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Jason C. Laffer, Aaron J. Coutts and Job Fransen

Dynamic motor skills such as volleyball blocking rely on efficient perception–action coupling and are influenced by individual, environmental, and task constraints. However, limited research studies have assessed the effect of an individual constraint such as blocking skill on visual attention during an in-situ volleyball blocking task. Therefore, this study used a cross-sectional, observational design to investigate the gaze behavior of 18 male volleyball players (25.6 ± 4.9 years), of two different levels of blocking skill determined a priori according to success during an on-court blocking task. When compared to relatively unsuccessful players (RUS), the gaze of relatively successful players (RS) was observed to fixate more often (RUS: 0.7 ± 0.7 n, RS: 1.3 ± 0.3 n) and dwell for longer (Total; RUS: 12.2 ± 18.4%, RS: 48.0 ± 37.2%, Phase 4; RUS: 6.6 ± 8.8%, RS: 16.9 ± 12.4%) on the opposition spiker, demonstrating that important perceptual information about an opposing team’s attack lies within the behavior of the opposition spiker. More successful blockers were also observed to be taller (RUS: 181.8 ± 6.6 cm, RS: 192.6 ± 3.9 cm), longer in arm-span (RUS: 185.7 ± 5.6 cm, RS: 195.2 ± 5.6 cm), and heavier (RUS: 78.6 ± 11.4 kg, RS: 90.5 ± 8.5 kg). These results can consequently be used to develop a profile of the visual attention and physical attributes of successful blockers for use in developing talented players.

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Charity B. Breneman, Christopher E. Kline, Delia West, Xuemei Sui and Xuewen Wang

This study investigated the acute effect of exercise on sleep outcomes among healthy older women by comparing days with structured exercise versus days without structured exercise during 4 months of exercise training. Participants (n = 51) in this study had wrist-worn actigraphic sleep data available following at least 3 days with structured exercise and 3 days without structured exercise at mid-intervention and at the end of intervention. The exercise intervention was treadmill walking. Multilevel models were used to examine whether structured exercise impacted sleep outcomes during the corresponding night. Overall, 1,362 nights of data were included in the analyses. In unadjusted and adjusted models, bedtimes were significantly earlier on evenings following an acute bout of structured exercise than on evenings without structured exercise. No other sleep parameters differed between exercise and nonexercise days. Understanding the effects of exercise on sleep in this understudied population may help to improve their overall sleep quality.

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Lisa E. Bolger, Linda A. Bolger, Cian O’Neill, Edward Coughlan, Wesley O’Brien, Seán Lacey and Con Burns

This study examined the effectiveness of a physical activity (Year 1) and a multicomponent fundamental movement skill (FMS) (Year 2) intervention on primary school children’s FMS proficiency. Data were collected from 6- and 10-year-old cohorts from two intervention schools and age-matched groups from one control school, in south Ireland. In Year 1 (N = 187), intervention (n = 96) and control (n = 91) groups were children from senior infant (6-year-old cohort) and 4th class (10-year-old cohort). In Year 2 (N = 357), intervention (n = 195) and control (n = 162) groups were children from senior infant and 1st class (6-year-old cohort) and 4th and 5th classes (10-year-old cohort). FMS assessment was conducted across both academic years, using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2. Linear mixed models were used to investigate the effectiveness of each intervention, adjusting for age group. Following Year 1, the intervention group significantly improved locomotor proficiency (p < .05), with no changes in object-control or overall proficiency. No group-time interactions were found. Following Year 2, the intervention group significantly improved locomotor, object-control, and overall proficiency (p < .001). Group-time interaction effects were found for both subsets and overall FMS in favor of the intervention group (p < .001). FMS proficiency among primary school children was significantly greater following the multicomponent FMS intervention.

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Sarah E. Roth, Monique Gill, Alec M. Chan-Golston, Lindsay N. Rice, Catherine M. Crespi, Deborah Koniak-Griffin and Michael L. Prelip

Purpose: This study examines the effects of the middle school SPARK physical education (PE) curriculum on predisposing, enabling, and reinforcing factors for physical activity (PA) as well as self-reported PA in a predominantly low-income, Latinx student population in Los Angeles, CA. Methods: Data were collected from 3763 students of seventh and eighth grades at 2 time points at the 16 middle schools enrolled in the study. Hierarchical logistic regression models were used to assess intervention effects on PA attitudes, PE enjoyment, FitnessGram passing, daily PA, and muscle-strengthening PA, controlling for demographic variables. Results: Although there was no detectable intervention effect on increasing the number of students exercising 60 minutes per day, there was a negative intervention effect detected for muscle-strengthening exercises. A significant positive intervention effect was detected for both PE enjoyment and FitnessGram passing. Deeper analysis of these findings revealed that the positive effect on PE enjoyment occurred only among male students. Conclusion: The SPARK curriculum had mixed effects on students’ PA behavior as well as predisposing, enabling, and reinforcing factors for PA. Incorporating student perspectives into the evaluation of intervention efforts to promote PA can facilitate a better understanding of the ways in which these efforts influence PA behaviors and its determinants.

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Susan J. Leach, Joyce R. Maring and Ellen Costello

The aim of this study was to investigate whether a 6-week Divided-Attention Stepping Accuracy Task (DATSAT) intervention improved the primary outcome measure, maximal step length; other balance measures (Berg Balance scale and Timed Up and Go test); leg strength; endurance (6-min walk test); and functional tasks in 15 community-dwelling healthy older adults (x¯ age: 71.5 years, female: 46.7%) compared with 15 community-dwelling healthy older adults in a Bike and Strength (B&S) program (x¯ age: 73.8 years, female: 33.3%). Participants trained 3× per week, 30–60 min per session. Stepping-group differences were significant for all measures. B&S group improved in maximal step length (anterior and lateral), strength, and one functional task. Stepping group outperformed B&S group in Timed Up and Go and maximal step length posterior. B&S group outperformed stepping group in two strength measures. Exertion scores were lower for the stepping group. Overall, Divided-Attention Timed Stepping Accuracy Task training resulted in more within-group improvements and two between-group measures with less perceived effort and shorter intervention times.

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Marcus Colon, Andrew Hodgson, Eimear Donlon and James E.J. Murphy

Telomeres act as a mitotic clock and telomere-related senescence has been linked to age-related physiological decline. There is increasing evidence lifestyle factors can influence telomere length (TL). The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of competitive triathlon training on TL. Seven competitive male triathletes and seven recreationally active males participated in the study. Relative TL was measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Physiological parameters key to athletic performance such as maximal oxygen intake, lactate threshold, and running economy were also measured. Triathletes had longer telomeres than the recreationally active (1.257 ± 0.028 vs. 1.002 ± 0.014; p < .0001). Positive association was found between TL and maximal oxygen intake, lactate threshold, and running economy (R 2 = .677, .683, and .696, respectively). This study indicates that competitive triathlon training buffers against age-related telomere shortening, and there is a correlation between exercise behaviors, higher maximal oxygen intake, and TL.

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Judith Jiménez-Díaz, Karla Chaves-Castro and Walter Salazar

Background: To use the meta-analytic approach to assess the effectiveness of different types of movement programs on motor competence (MC) in participants of all ages. Methods: Studies were retrieved by searching 13 databases and included when criteria were met. Studies were selected, and data were extracted by 2 authors. Random effects models using the standardized mean difference effect size (ES) were used to pool results. Risk of bias, heterogeneity, and inconsistency were examined. Results: Thirty-six studies met the inclusion criteria. A total of 374 ESs were calculated and partitioned into 4 groups (motor intervention, free play, physical education classes, and control group). Statistically significant improvements in MC were observed for the motor intervention (ES = 1.50; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18 to 1.82; n = 36), as well as for free play (ES = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.09 to 0.57; n = 5), physical education classes (ES = 0.52; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.97; n = 15), and smaller statistically significant differences in MC were observed for the control groups (ES = 0.16; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.31; n = 6). Conclusions: All 4 groups analyzed improved MC in children, adolescents, and young adults. However, motor interventions were superior to all other groups for improving MC.

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Gislaine S. Kogure, Cristiana L. Miranda-Furtado, Daiana C.C. Pedroso, Victor B. Ribeiro, Matheus C. Eiras, Rafael C. Silva, Lisandra C. Caetano, Rui A. Ferriani, Rodrigo T. Calado and Rosana M. dos Reis

Background: Physical activity is prescribed as a component of primary management for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This nonrandomized, therapeutic, open, single-arm study investigated the effects of progressive resistance training (PRT) on obesity indices in women with PCOS, and the relationship between obesity indices and telomere content. Methods: A total of 45 women with PCOS and 52 with non-PCOS (controls), aged 18 to 37 years, with body mass indexes of 18 to 39.9 kg/m2, performed three 1-hour sessions of PRT per week, for 16 weeks. Before and after PRT, measures included anthropometric indices and regions of interest of fat mass distribution, quantified by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, metabolic and hormonal parameters, and telomere content. The general linear mixed models were used to determine the effects of PRT. Results: PRT did reduce the waist-to-height ratio, waist circumference, and the index of conicity among PCOS (P < .01). However, PRT did not influence regions of interest, body mass index, and WHR. After PRT, the telomere content was associated with regions of interest and anthropometric indices in whole group independent of PCOS (P < .05). Conclusion: Resistance exercise improves obesity indices in PCOS, independent of changes in body weight, and the relationship between telomeres and obesity parameters in PCOS remain to be fully clarified.

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Hellen C.G. Nabuco, Crisieli M. Tomeleri, Rodrigo R. Fernandes, Paulo Sugihara Junior, Edilaine F. Cavalcante, Danielle Venturini, Décio S. Barbosa, Analiza M. Silva, Luís B. Sardinha and Edilson S. Cyrino

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of protein intake beyond habitual intakes associated with resistance training on metabolic syndrome (MetS)-related parameters, isokinetic strength, and body composition in health older women. A total of 30 older women (68.8 ± 4.3 years) participated in this investigation and were assigned to receive 35 g of whey protein or placebo combined with resistance training, over 12-weeks, three times per week. Blood samples, blood pressure, dietary intake, strength, and body composition were assessed before and after the intervention period. Two-way analysis of variance for repeated measures was applied for comparisons. Both groups improved the skeletal muscle mass, muscular strength, waist circumference, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, glucose, resistance, reactance, and MetS Z-score risk. However, the improvements in skeletal muscle mass, waist circumference, and MetS Z-score risk were significantly greater in protein group when compared with control group. Moreover, protein group significantly decreased %body fat when compared with control group. Higher protein intake combined with resistance training promoted greater improvements in skeletal muscle mass, %body fat, waist circumference, and MetS Z-score risk in older women.

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Martyn Rothwell, Joseph Stone and Keith Davids

Social, cultural, and historical constraints can influence attitudes towards learning, developing, and performing in sport. A recent conceptualization of these environmental constraints in athlete development pathways is a form of life, which describes the values, beliefs, traditions, customs, and behaviors that contribute to an athlete’s development. Although a form of life can have a powerful influence on athlete development, research exploring this relationship is limited. In this article we explore the form of life in British rugby league football player development contexts to clarify how social, cultural, and historical constraints influence the development of rugby league players in the United Kingdom. Twenty-four coaches were interviewed through individual semi-structured interviews to collect the data. Findings show how forms of life in rugby league player development pathways are established and maintained by the complex interactions between the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem that shape and guide the development of players. We recommend that player development pathways in sport underpin practice with a theoretical framework of the learning process to protect athletes from social, cultural, and historical constraints that are not conducive to their development.