outcome and walking event correspondence. Results: The GPS outcome measures were categorized as those deriving from a single GPS point (e.g., location) or from the difference between successive GPS points (e.g., distance), and could be categorical, scale, or rate outcomes. Walking events were categorized as having zero (13% of walking events, 3% of walking duration), or one or more (52% of walking events, 75% of walking duration) GPS points occurring during the event. Additionally, some walking events did not have GPS points suitably close to allow calculation of outcome measures (31% of walking events, 22% of walking duration). The framework required different integration approaches for each GPS outcome type, and walking events containing zero or more than one GPS points.

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Saša Krstulović, Andrea De Giorgio, Óscar DelCastillo Andrés, Emerson Franchini and Goran Kuvačić

The main aim of this investigation was to determine the effect of high contextual interference (HCI) and low contextual interference (LCI) on motor learning of falling techniques. Thirty-five kinesiology students (21 males and 14 females; mean ± SD, age = 19.4 ± 0.69 years) were randomly assigned to the HCI or LCI practice group. The participants’ task was to learn two judo falling techniques on both sides over 3 weeks. The two-way analysis of variance found no difference between LCI and HCI in the performance at the pretest, posttest, retention, and transfer. Both groups improved posttest and retention performance. Finally, differences were found for both groups between the falling performance in the posttest and the application test (except for the right yoko ukemi fall in the HCI). Lower application test scores led to the conclusion that the 3-week treatment was insufficient to reach the application level of the falling techniques.

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Katie E. McGibbon, David B. Pyne, Laine E. Heidenreich and Robin Pla

Purpose: Pacing, or the distribution of energy expenditure, is particularly important in swimming; however, there is limited research examining pacing profiles in long-distance freestyle events. This study aimed to characterize the pacing profiles of elite male 1500-m freestyle swimmers using a novel method to provide a detailed analysis of different race segments. Methods: The race data for 327 male 1500-m freestyle long-course races between 2010 and 2019 were analyzed retrospectively. The raw 50-m split times for each lap were converted to a percentage of overall race time. The races were classified as a fast-, average-, or slow-start strategy (laps 1–2); as an even, negative, or positive pacing strategy (laps 3–28); and as a fast-, average-, or slow-finish strategy (laps 29–30) to give an overall pacing profile. Results: Slow- and average-start strategies were associated with faster overall 1500-m times than a fast-start strategy (mean = −21.2 s; 90% confidence interval, −11.4 to −32.3 s, P = .00). An even pacing strategy in laps 3 to 28 yielded faster overall 1500-m times than a positive pacing strategy (−8.4 s, −3.9 to −13.0 s, P = .00). The overall 1500-m times did not differ substantially across the finish strategies (P = .99). The start strategy differed across age groups and nationalities, where younger swimmers and swimmers from Australia and Great Britain typically spent a lower percentage of race time in laps 1 to 2 (faster start strategy; −0.10%, −0.01% to −0.23%, P ≤ .02). Conclusion: Adopting a relatively slower start strategy helps conserve energy for the latter stages of a 1500-m freestyle race.

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Dionne A. Noordhof, Sjur J. Øfsteng, Linnea Nirenberg, Daniel Hammarström, Joar Hansen, Bent R. Rønnestad and Øyvind Sandbakk

Performance-determining variables are usually measured from a rested state and not after prolonged exercise, specific to when athletes compete for the win in long-distance events. Purpose: (1) To compare cross-country skiing double-poling (DP) performance and the associated physiological and biomechanical performance-determining variables between a rested state and after prolonged exercise and (2) to investigate whether the relationship between the main performance-determining variables and DP performance is different after prolonged submaximal DP than when tested from a rested state. Methods: Male cross-country skiers (N = 26) performed a blood lactate profile test and an incremental test to exhaustion from a rested state on day 1 (D1; all using DP) and after 90-minute submaximal DP on day 2 (D2). Results: The DP performance decreased following prolonged submaximal DP (D1: peak speed = 15.33–20.75 km·h−1, median = 18.1 km·h−1; D2: peak speed = 13.68–19.77 km·h−1, median = 17.8 km·h−1; z = −3.96, P < .001, effect size r = −.77), which coincided with a reduced submaximal gross efficiency and submaximal and peak cycle length, with no significant change in peak oxygen uptake (P = .26, r = .23). The correlation coefficient between D1 cycle length at 12 km·h−1 and D2 performance is significantly smaller than the correlation coefficient between D2 cycle length at 12 km·h−1 and D2 performance (P = .033), with the same result being found for peak cycle length (P < .001). Conclusions: The reduced DP performance after prolonged submaximal DP coincided with a reduced submaximal gross efficiency and shorter peak cycle length. The results indicate that performance-determining variables could be determined after prolonged exercise to gain more valid insight into long-distance DP performance.

Open access

Nicholas G. Gomez, Kelton K. Gubler, Kenneth Bo Foreman and Andrew S. Merryweather

The factors that contribute to the difficulties persons with Parkinson Disease (PwPD) have when negotiating transitions in walking surfaces are not completely known. The authors investigated if PwPD adjusted their step characteristics when negotiating a familiar outdoor surface transition between synthetic concrete and synthetic turf. Force plate and motion capture data were collected for 10 participants with mild to moderate Parkinson disease and 5 healthy older control participants ambulating bidirectionally across the transition between synthetic concrete and synthetic turf. Between groups, PwPD had a significantly higher minimum toe clearance (P = .007) for both directions of travel compared with the healthy control group. Within groups, PwPD significantly increased their hip (P < .001) and ankle (P = .016) range of motion walking from concrete to turf, while the healthy control participants significantly increased their minimum toe clearance (P = .013), margin of stability (P = .019), hip (P < .001) and ankle (P = .038) range of motion, and step length (P < .001). Walking from turf to concrete, both the Parkinson disease group (P = .014) and the healthy control group (P < .001) increased their knee range of motion. Both groups adjusted their step characteristics when negotiating known surface transitions, indicating that surface transitions result in step changes regardless of health status. However, PwPD exhibited overcompensations, particularly in their minimum toe clearance.

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Andrew M. Colombo-Dougovito and Jihyun Lee

Researchers posit that physical activity (PA) settings may provide an increased opportunity for social interaction. However, little consensus exists regarding the construct of social skills. Moreover, little is known about what type or amount of PA is necessary for individuals on the autism spectrum to benefit from this increased interaction. Thus, this scoping review synthesized the components (e.g., design, participants, independent and dependent variables, etc.) and findings of PA-based interventions that included social skill components to identify how interventions have incorporated these skills in different settings. Based on a review of 25 articles, this review revealed a great deal of variability in the types of PA, social skills, and instruments studied, as well as the intensity of intervention delivery in the published findings. No longitudinal studies were identified as a part of the search. These results provide a foundation for the design of effective PA-based interventions that may have an increased impact on the social skills of individuals on the autism spectrum. Future research should employ longitudinal designs to capture the relationship between social skills and PA, as well as to increase the likelihood of capturing change.