The following article is a synthesis of current physiological research regarding women and physical activity with an emphasis on what that research means in regard to both performance and health. The first part is a discussion of the effects of heavy physical training on the menstrual cycle, with particular emphasis on the detrimental effects of hypoestrogenemia on bone. The second part of the paper is a discussion of the generally high prevalence of inactivity in American women and its relationship to the development of obesity, type II diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, heart disease and cancer. The final section of the paper consists of a call for interdisciplinary and collaborative research by women investigators on issues of major importance to women.
Edward Archer, Amanda E. Paluch, Robin P. Shook, and Steven N. Blair
Successful aging encompasses more than just the prevention of disease and disability; the truly well-lived life is demonstrated by a sense of vitality and independence, freedom from bodily pain, and the continued involvement in meaningful activities. While physical inactivity and sedentary behaviors accelerate the aging process, deliberate exercise and other forms of activity delay and/or prevent the onset of age-related pathologies such as frailty, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, and cardiovascular disease. This review surveys the evidence that supports the position that physical activity is a necessary component for the development and maintenance of the physiological resources that are foundational to physical and cognitive functioning and ‘living well’ in one's later years.
Jeeyoon Kim and Jeffrey D. James
limited, due to lack of empirical studies and inconsistent findings ( Jang, Ko, Wann, & Kim, 2017 ). Also, we have limited understanding of the long-term SWB effects of the two activities, as SWB studies have been focused on short-term SWB ( Mochon, Norton, & Ariely, 2008 ). Addressing such limitations is
Brook L. Skidmore, Linda Keeler, Gordon Chalmers, and Keith Russell
A large majority of mothers of young children are not sufficiently physically active to obtain health benefits, and motherhood itself has been associated with irregular physical activity. Ironically, however, a mother’s demanding and busy life presents a situation for which exercise may be extremely advantageous. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to determine the effectiveness of an exercise intervention for increasing physical activity levels and perceived social support for exercise among mothers of young children who serve as primary caregivers. Thirty one mothers with at least one child under the age of five participated in the study. A treatment group (n = 16) participated in an instructor-led “Squat-n-Swap” exercise program once per week for four weeks, followed by four weeks without instructor supervision. A control group (n = 15) did not participate in the exercise program. Participants completed a questionnaire before and after the study. Mixed between-within groups ANOVAs with a significance of p < .05 were used to analyze the data, in addition to post hoc t tests. A chi square analysis was also used. Cross tabs revealed positive changes in women’s perceptions of changes in their physical activity levels. Results also revealed significant interactions for support in the forms of childcare, information, companionship, and validation. The “Squat-N-Swap” model might be a useful option for mothers of young children who would benefit from social support to exercise; however, more research is needed to ascertain this program’s effectiveness in increasing physical activity levels among this population.
This paper builds upon an earlier exploratory discussion about the term physicality that called for conceptual clarity regarding our theoretical understanding and use of it within the context of women’s lives. In light of fieldwork conducted, physicality is suggested to be the complex interplay of body perception, agency, and self-perception. This article focuses on examining one feature of this construct by assessing the relevance of body perception to two groups of women’s experiences of their physicalities through two differently gendered activities: aerobics and wilderness canoe-tripping. Pivotal to this has been qualitatively understanding the lived-body as experienced and understood by the women. In-depth interviews and participant observation were used to explore the meaning and significance these women derived from experiencing their bodies/themselves through these activities. Of specific interest was understanding the effects of these experiences in terms of shaping their understandings of their physicalities particularly beyond that of appearance. Central to this has been apprehending the physically and socially empowering effects of these experiences, especially at the level of their identity. Through the data analysis, body perception was found to be relevant to the women’s physical activity involvement in two distinct ways: as a factor initiating activity involvement and as a perception emerging through the experience. In turn, these differing perceptions of the body were found to impact diversely upon their physicalities, either broadening them or contributing to alternative ways of understanding them.
Stephen M. Roth
Physical activity has long been touted as a means of reducing susceptibility to age-related disease and multiple studies have shown reduced mortality rates in individuals with a lifestyle including regular exercise. A variety of mechanisms for how physical activity reduces age-related diseases have been explored and multiple, redundant explanatory mechanisms are likely to emerge. Evidence has emerged that physical activity may impact directly on telomere biology, one of the primary theories of cellular aging. Telomeres are located at the ends of chromosomes and as cells divide, incomplete DNA replication results in telomere shortening; once shortening reaches a critical threshold, cell senescence results. Investigators hypothesize that part of the favorable influence of physical activity on mortality rates and age-related disease occurs through a direct impact on telomere biology, including delaying rates of telomere shortening. The present review examines key recent findings in this area and explores some of the unanswered questions and future directions for the field.
Marie Dacey, Amy Baltzell, and Len Zaichkowsky
Strategies for exercise maintenance of vigorous (n=54) and moderate (n=38) regular women exercisers were compared using the Processes of Change (Marcus, Rossi et al., 1992) and Self-Efficacy scales (Marcus, Selby et al., 1992). Both groups reported highest utilization of Counterconditioning, Self-liberation, Self-reevaluation, and Reinforcement Management, as well as a high degree of exercise self-efficacy. Vigorous exercisers indicated greater utilization of Counterconditioning (p=.004) and a higher degree of self-efficacy (p=.009), whereas moderate exercisers reported higher utilization of Environmental Reevaluation (p=.028). In follow-up interviews with vigorous exercisers (n=4) and moderate exercisers (n=4), all participants reported psychological benefits of physical activity, high exercise self-efficacy, and exercising to meet personal needs. Reported differences between the two groups include physical experiences while exercising, the development of exercise behavior patterns, and social influences. Based upon this study we suggest that similarities outweigh differences in the maintenance of vigorous and moderate exercise, but certain mode-specific interventions may be warranted to enhance adherence.
The purpose of this study was to account for the process of socialization into physical activity among employees of large corporations. A conceptual frame-work that integrated a variety of variables within four dimensions was used: (a) an antecedent dimension, (b) a cultural dimension, (c) an attitudinal dimension, and (d) a situational dimension. Information was provided by 371 employees of two large corporations in Japan and 262 employees of two large corporations in Canada. The findings indicated that the degree of exercise involvement was greatly influenced by the situational dimension only, while sport involvement was strongly influenced by the antecedent, cultural, and situational dimensions. Such significant others as the peer group and instructors or coordinators were particularly important socializing agents for involvement in the major activities in each country (i.e., sport in Japan and exercise in Canada). In general, the hypothesized model accounted for an average 38% of the variance in explaining socialization into physical activity in corporate settings, though several cross-national differences were observed.
Erin J. Reifsteck, Diane L. Gill, and Donna M. Duffy
The Program for the Advancement of Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity (PAGWSPA) at University of North Carolina at Greensboro UNCG), in collaboration with the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS), hosted a joint National Conference on Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity on the UNCG campus, October 20-22, 2011. The conference brought together over 100 scholars, coaches, teachers, and students from across the country to share research, programs and relevant issues related to girls and women’s sport and physical activity. Reflecting the theme, “Discovering Strengths of Body and Mind,” the conference offered a wide variety of sessions including invited scholarly addresses, panel discussions, submitted research, program information, hands-on workshops and special events.
The following sections provide an overview of the conference, starting with summaries of the keynote presentations by Jan Todd, Nicole LaVoi and Carole Oglesby. The next sections provide summaries of the invited speakers, two panel sessions, and selected additional information. Brief bios for each of the invited speakers and panelists are provided at the end of the paper.
Nancy Barber and Mark E. Havitz
Howard (1992) examined U.S. adult participation in six sport and fitness activities for the period 1980 to 1989. This study extended Howard's research in a Canadian context for 10 sport and fitness activities for the period 1987 to 1996 using data from Print Measurement Bureau (PMB). Participation rates declined for 7 of the 10 activities over the 10-year period. Consistent with Howard's conclusions, usage-rate segmentation demonstrated that very small percentages of the Canadian adult population account for a large majority of total participation. Also consistent, 1996 participation rates split by gender revealed that women exhibit less participation, measured as percentages of all participants and among avid participants, as compared with 1987. Extending Howard's work, segmentation of participants based on age suggested that the older population in 1996 participated more than did the older population in 1987. Marketing implications, especially for reaching sedentary unresponsive markets, are discussed.