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Improving Health Behaviors and Outcomes: An Intervention to Support Engagement in Physical Activity

Laura J. Houghton and Zoe R. Knowles

The purpose of this case study is to offer reflections on the personal experiences, processes of behavioral change; and subsequent outcomes of designing and implementing a collaborative exercise psychology intervention. The intervention, based on Bandura’s (1977) Self Efficacy Theory and using self-efficacy related behavior change techniques (Michie et al., 2015), aimed to provide families affected by health inequalities with opportunities to enhance their understanding of health and make positive behavioral changes. This case is based around one female client aged 48 years of age who took part in the project with her ten-year-old daughter. Pre-intervention the client was engaging in minimal levels of weekly physical activity and reported poor self-rated mental well-being. Through improvements in self-efficacy, achieved through opportunities on the project, the client was able to make notable improvements to her physical activity levels leading to significant weight loss and improvements in mental well-being. From the practitioners’ perspective, reflection on areas for future work within the field of exercise psychology, particularly guidance on developing effective client-practitioner relationships with ‘hard-to-reach’ individuals and groups is warranted. More consideration for the suitability of the PA guidelines for individuals with poor physical and mental health is also required.

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A Preliminary Investigation Into the Effect of Yoga Practice on Mindfulness and Flow in Elite Youth Swimmers

Richard M.H. Briegel-Jones, Zoe Knowles, Martin R. Eubank, Katie Giannoulatos, and Diane Elliot

Research has indicated positive effects of mindfulness training as a performance-based intervention and of yoga on mindfulness. This study examined the effects of a 10-week yoga intervention on mindfulness and dispositional flow of elite youth swimmers using a mixed methods design. No significant changes in mindfulness and dispositional flow were identified. Qualitative data suggested that the 10-week yoga intervention had a positive impact on a range of physiological, cognitive, and performance parameters that included elements of mindfulness and flow. Methodological considerations for future research are discussed.

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A Novel Mixed Methods Approach to Assess Children’s Sedentary Behaviors

Liezel Hurter, Anna M. Cooper-Ryan, Zoe R. Knowles, Lorna A. Porcellato, Stuart J. Fairclough, and Lynne M. Boddy

Purpose: Accurately measuring sedentary behavior (SB) in children is challenging by virtue of its complex nature. While self-report questionnaires are susceptible to recall errors, accelerometer data lacks contextual information. This study aimed to explore the efficacy of using accelerometry combined with the Digitising Children’s Data Collection (DCDC) for Health application (app), to capture SB comprehensively. Methods: 74 children (9–10 years old) wore ActiGraph GT9X accelerometers for 7 days. Each received a SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab4 (SM-T230) tablet, with the DCDC app installed and a specially designed sedentary behavior study downloaded. The app uses four data collection tools: 1) Questionnaire, 2) Take a photograph, 3) Draw a picture, and 4) Record my voice. Children self-reported their SB daily. Accelerometer data were analyzed using R-package GGIR. App data were downloaded and individual participant profiles created. SBs reported were grouped into categories and reported as frequencies. Results: Participants spent, on average, 629 min (i.e., 73% of their waking time) sedentary. App data revealed most of their out-of-school SB consisted of screen time (112 photos, 114 drawings, and screen time mentioned 135 times during voice recordings). Playing with toys, reading, arts and crafts, and homework were also reported across all four data capturing tools on the app. On an individual level, data from the app often explained irregular patterns in physical activity and SB observed in accelerometer data. Conclusion: This mixed methods approach to assessing SB adds context to accelerometer data, providing researchers with information needed for intervention design.