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Physical Activity and Mental Health: A Little Less Conversation, a Lot More Action

Brendon Stubbs, Ruimin Ma, Felipe Schuch, James Mugisha, Simon Rosenbaum, Joseph Firth, and Davy Vancampfort

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Pickleball Participation and the Health and Well-Being of Adults—A Scoping Review

Kim Stroesser, Adam Mulcaster, and David M. Andrews

Background: Pickleball has grown tremendously in recent years, yet little evidence exists regarding pickleball-related injuries. This scoping review extends current work on pickleball participation by identifying positive and negative health effects associated with the sport. We summarize how pickleball impacts the health and well-being of adult participants. Methods: Searches were conducted on MEDLINE, CINAHL, ProQuest Nursing, ERIC, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, Scopus, CBCA Complete, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Selected studies considered aspects of health and/or well-being of adult pickleball participants. Using the population/concept/context framework, participants were healthy, able-bodied adults 18 years of age or over, who had played pickleball at least once. The positive and negative outcomes of pickleball on participants’ health and well-being (concept) within the context of pickleball participation were examined. Full-text articles written in English since 2013 were included. Extracted data were tabulated, and a descriptive summary with thematic analysis was completed. Results: This scoping review comprised 27 articles that met the inclusion criteria. Pickleball is promising as an exercise intervention for all adults, and there is evidence of positive social and psychological effects, and health and fitness benefits to participating in pickleball by older adults. Conclusions: Although we are still in the early stages of studying pickleball, there have been some documented health benefits of using the sport as a physical exercise intervention for adults. More research is needed on the types, prevalence, and severity of pickleball injuries and the sport’s impact on younger players.

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Understanding the Relationship Between Attachment Orientation and Physical Activity Participation: An Exploratory Study

Jessica Hill, Pamela Meredith, Grace Forrester, Julia Shirley, and Sjaan R. Gomersall

Background: Physical inactivity is recognized as a global health challenge. Attachment theory may provide insight into individual physical activity (PA) patterns, informing the development of PA interventions to promote the maintenance of behavior change. This study investigated the associations between attachment orientation and why and how individuals engage in PA. Given the association between attachment and sensory processing, this study also investigated the link between sensory processing and PA participation. Methods: Participants (N = 141) completed an online questionnaire that included the Modified Experiences of Close Relationships Scale and the Highly Sensitive Person Scale. The relationship between attachment orientation and sensory processing patterns, and preference for PA participation were analyzed using 2-sided independent t tests. Results: Attachment avoidance, attachment anxiety, and sensory sensitivity were significantly related to participants’ preference for PA participation in theoretically consistent ways. Avoidantly attached individuals were less likely to participate in PA as a form of social interaction (mean = 8.57, SD = 2.87, P = .005, d = 0.48). Anxiously attached individuals were more likely to participate in PA to support weight management (mean = 37.02, SD = 11.54, P = .01, d = −0.46) or if recommended by a health professional (mean = 43.55, SD = 12.45, P = .039, d = −0.88). Sensory sensitive individuals were more likely to participate in PA alone (mean = 124.11, SD = 19.23, P = .005, d = −0.510), and more likely to prefer light-intensity forms of PA (mean = 133.29, SD = 12.67, F 3,123 = 5.49, P = .001). Conclusions: Findings highlight the potential value of considering an individual’s attachment orientation and sensory processing patterns in the development of PA interventions. This may help to address the challenges of PA participation, by individually tailoring interventions to participants.

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Physical Fitness as a Predictor of Disability Retirement: A 9-Year Register Linked Follow-Up Study

Markus Kuusela, Valtteri Pohjola, Katariina Sarttila, Matti Munukka, Riikka Holopainen, Mikko Laaksonen, Annamari Lundqvist, and Jouni Lahti

Background: To prospectively examine the association between physical fitness and risk of disability retirement in a large population-based cohort. Methods: This study utilized data from Health 2011 survey Physical Activity subsample (n = 4898), combined with information on disability retirement derived from 2 national registers. In total, 2455 individuals aged 18–74 years underwent the physical fitness test protocol concerning measures of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, and balance. The outcome variable was disability retirement, during the follow-up period of 9 years. After excluding those not at risk of disability retirement (ie, age ≥63 y) or who had already been granted disability pension, and those who had not completed the fitness protocol, the analytical sample included 1381 participants. Data were analyzed using Cox regression model with SPSS (version 29). Results: During the 9-year follow-up period, 61 individuals (4.4%) transitioned to a disability retirement. Cox regression analysis showed an association between the various physical fitness subdomains and the risk of disability retirement. In model 1, all fitness tests were associated with the risk of disability retirement, except the one-leg stand test with hazard ratios ranging from 1.69 (95% CI, 0.86–3.34) to 5.75 (95% CI, 1.84–17.90). Further adjustment for sociodemographic, health behavior, and health-related covariates attenuated the associations and statistical significance was lost, except for the vertical jump test (hazard ratio = 4.33; 95% CI, 1.32–14.10) and 6-minute walk test (hazard ratio = 3.81; 95% CI, 1.35–10.70). Conclusion: These findings highlight the importance of physical fitness for preventing work disability.

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Volume 21 (2024): Issue 7 (Jul 2024)

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What’s Your Poison? Is Sitting Always Health Hindering and Moving Always Health Promoting?

Leon Straker, Charlotte Lund Rasmussen, Nidhi Gupta, and Andreas Holtermann

The clear public messaging from international health authorities is that individuals should “sit less and move more.” While it is acknowledged that this guidance needs to be tailored to the age of people and also to their health, and abilities, the guidance is not tailored to their current level of physical behaviors. This opinion piece aims to highlight that although people with excessive sitting and insufficient moderate-to-vigorous physical activity should sit more and move less, for other people their health would be promoted by sitting more and moving less. Thus, physical behaviors are not always “poison” or “medicine,” but rather the health impact of changes in physical behaviors depends on people’s initial levels. Policy, research, and practice implications of this realization are presented. Only tailoring messaging to age and health status could be far from optimal for people with very different current levels of physical behaviors. Policy, research, and practice will be enhanced when the potential for physical behaviors to be either health hindering or health promoting is adequately considered.

Free access

How Can We Equitably Scale-Up Physical Activity Interventions to Ensure Everyone Has Opportunities to Thrive?

Gabriella M. McLoughlin and Jo Salmon

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The Secret Sauce? Taking the Mystery Out of Scaling-Up School-Based Physical Activity Interventions

Heather A. McKay, Sarah G. Kennedy, Heather M. Macdonald, Patti-Jean Naylor, and David R. Lubans

Over the last 4 decades, physical activity researchers have invested heavily in determining “what works” to promote healthy behaviors in schools. Single and multicomponent school-based interventions that target physical education, active transportation, and/or classroom activity breaks effectively increased physical activity among children and youth. Yet, few of these interventions are ever scaled-up and implemented under real-world conditions and in diverse populations. To achieve population-level health benefits, there is a need to design school-based health-promoting interventions for scalability and to consider key aspects of the scale-up process. In this opinion piece, we aim to identify challenges and advance knowledge and action toward scaling-up school-based physical activity interventions. We highlight the key roles of planning for scale-up at the outset, scale-up pathways, trust among partners and program support, program adaptation, evaluation of scale-up, and barriers and facilitators to scaling-up. We draw upon our experience scaling-up effective school-based interventions and provide a solid foundation from which others can work toward bridging the implementation-to-scale-up gap.

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How Does the University Environment Relate to Student’s Physical Activity Patterns in Ireland

Joey Murphy, Ciaran MacDonncha, Marie H. Murphy, Niamh Murphy, and Catherine B. Woods

Background: Identifying factors related to physical activity in university students can aid the development of health promotion interventions, but there is limited research regarding the influence of university environments. This study examined the relationship between level of provision for university environments that aim to promote physical activity and self-reported physical activity patterns of students. Methods: An environmental audit tool was completed by universities (n = 28) on the island of Ireland to acquire information about physical activity opportunities, resources, and supports offered. Students (N = 6951; 50.7% male; 21.51 [5.55] y) completed an online survey, providing responses about their active transport and recreational physical activity behaviors. Binary logistic regressions were used to examine the associations between environmental factors that support physical activity and clustered physical activity patterns, while controlling for gender, age, and university size. Results: Universities with a high provision for organizational structures and internal partnerships, indoor facilities, and sport clubs increase the odds of their students having more active physical activity patterns. Increased provision of investment and personnel was seen to have a mixed relationship with students’ physical activity engagement, highlighting the need to understand where resources are needed and not just increase them. Conclusions: It is important for universities to have adequate organizational structures with internal partnerships to understand how resources can be maximized to support physical activity engagement across the whole student population. University campuses hold the potential for increasing student engagement in physical activity, and these findings can help inform campus-wide initiatives that foster active student populations for improving overall long-term health.

Open access

Measuring Active Transportation on National Health Surveys in Canada From 1994 to 2020

Parya Borhani, Kathryn L. Walker, Gregory P. Butler, Valérie Lavergne, Gisèle Contreras, and Stephanie A. Prince

Background: Active transportation (AT), described as self-powered modes of travel (eg, walking and cycling), is an important source of health-promoting physical activity. While AT behaviors have been measured on national health surveys in Canada for over 2 decades, historic prevalence has not been previously reported. We aimed to document the measures of AT on Canada’s various national health surveys, examine AT over time, and interpret them within the context of evolving methods of assessment. Methods: We compiled and summarized the questions used to measure AT among Canadians on 4 national health surveys: National Population Health Survey (1994–1998), Canadian Community Health Survey (2000–2020), Canadian Health Measures Survey (2007–2019), and the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study (2010–2018). Among youth and adults (12+ y), we summarized over time: (1) the prevalence of AT participation and (2) time spent in AT (in hours per week) among those who report any AT participation. Where possible, we reported separate estimates of walking and cycling and produced an aggregate estimate of total AT. We stratified results by age group and sex. Results: Changes in AT survey questions over time and between surveys limit the interpretation and comparability of temporal trends. Nevertheless, a consistently higher proportion of females report walking, while a higher proportion of males report cycling. Irrespective of mode, males report spending more total time in AT. Participation in AT tends to decrease with age, with youth reporting the highest rates of AT and young adults often spending the most time in AT. Conclusions: Monitoring trends in AT can help assess patterns of behavior and identify whether promotion strategies are needed or whether population interventions are effective. Our evaluation of AT over time is limited by questions surveyed; however, consistent differences in AT by age and sex are evident over time. Moving forward, ensuring consistency of AT measurement over time is essential to monitoring this important behavior.