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Dog Walking Is Associated With a Favorable Risk Profile Independent of a Moderate to High Volume of Physical Activity

Cindy Lentino, Amanda J. Visek, Karen McDonnell, and Loretta DiPietro

Background:

An innovative strategy for helping people achieve recommended levels of daily physical activity is dog walking. We assessed differences in physical activity and risk indicators between dog owners who 1) walk their dog (n = 399) and 2) do not walk their dog (n = 137) and compared them with adults who do not own dogs (n = 380).

Methods:

Participants (39 ± 13 years) were recruited online and completed an electronic questionnaire. Healthy People 2010 risk indicators included physical activity, overweight status, tobacco use, nutrition behaviors, chronic conditions, depressive symptoms, and social support.

Results:

Compared with dog walkers, those who did not own or walk their dog reported less physical activity (MET-min·week−1) and a higher body mass index (P < .01). Moreover, after adjusting for age and moderate to high physical activity, those who did not own dogs had significantly greater odds of self-reported diabetes [OR = 2.53; 95%CI (1.17−5.48)], hypertension [OR = 1.71; 95%CI (1.03−2.83)], hypercholesterolemia [OR = 1.72; 95%CI (1.06−2.81)], and depression [OR = 1.49; 95%CI (1.09−2.05)] compared with participants who regularly walked their dogs.

Conclusions:

Because of the health benefits associated with dog walking, this activity should be encouraged within communities as a method of promoting and sustaining a healthy lifestyle.

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Factors Predicting Adherence to 9 Months of Supervised Exercise in Healthy Older Women

Amanda J. Visek, Erin A. Olson, and Loretta DiPietro

Background:

Little is known about factors affecting adherence to highly-structured and supervised exercise programs in older people.

Methods:

Healthy, inactive older (≥65 y) women (N = 30) were randomized into a 1) higher- (ATH—80% VO2peak); 2) moderate- (ATM—65% VO2peak) intensity aerobic; or 3) lower-intensity resistance (RTL; 50% VO2peak) group. All 3 groups exercised 4 days·week-1 for an average of 45 to 70 min·session-1 over 9 months. Adherence (%) was defined as the proportion of prescribed sessions (N = 144) in which subjects achieved their 1) prescribed heart rate (intensity adherence) and 2) their prescribed duration (duration adherence). Primary determinants of adherence included prescribed intensity (METs) and prescribed duration (min), as well as age, body composition, VO2peak, and exercise self-efficacy score.

Results:

Intensity adherence was nearly 100% for all 3 groups, while duration adherence was 95%, 91%, and 85% in the RTL, ATH, and ATM groups, respectively. Prescribed exercise duration was the strongest determinant of duration adherence (r = −0.72; P < .0001), independent of prescribed METs, age, VO2peak, and body composition.

Conclusions:

Due to competing lifestyle demands, exercise intensity may be less of a factor in adherence among older women than is exercise duration.

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The Fun Integration Theory: Toward Sustaining Children and Adolescents Sport Participation

Amanda J. Visek, Sara M. Achrati, Heather M. Mannix, Karen McDonnell, Brandonn S. Harris, and Loretta DiPietro

Background:

Children cite “fun” as the primary reason for participation in organized sport and its absence as the number-one reason for youth sport attrition. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop a theoretical framework of fun using a novel mixed-method assessment of participants in sport (FUN MAPS) via concept mapping.

Methods:

Youth soccer players (n = 142), coaches (n = 37), and parents (n = 57) were stratified by age, sex, and competition level and contributed their ideas through (a) qualitative brainstorming, identifying all of the things that make playing sports fun for players; (b) sorting of ideas; and (c) rating each idea on its importance, frequency, and feasibility.

Results:

The FUN MAPS identify the 4 fundamental tenets of fun in youth sport within 11 fun-dimensions composed of 81 specific fun-determinants, while also establishing the youth sport ethos.

Conclusion:

The FUN MAPS provide pictorial evidence-based blueprints for the fun integration theory (FIT), which is a multitheoretical, multidimensional, and stakeholder derived framework that can be used to maximize fun for children and adolescents to promote and sustain an active and healthy lifestyle through sport.