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Sarah A. Roelker, Elena J. Caruthers, Rachel K. Hall, Nicholas C. Pelz, Ajit M.W. Chaudhari and Robert A. Siston

Two optimization techniques, static optimization (SO) and computed muscle control (CMC), are often used in OpenSim to estimate the muscle activations and forces responsible for movement. Although differences between SO and CMC muscle function have been reported, the accuracy of each technique and the combined effect of optimization and model choice on simulated muscle function is unclear. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively compare the SO and CMC estimates of muscle activations and forces during gait with the experimental data in the Gait2392 and Full Body Running models. In OpenSim (version 3.1), muscle function during gait was estimated using SO and CMC in 6 subjects in each model and validated against experimental muscle activations and joint torques. Experimental and simulated activation agreement was sensitive to optimization technique for the soleus and tibialis anterior. Knee extension torque error was greater with CMC than SO. Muscle forces, activations, and co-contraction indices tended to be higher with CMC and more sensitive to model choice. CMC’s inclusion of passive muscle forces, muscle activation-contraction dynamics, and a proportional-derivative controller to track kinematics contributes to these differences. Model and optimization technique choices should be validated using experimental activations collected simultaneously with the data used to generate the simulation.

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Thorben Hülsdünker, Martin Ostermann and Andreas Mierau

Although neural visual processes play a crucial role in sport, experiments have been restricted to laboratory conditions lacking ecological validity. Therefore, this study examined the feasibility of measuring visual evoked potentials in a sport-specific visuomotor task. A total of 18 international elite young table tennis athletes (mean age 12.5 years) performed a computer-based and a sport-specific visuomotor reaction task in response to radial motion-onset stimuli on a computer screen and table tennis balls played by a ball machine, respectively. A 64-channel electroencephalography system identified the N2 and N2-r motion-onset visual evoked potentials in the motion-sensitive midtemporal visual area. Visual evoked potential amplitudes were highly correlated between conditions (N2 r = .72, N2-r r = .74) although significantly lower in the sport-specific task than in the lab-based task (N2 p < .001, N2-r p < .001). The results suggest that sport-specific visual stimulation is feasible to evoke visual potentials. This emphasizes the investigation of visual processes under more ecologically valid conditions in sport and exercise science.

Open access

Sathvik Namburar, William Checkley, Oscar Flores, Karina M. Romero, Katherine Tomaino Fraser, Nadia N. Hansel, Suzanne L. Pollard and GASP Study Investigators

Background: The authors sought to examine physical activity patterns among children with and without asthma in 2 peri-urban communities in Lima, Peru, to identify socioeconomic and demographic risk factors for physical inactivity and examine the relationship between asthma and physical activity. Methods: The authors measured mean steps per day in 114 children (49 with asthma and 65 without) using pedometers worn over a 1-week period. They also used the 3-day physical activity recall to determine the most common activities carried out by children. Results: The authors found that 84.2% of the children did not meet the daily international physical activity recommendations. Girls took significantly fewer mean steps per day as compared with boys (2258 fewer steps, 95% confidence interval, 1042–3474), but no other factors, including asthma status, showed significant differences in the mean daily steps. Mean daily steps were positively associated with higher socioeconomic status among girls, and current asthma had a larger inverse effect on daily steps in boys when compared with girls. Conclusion: Physical activity levels were below recommended guidelines in all children. There is a need for policy and neighborhood-level interventions to address low physical activity levels among Peruvian youth. Special focus should be given to increasing the physical activity levels in girls.

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Sebastian Kaufmann, Olaf Hoos, Timo Kuehl, Thomas Tietz, Dominik Reim, Kai Fehske, Richard Latzel and Ralph Beneke

Purpose: To analyze the energetic profiles of the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Tests 1 and 2 (YYIR1 and YYIR2). Methods: Intermittent running distance (IR1D and IR2D), time to exhaustion (IR1T and IR2T), and total recovery time between shuttles (IR1R and IR2R) were measured in 10 well-trained male athletes (age 24.4 [2.0] y, height 182 [1] cm, weight 75.8 [7.9] kg). Respiratory gases and blood lactate (BLC) were obtained preexercise, during exercise, and until 15 min postexercise. Metabolic energy, average metabolic power , and energy share (percentage of aerobic [W AER], anaerobic lactic [W BLC], and anaerobic alactic energy system [W PCr]) were calculated using the PCr-La-O2 method. Results: Peak oxygen consumption was possibly higher in YYIR2 (60.3 [5.1] mL·kg−1·min−1) than in YYIR1 (P = .116, 57.7 [4.5] mL·kg−1·min−1, d = −0.58). IR1D, IR1T, and IR1R were very likely higher than IR2D, IR2T, and IR2R, respectively (P < .001, 1876 [391] vs 672 [132] m, d = −2.83; P < .001, 916 [175] vs 304 [57] s, d = −3.03; and P < .001, 460 [100] vs 150 [40] s, d = −2.83). Metabolic energy was most likely lower in YYIR2 than in YYIR1 (P < .001, 493.5 [118.1] vs 984.8 [171.7] kJ, d = 3.24). Average metabolic power was most likely higher in YYIR2 than in YYIR1 (P < .001, 21.5 [1.7] vs 14.5 [2.2] W·kg−1, d = 3.54). When considering aerobic phosphocreatine restoration during breaks between shuttles, W AER (P = .693, 49% [10%] vs 48% [5%], d = −0.16) was similar, W PCr (P = .165, 47% [11%] vs 42% [6%], d = −0.54) possibly higher, and W BLC (P < .001, 4% [1%] vs 10% [3%], d = 1.95) almost certainly lower in YYIR1 than in YYIR2. Conclusions: W AER and W PCr are predominant in YYIR1 and YYIR2 with almost identical W AER. Higher IR1D and IR1T in YYIR1 result in higher metabolic energy but lower average metabolic power and slightly lower peak oxygen consumption. Higher IR1R allows for higher reliance on W PCr in YYIR1, while YYIR2 requires a higher fraction of W BLC.

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Stephen Harvey and Jeffrey P. Carpenter

Purpose: This descriptive study investigates the genesis and change in physical educators’ social media use for professional development and learning. Method: Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 48 physical educators who had actively used various social media professionally for an extended period of time. The data were analyzed inductively and aligned to the basic psychological needs defined by self-determination theory: relatedness, autonomy, and competence. Results: Building relationships with a trusted network of people and opportunities to express their autonomy were important drivers in the participants’ genesis and continued use of social media. Developing competence at both the start and throughout their social media journey was also critical. Discussion/Conclusions: The findings provide a starting point for in-depth research on the motivational characteristics underpinning physical educators’ reasons for starting and continuing to use social media for professional development and learning, and how these might change over time based on different psychological needs.

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Nuria Romero-Parra, Victor Manuel Alfaro-Magallanes, Beatriz Rael, Rocío Cupeiro, Miguel A. Rojo-Tirado, Pedro J. Benito, Ana B. Peinado and on behalf of the IronFEMME Study Group

Context: The indirect markers of muscle damage have been previously studied in females. However, inconclusive results have been found, possibly explained by the heterogeneity regarding monitoring and verification of menstrual-cycle phase. Purpose: To determine whether the fluctuations in sex hormones during the menstrual cycle influence muscle damage. Methods: A total of 19 well-trained eumenorrheic women (age 28.6 [5.9] y; height 163.4 [6.1] cm; weight 59.6 [5.8] kg body mass) performed an eccentric-based resistance protocol consisting of 10 × 10 back squats at 60% of their 1-repetition maximum on the early follicular phase (EFP), late follicular phase, and midluteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Range of motion, muscle soreness, countermovement jump, and limb circumferences were evaluated prior to 24 and 48 hours postexercise. Perceived exertion was evaluated after each set. Results: Differences in sex hormones indicated that tests were adequately performed in the different menstrual-cycle phases. Prior to exercise, muscle soreness was higher in the EFP (4.7 [7.7]) than in the late follicular phase (1.1 [3.2]; P = .045). No other variables showed significant differences between phases. Time-point differences (baseline, 24, and 48 h) were observed in knee range of motion (P = .02), muscle soreness, countermovement jump, and between sets for perceived exertion (P < .001). Conclusion: Although the protocol elicited muscle damage, hormonal fluctuations over the menstrual cycle did not seem to affect indirect markers of muscle damage, except for perceived muscle soreness. Muscle soreness was perceived to be more severe before exercise performed in EFP, when estrogen concentrations are relatively low. This may impair women’s predisposition to perform strenuous exercise during EFP.

Open access

Robert J. Gregor

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Prasanna Sritharan, Luke G. Perraton, Mario A. Munoz, Peter Pivonka and Adam L. Bryant

This study compared lower-limb muscle function, defined as the contributions of muscles to center-of-mass support and braking, during a single-leg hopping task in anterior cruciate ligament-reconstructed (ACLR) individuals and uninjured controls. In total, 65 ACLR individuals and 32 controls underwent a standardized anticipated single-leg forward hop. Kinematics and ground reaction force data were input into musculoskeletal models to calculate muscle forces and to quantify muscle function by decomposing the vertical (support) and fore-aft (braking) ground reaction force components into contributions by individual lower-limb muscles. Four major muscles, the vasti, soleus, gluteus medius, and gluteus maximus, were primarily involved in support and braking in both ACLR and uninjured groups. However, although the ACLR group demonstrated lower peak forces for these muscles (all Ps < .001, except gluteus maximus, P = .767), magnitude differences in these muscles’ contributions to support and braking were not significant. ACLR individuals demonstrated higher erector spinae (P = .012) and hamstrings forces (P = .085) to maintain a straighter, stiffer landing posture with more forward lumbar flexion. This altered landing posture may have enabled the ACLR group to achieve similar muscle function to controls, despite muscle force deficits. Our findings may benefit rehabilitation and the development of interventions to enable faster and safer return to sport.

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Alison Schinkel-Ivy, Vicki Komisar and Carolyn A. Duncan

Investigating balance reactions following continuous, multidirectional, support surface perturbations is essential for improving our understanding of balance control in moving environments. Segmental motions are often incorporated into rapid balance reactions following external perturbations to balance, although the effects of these motions during complex, continuous perturbations have not been assessed. This study aimed to quantify the contributions of body segments (ie, trunk, head, upper extremity, and lower extremity) to the control of center-of-mass (COM) movement during continuous, multidirectional, support surface perturbations. Three-dimensional, whole-body kinematics were captured while 10 participants experienced 5 minutes of perturbations. Anteroposterior, mediolateral, and vertical COM position and velocity were calculated using a full-body model and 7 models with reduced numbers of segments, which were compared with the full-body model. With removal of body segments, errors relative to the full-body model increased, while relationship strength decreased. The inclusion of body segments appeared to affect COM measures, particularly COM velocity. Findings suggest that the body segments may provide a means of improving the control of COM motion, primarily its velocity, during continuous, multidirectional perturbations, and constitute a step toward improving our understanding of how the limbs contribute to balance control in moving environments.

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Mhairi J. MacDonald, Samantha G. Fawkner and Ailsa G. Niven

Background: In order to promote walking, researchers have sought to identify the required step rate to maintain a health-enhancing walking intensity However, there is limited evidence regarding the stepping rate required to promote moderate-intensity walking in adolescent girls. Purpose: To identify the step rate equivalent to moderate-intensity physical activity (MPA) in adolescent girls and to explore the influence that different anthropometric measures may have on the step rate equating to MPA in this population. Methods: A total of 56 adolescent girls (mean age = 13.8[0.7] y) were recruited to the study. Anthropometric variables and resting metabolic rate were assessed, followed by 3 overground walking trials on a flat surface at approximately 2, 3, and 4 mph, each lasting a minimum of 4 minutes. Oxygen uptake was assessed using a portable gas analyzer and subsequently converted into metabolic equivalents (METs). Step count was assessed by real-time direct observation hand tally. Results: Employing the linear regression between step rate and METs (r 2 = .20, standard error of estimates = 0.003) suggests that 120 steps per minute was representative of an MPA (3 METs) equating to 7200 steps in 60 minutes. Multiple regression and mixed-model regression confirmed weight-related variables and maturity were significant predictors of METs (P < .01). Conclusion: The results suggest that, at population level, a step rate of 120 steps per minute may be advocated to achieve MPA in adolescent girls; although, due to the small sample size used, caution should be applied. At an individual level, other factors, such as age and weight, should be considered.