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Ina M. Tarkka, Pekka Hautasaari, Heidi Pesonen, Eini Niskanen, Mirva Rottensteiner, Jaakko Kaprio, Andrej M. Savić and Urho M. Kujala

Background: Physical activity (PA) is said to be beneficial to many bodily functions. However, the effects of PA in the brain are still inadequately known. The authors aimed to uncover possible brain modulation linked with PA. Here, they combine 4 of their studies with monozygotic twins, who were within-pair discordant in PA for a minimum of 1 year. Methods: The authors performed brain imaging, brain electrophysiology, and cardiovascular and body composition assessments, and collected questionnaire-based data. The present synopsis elucidates the differences associated with differing PA history in conditions without genetic variability. They present new structural and electrophysiological results. Participants, healthy, 45 male monozygotic twins (mean age 34.5 [1.5] y) differed in aerobic capacity and fat percentage (P < .001). Results: More active co-twins showed larger gray matter volumes in striatal, prefrontal, and hippocampal regions, and smaller gray matter volumes in the anterior cingulate area than less active co-twins. Functionally, visual and somatosensory automatic change detection processes differed between more and less active co-twins. Conclusions: In monozygotic twins, who differed in their PA history, differences were observed in identifiable anatomic brain locations involved with motor control and memory functions, as well as in electrophysiological measures detecting brain’s automatic processes. Better aerobic capacity may modify brain morphology and sensory function.

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Jorge Arede, António Paulo Ferreira, Oliver Gonzalo-Skok and Nuno Leite

Purpose: To determine the discriminators as variables to select the under-16 national-team players and to examine the influence of biological age on physical/technical parameters among young basketball players. Methods: Thirty-four under-15 male basketball players performed several anthropometrical (height, wingspan, body mass, and fingers length) and physical (jumping, sprinting, throwing, flexibility, change-of-direction speed, and aerobic fitness) tests during the under-15 male national-team training camp. Maturity offset, lower-limb asymmetry index, and power outputs for jumping and sprinting were also computed. In addition, game performance was taken into consideration using game-related statistics (assists, turnovers, steals, rebounds, blocks, and points) of 5 games of during the previous regional tournament (April 2016). Cluster analysis was used to analyze the between-maturation status (prepubertal, pubertal, and postpubertal) differences in physical parameters. Results: The postpubertals showed a significantly better performance in power outputs (jumping and sprinting), throwing abilities, and blocks, whereas prepubertal performed significantly better in aerobic fitness and assists. Receiver-operating-characteristic curve confirmed maturational status (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.804; P < .05) and training experience (AUC = 0.789; P < .05) as the most important attributes in predicting under-16 national-team selection. Players with more than 5.5 years of training experience and less than 1.4 y to the age at peak height velocity were most likely to be selected. Conclusion: Maturational status seems to be a key variable that increases the probability of selection for the Portuguese under-16 national team.

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Dawn C. Mackey, Alexander D. Perkins, Kaitlin Hong Tai, Joanie Sims-Gould and Heather A. McKay

We conducted Men on the Move, a 12-week randomized controlled feasibility trial of a scalable, choice-based, physical activity (PA) and active transportation intervention. Participants were community-dwelling men aged 60 years and older (n = 29 intervention [INT] and n = 29 waitlist control [CON]). Trained activity coaches delivered: (a) one-on-one participant consultations to develop personal action plans for PA and active transportation, (b) monthly group-based motivational meetings, (c) weekly telephone support, (d) complimentary recreation and transit passes, and (e) pedometers and diaries for self-monitoring. Men on the Move demonstrated high rates of recruitment, retention, and intervention adherence. INT chose a variety of group-based and individual PAs and destinations for their personal action plans. At 12 weeks, INT achieved more steps, moderate–vigorous PA, and energy expenditure than CON. INT was also more likely to take transit and meet national guideline levels of PA. At 24 weeks follow-up, INT benefits were sustained for moderate–vigorous PA and energy expenditure.

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Steriani Elavsky, Lenka Knapova, Adam Klocek and David Smahel

We provide a systematic review of interventions utilizing mobile technology to alter physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep among adults aged 50 years and older. A systematic search identified 52 relevant articles (randomized control trial [RCT], quasi-experimental, pre/post single-group design). Of 50 trials assessing physical activity, 17 out of 29 RCTs and 13 out of 21 trials assessed for pre/post changes only supported the effectiveness of mobile interventions to improve physical activity, and 9 studies (five out of 10 RCTs and all four pre/post studies) out of 14 reduced sedentary behavior. Only two of five interventions improved sleep (one out of two RCTs and one out of three pre/post studies). Text messaging was the most frequently used intervention (60% of all studies) but was usually used in combination with other components (79% of hybrid interventions included SMS, plus either web or app components). Although more high-quality RCTs are needed, there is evidence supporting the effectiveness of mHealth approaches in those aged 50 years and older.

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Henrikas Paulauskas, Rasa Kreivyte, Aaron T. Scanlan, Alexandre Moreira, Laimonas Siupsinskas and Daniele Conte

Purpose: To assess the weekly fluctuations in workload and differences in workload according to playing time in elite female basketball players. Methods: A total of 29 female basketball players (mean [SD] age 21 [5] y, stature 181 [7] cm, body mass 71 [7] kg, playing experience 12 [5] y) belonging to the 7 women’s basketball teams competing in the first-division Lithuanian Women’s Basketball League were recruited. Individualized training loads (TLs) and game loads (GLs) were assessed using the session rating of perceived exertion after each training session and game during the entire in-season phase (24 wk). Percentage changes in total weekly TL (weekly TL + GL), weekly TL, weekly GL, chronic workload, acute:chronic workload ratio, training monotony, and training strain were calculated. Mixed linear models were used to assess differences for each dependent variable, with playing time (low vs high) used as fixed factor and subject, week, and team as random factors. Results: The highest changes in total weekly TL, weekly TL, and acute:chronic workload ratio were evident in week 13 (47%, 120%, and 49%, respectively). Chronic workload showed weekly changes ≤10%, whereas monotony and training strain registered highest fluctuations in weeks 17 (34%) and 15 (59%), respectively. A statistically significant difference in GL was evident between players completing low and high playing times (P = .026, moderate), whereas no significant differences (P > .05) were found for all other dependent variables. Conclusions: Coaches of elite women’s basketball teams should monitor weekly changes in workload during the in-season phase to identify weeks that may predispose players to unwanted spikes and adjust player workload according to playing time.

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Ben T. Stephenson, Christof A. Leicht, Keith Tolfrey and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

Purpose: In able-bodied athletes, several hormonal, immunological, and psychological parameters are commonly assessed in response to intensified training due to their potential relationship to acute fatigue and training/nontraining stress. This has yet to be studied in Paralympic athletes. Methods: A total of 10 elite paratriathletes were studied for 5 wk around a 14-d overseas training camp whereby training load was 137% of precamp levels. Athletes provided 6 saliva samples (1 precamp, 4 during camp, and 1 postcamp) for cortisol, testosterone, and secretory immunoglobulin A; weekly psychological questionnaires (Profile of Mood State [POMS] and Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Athletes [RESTQ-Sport]); and daily resting heart rate and subjective wellness measures including sleep quality and quantity. Results: There was no significant change in salivary cortisol, testosterone, cortisol:testosterone ratio, or secretory immunoglobulin A during intensified training (P ≥ .090). Likewise, there was no meaningful change in resting heart rate or subjective wellness measures (P ≥ .079). Subjective sleep quality and quantity increased during intensified training (P ≤ .003). There was no significant effect on any POMS subscale other than lower anger (P = .049), whereas there was greater general recovery and lower sport and general stress from RESTQ-Sport (P ≤ .015). Conclusions: There was little to no change in parameters commonly associated with the fatigued state, which may relate to the training-camp setting minimizing external life stresses and the careful management of training loads from coaches. This is the first evidence of such responses in Paralympic athletes.

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Aaron T. Scanlan, Vincent J. Dalbo, Daniele Conte, Emilija Stojanović, Nenad Stojiljković, Ratko Stanković, Vladimir Antić and Zoran Milanović

Purpose: To examine the effect of caffeine supplementation on dribbling speed in elite female and male basketball players. Methods: A double-blind, counterbalanced, randomized, crossover design was used. Elite basketball players (N = 21; 10 female, 11 male; age 18.3 [3.3] y) completed placebo (3 mg·kg−1 of body mass of dextrose) and caffeine (3 mg·kg−1 of body mass) trials 1 wk apart during the in-season phase. During each trial, players completed 20-m linear sprints with and without dribbling a basketball. Performance times were recorded at 5-, 10-, and 20-m splits. Dribbling speed was measured using traditional (total performance time) and novel (dribble deficit) methods. Dribble deficit isolates the added time taken to complete a task when dribbling compared with a nondribbling version of the same task. Comparisons between placebo and caffeine conditions were conducted at group and individual levels. Results: Nonsignificant (P > .05), trivial to small (effect size = 0.04–0.42) differences in dribbling speed were observed between conditions. The majority (20 out of 21) of players were classified as nonresponders to caffeine, with 1 player identified as a negative responder using dribble-deficit measures. Conclusions: Results indicate that caffeine offers no ergogenic benefit to dribbling speed in elite basketball players. The negative response to caffeine in 1 player indicates that caffeine supplementation may be detrimental to dribbling speed in specific cases and emphasizes the need for individualized analyses in nutrition-based sport-science research.

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Karim Korchi, Frédéric Noé, Noëlle Bru and Thierry Paillard

Increasing somatosensory information from the foot by exercising barefoot can potentially optimize the effectiveness of physical exercise interventions on falls prevention in the older adults. This pilot study was then undertaken to explore the effects of increased somatosensory information from the foot by exercising barefoot on balance, gait, and plantar cutaneous sensitivity in institutionalized older adults involved in multimodal exercise intervention. Participants were assigned to three groups: a control group which did not perform any physical exercise and two groups in which they were involved in a multimodal exercise program performed barefoot or shod. Postural, gait, and plantar cutaneous sensitivity parameters were collected. The results showed that the exercise program produced larger effects on balance and plantar cutaneous sensitivity when exercises were performed barefoot, without any noticeable effect on gait. Hence, barefoot exercising could be a relevant means to optimize the fall-prevention exercise programs in institutionalized older adults.

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Daniela Rodrigues, Cristina Padez and Aristides M. Machado-Rodrigues

Background: Identifying parental perceived barriers might contribute to strategies to promote physical activity in children. This study aimed to observe parental perceived barriers for 6- to 10-year-old children’s participation in organized sports and understand to what extent the socioeconomic status, the place of residence, and children’s sex, age, and sport participation affect those perceived barriers. Methods: Data were collected from 834 parents of 6- to 10-year-old children living in the Portuguese Midlands, using a multiple-choice questionnaire. Parents reported the perceived barriers to children’s sport activities, such as time, health, transportation, costs, safety, facilities, weather, tiredness, and lack of interest. Children’s and sociodemographic characteristics were also collected. Results: Time and costs were the most reported barriers by parents. Barriers to access were mostly reported by parents of girls and younger children, parents of inactive children, and families living in an urban setting and in socioeconomic disadvantage. Perceived barriers differed according to both children’s and sociodemographic characteristics, highlighting the need to reduce costs and increase the variety of sports/facilities, particularly in families with girls, younger children, and those with lower incomes from more urbanized areas. Conclusions: The present findings should be considered in future planning and interventions to effectively promote physical activity in children.

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Diego G.D. Christofaro, Bruna C. Turi-Lynch, Kyle R. Lynch, William R. Tebar, Rômulo A. Fernandes, Fernanda G. Tebar, Gregore I. Mielke and Xuemei Sui

Background: This study investigated associations between different types of sedentary behavior (SB) and physical activity (PA) in parent and their child, including the moderating effects of parent and child sex. Methods: In total, 1231 adolescents, 1202 mothers, and 871 fathers were evaluated. The SB (TV viewing + computer + video game); different types of PA (leisure-time PA, occupational PA, and total PA); and the socioeconomic level were evaluated by questionnaire. The relationship between adolescents’ SB and PA with parental characteristics was estimated by linear regression. Results: The SB of male adolescents was correlated to the father’s SB (β = 0.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13–0.39) and mother’s SB (β = 0.18; 95% CI, 0.06–0.31). A similar relationship was observed between SB of female adolescents and the father’s SB (β = 0.31; 95% CI, 0.19–0.42) and mother’s SB (β = 0.29; 95% CI, 0.20–0.38]). The SB of girls was inversely related to mother’s occupational PA (β = −2.62; 95% CI, −3.66 to −0.53]). The PA of the boys and girls was correlated with their fathers and mothers PA. All the results were adjusted for age and parent’s socioeconomic level. Conclusions: SB and PA of parents were associated with SB and PA of their children, regardless of gender. Strategies for health promotion should consider the family environment to increase PA and reduce SB.