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Michelle Ogrodnik, Jillian Halladay, Barbara Fenesi, Jennifer Heisz and Katholiki Georgiades

Background: Participation in physical activity (PA) is a modifiable factor that contributes to academic success, yet the optimal dose (ie, frequency) and mechanisms underlying the effect require further exploration. Methods: Using data from 19,886 elementary and 11,238 secondary school students across Ontario, Canada, this study examined associations between PA participation frequency, academic achievement, and inattention and hyperactivity. Results: Among elementary students, there was a positive association between PA frequency and academic achievement. Participating in 1 to 2 days per week of PA related to higher academic achievement compared with no days, whereas 7 days per week had the largest associations. For secondary students, a minimum of 3 to 4 days per week was associated with higher academic achievement with no significant benefit of additional days. Indirect effects of inattention and hyperactivity were found for both groups, suggesting that the benefits of PA on academic achievement may be partly explained by reductions in inattention and hyperactivity, especially for secondary school students. Conclusion: Students may experience academic benefits from PA even if they are not meeting the guidelines of exercising daily. These benefits may occur, in part, through reductions in inattention and hyperactivity. Further work is needed to determine the temporality and mechanism of these associations.

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Nikolaos Zaras, Angeliki-Nikoletta Stasinaki, Polyxeni Spiliopoulou, Giannis Arnaoutis, Marios Hadjicharalambous and Gerasimos Terzis

Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between weightlifting performance and the rate of force development (RFD), muscle architecture, and body composition in elite Olympic weightlifters. Methods: Six male Olympic weightlifters (age 23.3 [3.4] y, body mass 88.7 [10.2] kg, body height 1.76 [0.07] m, snatch 146.7 [15.4] kg, clean and jerk 179.4 [22.1] kg), all members of the national team, participated in the study. Athletes completed a 16-week periodized training program aiming to maximize their performance at the national competition event. Measurements, including maximal strength (1-repetition maximum) in snatch, clean and jerk, back and front squat, isometric leg press RFD and peak force, countermovement jump, vastus lateralis muscle architecture, and body composition, were performed before and after the training period. Results: Weightlifting performance increased significantly after training (P < .05). Leg press RFD increased only in time windows of 0 to 200 and 0 to 250 milliseconds after training (8.9% [8.5%] and 9.4% [7.7%], respectively, P < .05) while peak force remained unaltered (P < .05). Front squat strength increased significantly (P < .05), while countermovement jump power increased 2.3% (2.1%) (P < .05). No changes were observed for muscle architecture and lean body mass (P > .05). Significant correlations were observed between performance in snatch and clean and jerk with isometric leg press RFD, at all time windows, as well as with lean body mass and squat 1-repetition maximum. Conclusions: These results suggest that regular examination of RFD, lean body mass, and lower extremities’ 1-repetition maximum may be useful performance predictors in elite Olympic weightlifters.

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Tanya Tripathi, Stacey C. Dusing, Peter E. Pidcoe, Yaoying Xu, Mary S. Shall and Daniel L. Riddle

Aims: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “parents to incorporate supervised, awake ‘prone play’ in their infant’s routine to support motor development and minimize the risk of plagiocephaly”. The purpose of this feasibility study was to compare usual care to a reward contingency–based intervention, developed to increase prone tolerance and improve motor skills. Methods: Ten full-term infants, 3–6- months old, with poor prone tolerance were randomized to either the Education group or Reward contingency group. Each group participated in three parent education sessions and 15 intervention sessions, over the period of three weeks. Infants in the Reward contingency group used the Prone Play Activity Center, a technology developed to reinforce motor behavior of infants in prone position. Intervention frequency and parent feedback data determined the feasibility of the interventions. Results: Infants in the Reward contingency group practiced a median of 12 of the 15 anticipated intervention sessions in the Prone Play Activity Center. These infants used the device for a mean of 18 minutes per day. Parents of infants in the Education group practiced a median of 10 sessions of the 15 anticipated intervention sessions. Conclusion: The reward contingency–based intervention is feasible for use in a future clinical trial with some modifications.

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Kendall J. Sharp, Charles C. South, Cherise Chin Fatt, Madhukar H. Trivedi and Chad D. Rethorst

Exercise reduces depressive symptoms and improves physical health in persons with depression. However, the interventions implemented in research studies require significant resources, limiting adoption into clinical practice and suggesting the need for more efficient interventions. In two nonrandomized pilot studies, the authors evaluated the feasibility of a multicomponent intervention (group educational sessions, Fitbit, and access to exercise facility) in adult persons with depression and breast cancer survivors with depression. The participants in both pilot studies completed 12 weeks of group educational sessions to increase physical activity levels, were provided with self-monitoring devices, and were provided access to on-site exercise facilities. Depressive symptoms significantly decreased postintervention, and over 90% of the participants reported that they had benefited from the intervention. These results indicate that implementing a multicomponent intervention is feasible and may reduce depressive symptoms and improve other psychosocial outcomes.

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Audrey G. Evers, Jessica A Somogie, Ian L. Wong, Jennifer D. Allen and Adolfo G. Cuevas

The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a pilot mindfulness program for student athletes by assessing mental health, mindfulness ability, and perceived stress before and after the intervention. The mindfulness program was adapted from a program developed at the University of Southern California. The four-session intervention taught the basics of mindfulness, self-care skills, and guided meditations. Participants completed surveys before and after the intervention. Mindfulness ability was assessed with the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale, mental health was assessed with a modified Short Form Health Survey, and stress was assessed with the Perceived Stress Scale. After the intervention, participants reported improvement in mindfulness ability, t(28) = −2.61, p =  .014, mental health, t(28)  =  −2.87, p =  .008, and a trending improvement in perceived stress, t(28)  =  1.86, p =  .073. A short mindfulness program may be effective for improving mental health and mindfulness ability in collegiate student athletes.

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Luca Correale, Vittoria Carnevale Pellino, Luca Marin, Massimiliano Febbi and Matteo Vandoni

Spatiotemporal parameters of walking are used to identify gait impairments and provide a tailored therapy program. Baropodometric platforms are not often used for measuring spatiotemporal parameters and walking speed and it is required to determine accuracy. The aim of this study was to compare FreeMed® Platform gait outcomes with a validated inertial measurement unit. There were 40 healthy adults without walking impairments enrolled. Each subject walked along a 15-m walkway at self and slow self-selected speed wearing an inertial measurement unit on the FreeMed® Platform. Stride length and time, right and left stance, swing time, and walking speed were recorded. Walking speed, stride length, and step time showed a very high level of agreement at slow walking speed and a high and moderate level of agreement at normal walking speed. FreeMed® Platform is useful to assess gait outcomes and could improve the exercise prescription.

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Kim Gammage, Alyson Crozier, Alison Ede, Christopher Hill, Sean Locke, Eric Martin, Desi McEwan, Kathleen Mellano, Eva Pila, Matthew Stork and Svenja Wolf

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Joy Khayat, Stéphane Champely, Ahmad Diab, Ahmad Rifai Sarraj and Patrick Fargier

The present study aimed at examining the effect of mental calculation and number comparison on motor performance measured as the movement time of a fast manual-pointing movement. Three experiments, involving a total number of 65 undergraduate subjects, examined the effect of mental subtraction (complex) and, respectively, of (a) mental addition (simple or complex), (b) mental multiplication (simple or complex), and (c) the comparison of dot sets and number comparison. Each number was written in Arabic. The movement times were analyzed by using a multilevel linear mixed-effect model. The results showed significant improvement of manual-pointing movement performance only after the complex calculations and after number comparison. Possible implication of attentional mechanisms specific to this arithmetical activity is further discussed.

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Geovani Messias da Silva and Maria Eduarda Crescencio Bezerra

External focus is a way to guide human movement based on outcome rather than execution, therefore all instructions are provided based on factors present in the environment. The aim of this review is to search information about the effects of external focus in the long jump task and to compare its outcomes with other learning methods. For the research, online database search engines such as PubMed, ScienceDirect, Embase, Cinahl, and Scopus were used from January 2010 to June 2020. About 41 articles were identified by searching the online databases, 12 were discarded because they were duplicates, 11 were excluded due to the content of the abstract, and finally, 5 were excluded after evaluating the content of the full text, leaving 13 articles to be included in this review. This review sought to summarize the findings in the literature on the use of external focus in the practice of long jump. The authors concluded that the external focus is a relevant approach and can be used as a tool for the learning process.

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Stephanie L. Barrett and Trent A. Petrie

Although researchers have examined eating disorders in female athletes, few such studies have been done with athletes who are retired, and even fewer have been quantitative. Thus, the authors empirically tested an established eating disorder theoretical model with 218 former NCAA Division-I female collegiate athletes who had been retired for 2–6 years. In retirement, participants completed measures of general sociocultural pressures related to body and appearance, thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, negative affect, and bulimic symptomatology. Through structural equation modeling, the authors examined the direct and indirect relationships among the latent variables while controlling for body mass index and years since retirement. The model fit the data well, supporting the hypothesized direct and indirect relationships among the variables and explaining 54% of the variance in bulimic symptomatology. Despite no longer being exposed to sport pressures that contribute to eating disorders, female athletes experience such symptoms long into retirement.