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Nicolas Hobson, Sherry L. Dupuis, Lora M. Giangregorio and Laura E. Middleton

Persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early dementia are often physically inactive, despite associated benefits. This study explored the barriers, facilitators, and preferences for exercise among persons living with MCI/early dementia. The authors conducted 2 focus groups among persons living with MCI/early dementia (n = 4, 6 participants) and 2 focus groups among care partners (n = 3, 4 participants). The transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis, guided by the social-ecological model. Three themes emerged, reinforcing motivation to exercise, managing changes to cognitive and physical health, and variable perceptions of dementia, each with influences from individual, care partner, and community levels. Low intrinsic motivation, poor physical/cognitive health, and stigma restricted the exercise among persons living with MCI/early dementia. The care partners motivated their partners and provided company and transportation to exercise. People with MCI/early dementia also indicated poor access to exercise providers and exercise opportunities that met their needs and preferences was a barrier to exercise participation. Knowledge translation research should develop exercise interventions at the individual, social, and community levels.

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Akio Kubota, Alison Carver and Takemi Sugiyama

This cross-sectional study examined associations of local social engagement with walking and sitting, and whether these associations were modified by local environmental attributes. Older residents (aged 65–84 years, n = 849), recruited from a regional city in Japan, reported walking frequency, sitting time, local social engagement, and local environmental attributes. Walk Score® was also used as an environmental measure. Analysis of data from 705 participants found that engaging in community activities was significantly associated with more frequent walking, but not with prolonged sitting. Interaction analyses between social engagement and environmental attributes did not show any significant interactions, suggesting that promoting local social engagement may increase walking frequency among older adults, regardless of local environmental characteristics. Community-level social initiatives that encourage older adults to participate in local meetings, events, and activities may be an effective physical activity promotion strategy among older adults.

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Armand A. Buzzelli and Jason A. Draper

Pickleball, a paddle sport that combines aspects of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, is one of the fastest growing sports in America. The sport is especially popular with older adults as it provides a means for both competition and exercise. Limited research is available on the motivation and perceived benefits of participants in this unique and growing community. A total of 3,012 participants completed a survey instrument that included items from the Sport Motivation Scale, the Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire, and the Quality and Importance of Recreational Services. Participants reported being more task oriented than ego oriented, suggesting that pickleball may effectively satisfy the need for persons to be engaged in physical activities that allow for the ongoing development of personal mastery. This finding is supported by respondents noting that their primary motivation to participate in pickleball involved mastering difficult training techniques. However, participants cited competition as the top perceived benefit to their participation. This result supports two possible conclusions that motivation and benefit are different and potentially disconnected constructs or that the benefit of competition among this sample of older persons is understood through the lens of personal mastery, whereby the demonstration of that mastery is only possible through competition.

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Mark Ward, Sarah Gibney, David O’Callaghan and Sinead Shannon

Despite the benefits, one in three older adults in Ireland has low activity levels. This study examined associations between the local social and built environment and physical activity of older adults to identify age-friendly factors that support physical activity among the aging population. Data were from the population-representative Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative Age-Friendly City and Counties Survey (N = 10,540). Physical activity was measured using a short-form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Mixed-effects negative binomial regression models were adjusted for known health and sociodemographic correlates of physical activity. Results are reported as unstandardized beta coefficients (β) with standard errors. Loneliness, community participation, and difficulty in accessing green spaces partially explained the differences in the number of minutes that respondents were physically active. Combined with individual-level behavior change interventions, improvements to the local environment and promoting social connectedness may also be useful in promoting physical activity among older adults.

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Ka Man Leung and Pak-Kwong Chung

This study examined the associations between physical environment, social environment, and walking for transportation and recreation among older adults in Hong Kong. Cross-sectional data from 450 older adults (79 years or younger [71.9%], female [79.7%]) from 18 districts in Hong Kong were used. The participants’ perceptions of their physical and social environments were collected, and their walking behaviors were self-reported. The results revealed that positive physical environment facilitators and social environments were associated with increased total walking. Only positive physical environment facilitators were associated with increased walking for transportation, and physical and social environments had no notable effect on walking for recreation. These findings suggest that policy makers and walking intervention designers should develop strategies to enhance physical and social environments to promote total walking and walking for transportation.

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Julia C. Orri, Elizabeth M. Hughes, Deepa G. Mistry and Antone Scala

The authors compared the linear and nonlinear heart rate variability dynamics from rest through maximal exercise in postmenopausal women who trained at either moderate or high intensities. The outcome variables included the RR triangular index, TINN, SD1, SD2, SD1/SD2, DFA α1, DFA α2, and α1/α2. Maximal exercise reduced SD1, SD2, DFA α1, DFA α2, α1/α2, RRTri, and TINN in both groups and increased SD1/SD2 (p < .05). Two minutes of active recovery produced significant increases in SD1, SD2, DFA α1, and TINN, compared with exercise in both groups (p < .0001). There was also a significant main effect between groups for RRTri during exercise recovery, with the moderate group achieving higher levels (p < .04). The authors have shown that both moderate and vigorous exercise training can lead to a healthy response to maximal exercise and recovery, with the moderate group having a slightly improved recovery in the triangular index.

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Werner F. Helsen, Nikola Medic, Janet L. Starkes and Andrew M. Williams

Inequalities in relative age distribution have previously been demonstrated to influence participation and performance achievements in Masters athletes. The purpose of the present study was to examine the participation- and performance-related constituent year effect among Masters athletes (N = 2,474) from the European Masters Track and Field Championships across subdisciplines and age. The results indicated that a participation-related constituent year effect was observed. The likelihood of participation was significantly higher for athletes in their first year of any 5-year age category (χ2 = 149.8, p < .001) and decreased significantly when they were in the fourth or fifth year. The results also indicated a performance-related constituent year effect. Masters athletes in their first year won significantly more medals than expected based on observed participation rate (χ2 = 23.39, p < .001). We compare our results with the existing literature and discuss potential mechanisms for this constituent year effect.

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Yi-Ching Chen, I-Chen Lin, Yen-Ting Lin, Wei-Min Huang, Chien-Chun Huang and Ing-Shiou Hwang

This study contrasted the stochastic force component between young and older adults, who performed pursuit tracking/compensatory tracking by exerting in-phase/antiphase forces to match a sinusoidal target. Tracking force was decomposed into the force component containing the target frequency and the nontarget force fluctuations (stochastic component). Older adults with inferior task performance had higher complexity (entropy across time; p = .005) in total force. For older adults, task errors were negatively correlated with force fluctuation complexity (pursuit tracking: r = −.527 to −.551; compensatory tracking: r = −.626 to −.750). Notwithstanding an age-related increase in total force complexity (p = .004), older adults exhibited lower complexity of the stochastic force component than young adults did (low frequency: p = .017; high frequency: p = .035). Those older adults with a higher complexity of stochastic force had better task performance due to the underlying use of a richer gradation strategy to compensate for impaired oscillatory control.

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Darryn S. Willoughby, Kaitlan N. Beretich, Marcus Chen and LesLee K. Funderburk

Elevated circulating C-terminal agrin fragment (CAF) is a marker of neuromuscular junction degradation and sarcopenia. This study sought to determine if resistance training (RT) impacted the serum levels of CAF in perimenopausal (PERI-M) and postmenopausal (POST-M) women. A total of 35 women, either PERI-M or POST-M, participated in 10 weeks of RT. Body composition, muscle strength, and serum estradiol and CAF were determined before and after the RT. The data were analyzed with two-way analysis of variance (p ≤ .05). Upper body and lower body strength was significantly increased, by 81% and 73% and 86% and 79% for the PERI-M and POST-M participants, respectively; however, there were no significant changes in body composition. Estradiol was significantly less for the POST-M participants at pretraining compared with the PERI-M participants. CAF moderately increased by 22% for the PERI-M participants in response to RT, whereas it significantly decreased by 49% for the POST-M participants. Ten weeks of RT reduced the circulating CAF in the POST-M women and might play a role in attenuating degenerative neuromuscular junction changes.

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Pai-Yun Cheng, Hsiao-Feng Chieh, Chien-Ju Lin, Hsiu-Yun Hsu, Jia-Jin J. Chen, Li-Chieh Kuo and Fong-Chin Su

This study aims toward an investigation and comparison of the digital force control and the brain activities of older adults and young groups during digital pressing tasks. A total of 15 young and 15 older adults were asked to perform force ramp tasks at different force levels with a custom pressing system. Near-infrared spectroscopy was used to collect the brain activities in the prefrontal cortex and primary motor area. The results showed that the force independence and hand function of the older adults were worse than that of the young adults. The cortical activations in the older adults were higher than those in the young group during the tasks. A significant hemodynamic between-group response and mild negative correlations between brain activation and force independence ability were found. Older adults showed poor force independence ability and manual dexterity and required additional brain activity to compensate for the degeneration.