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Vincent Shieh, Ashwini Sansare, Minal Jain, Thomas Bulea, Martina Mancini and Cris Zampieri

Aims: Clinical evaluation of balance has relied on forceplate systems as the gold standard for postural sway measures. Recently, systems based on wireless inertial sensors have been explored, mostly in the adult population, as an alternative given their practicality and lower cost. Our goal was to validate body-worn sensors against forceplate balance measures in typically developing children during tests of quiet stance. Methods: 18 participants (8 males) 7 to 17 years old performed a quiet stance test standing on a forceplate while wearing 3 inertial sensors. Three 30-second trials were performed under 4 conditions: firm surface with eyes open and closed, and foam surface with eyes open and closed. Sway area, path length, and sway velocity were calculated. Results: We found 20 significant and 8 non-significant correlations. Variables found to be significant were represented across all conditions, except for the foam eyes closed condition. Conclusions: These results support the validity of wearable sensors in measuring postural sway in children. Inertial sensors may represent a viable alternative to the gold standard forceplate to test static balance in children.

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Christina Zong-Hao Ma, Wing-Kai Lam, Bao-Chi Chang and Winson Chiu-Chun Lee

This systematic review investigated the effects of orthopedic, vibrating, and textured insoles on the postural balance of community-dwelling older adults. Articles published in English from 1999 to 2019 investigating the effects of (a) orthopedic, (b) vibrating, and (c) textured insoles on static and dynamic balance in community-dwelling older adults were considered. Twenty-four trials with a total of 634 older adults were identified. The information gathered generally supported the balance-improving effects of orthopedic, vibrating, and textured insoles in both static and dynamic conditions among community-dwelling older adults. Further examination found that rigidity, texture patterns, vibration thresholds, and components like arch supports and heel cups are important factors in determining whether insoles can improve balance. This review highlights the potential of insoles for improving the static and dynamic balance of community-dwelling older adults. Good knowledge in insole designs and an understanding of medical conditions of older adults are required when attempts are made to improve postural balance using insoles.

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Dereck L. Salisbury and Fang Yu

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among peak exercise parameters on 6-min walk test, shuttle walk test, and laboratory-based cardiopulmonary exercise testing in persons with Alzheimer’s dementia. This study is a cross-sectional analysis of the baseline data of 90 participants (age 77.1 [6.6] years, 43% female) from the FIT-AD trial. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing produced significantly higher peak heart rate (118.6 [17.5] vs. 106 [22.8] vs. 106 [18.8] beats/min), rating of perceived exertion (16 [2.1] vs. 12 [2.3] vs. 11 [2.1]), and systolic blood pressure (182 [23.7] vs. 156 [18.9] vs. 150 [16.9] mmHg) compared with the shuttle walk test and 6-min walk test, respectively. Peak walking distance on shuttle walk test (241.3 [127.3] m) and 6-min walk test (365.0 [107.9] m) significantly correlated with peak oxygen consumption (17.1 [4.3] ml·kg−1·min−1) on cardiopulmonary exercise testing (r = .449, p ≤ .001 and r = .435, p ≤ .001), respectively, which is considerably lower than what is seen in older adults and persons with cardiopulmonary diseases.

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Mariane F.B. Bacelar, Keith R. Lohse and Matthew W. Miller

It is unknown whether rewards improve the capability to select appropriate targets for one’s movement (action selection) and/or the movement itself (action execution). Thus, we devised an experimental task wherein participants categorized a complex visual stimulus to determine toward which one of two targets to execute an action (putt a golf ball) on each trial under one of three conditions: reward, punishment, or neutral. After practicing the task under their assigned condition, participants performed an immediate, 24-hr, and 7-day post-test. Results revealed participants putted to the correct target more frequently during the post-tests than the first practice block, and putted more accurately during the post-tests than a pretest. However, the condition in which participants practiced did not moderate post-test performance (for either task component). Additionally, motivation scores explained action selection and action execution for the immediate post-test performance but not long-term retention, suggesting that motivation might be related to immediate performance, but not long-term learning. Further, the present task may be useful for researchers studying action selection and execution, since the task yielded learning effects that could be moderated by factors of interest.

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Miguel A. Sanchez-Lastra, Antonio J. Molina, Vicente Martin, Tania Fernández-Villa, Jose M. Cancela and Carlos Ayan

This study aimed to determine if stretching exercise can be implemented as an adequate control therapy in exercise randomized controlled trials aimed at improving physical fitness and physical function in older adults. Five electronic databases were systematically searched for randomized controlled trials focused in the physical fitness and function of older adults using stretching exercise as control group. The methodological quality was assessed and a meta-analysis was carried out. Sixteen studies were included, 13 in the meta-analysis. The methodological quality ranged from fair to good. The meta-analysis only in the controls resulted in significant improvements in different functional parameters related to walking, balance, knee flexion strength, or global physical function. The interventions, compared with the controls, significantly improved balance and knee strength parameters. Stretching exercise as control therapy in older people can lead to beneficial effects and could influence the interpretation of the effect size in the intervention groups.

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Kirsten Ward, Anne Pousette and Chelsea A. Pelletier

Although the benefits of maintaining a physical activity regime for older adults are well known, it is unclear how programs and facilities can best support long-term participation. The purpose of this study is to determine the facilitating factors of physical activity maintenance in older adults at individual, program, and community levels. Nine semistructured interviews were conducted with individuals aged 60 years and older and long-term participants (>6 months) in community-based group exercise at a clinical wellness facility in northern British Columbia, Canada. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed via inductive thematic analysis. Themes identified as facilitators of physical activity included (a) social connections, (b) individual contextual factors, and (c) healthy aging. Older adults are more likely to maintain physical activity when environments foster healthy aging and provide opportunity for social engagement.

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Dori E. Rosenberg, Melissa L. Anderson, Anne Renz, Theresa E. Matson, Amy K. Lee, Mikael Anne Greenwood-Hickman, David E. Arterburn, Paul A. Gardiner, Jacqueline Kerr and Jennifer B. McClure

Background: The authors tested the efficacy of the “I-STAND” intervention for reducing sitting time, a novel and potentially health-promoting approach, in older adults with obesity. Methods: The authors recruited 60 people (mean age = 68 ± 4.9 years, 68% female, 86% White; mean body mass index = 35.4). The participants were randomized to receive the I-STAND sitting reduction intervention (n = 29) or healthy living control group (n = 31) for 12 weeks. At baseline and at 12 weeks, the participants wore activPAL devices to assess sitting time (primary outcome). Secondary outcomes included fasting glucose, blood pressure, and weight. Linear regression models assessed between-group differences in the outcomes. Results: The I-STAND participants significantly reduced their sitting time compared with the controls (–58 min per day; 95% confidence interval [–100.3, –15.6]; p = .007). There were no statistically significant changes in the secondary outcomes. Conclusion: I-STAND was efficacious in reducing sitting time, but not in changing health outcomes in older adults with obesity.

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Kwok W. Ng, Gorden Sudeck, Adilson Marques, Alberto Borraccino, Zuzana Boberova, Jana Vasickova, Riki Tesler, Sami Kokko and Oddrun Samdal

Background: Regular physical activity and doing well in school are important for growing adolescents. In this study, the associations between physical activity and perceived school performance (PSP) are examined together. Methods: Young adolescents from 42 countries (n = 193,949) in Europe and Canada were examined for associations between self-reported moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and PSP. Multinominal analyses were conducted with 0 to 2 days of MVPA and below average PSP as reference categories. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were reported for pooled data and individual countries after controlling for family affluence scale. Results: Girls had better PSP than boys, yet more boys participated in daily MVPA than girls. The associations between PSP and MVPA were inverted U shaped. The strongest association for very good PSP was among young adolescents who reported 5 to 6 days MVPA (odds ratios = 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 2.1–2.4) after controlling for family affluence scale. Conclusions: Young adolescents with average or better PSP took part in at least 3 days of MVPA in a week, suggesting that participating in some MVPA was positively associated with PSP. More days of MVPA in a week, especially for young adolescents with below average PSP, would be beneficial for health and school performance.

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Kim Gammage, Lori Dithurbide, Alison Ede, Karl Erickson, Blair Evans, Larkin Lamarche, Sean Locke, Eric Martin, Desi McEwan and Kathleen Wilson

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Nicholas L. Lerma, Chi C. Cho, Ann M. Swartz, Hotaka Maeda, Young Cho and Scott J. Strath

The purpose of this study was to explore the feasibility and acceptability of a seated pedaling device to reduce sedentary behavior (SB) in the homes of older adults. Methods: Each participant (N = 20) was outfitted with an activity monitor and seated pedaling device in the home for 7 days and randomly assigned to one of four light-intensity pedaling groups (15, 30, 45, and 60 min/day). Results: There was 100% adherence in all groups and significant group differences in the minutes pedaled per day (p < .001), with no significant difference in the total pedaling days completed (p = .241). The 15-, 30-, 45-, and 60-min groups experienced a 4.0%, 5.4%, 10.6%, and 11.3% reduction in SB on the days pedaled, respectively. Conclusion: Clinically relevant reductions in SB time were achievable in this 1-week trial. Long-term adherence and the impact of replacing SB with seated light activities on geriatric-relevant health outcomes should be investigated.