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Lene Levy-Storms, Lin Chen and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris

Major gaps exist in the literature regarding the link between open space and physical activity promotion for older adults. This study conducted a systematic review on older adults, open space, and physical activity to identify their needs and preferences in and near parks. We identified 48 peer-reviewed journal articles. All articles focused on older adults but not necessarily exclusively. Most studies were descriptive and correlational. Findings suggest that older adults have specific open space and physical activity needs in and near parks that partly overlap with younger people. Framed by the biopsychosocial framework, open space and physical activity in and near parks can benefit older adults’ physical health and psychologically well-being to stay socially engaged. Framed within the person–environment and life span perspectives, open space and physical activity in and near parks can facilitate an optimum fit between older adults and their environment as they continue to develop over time.

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Xiangli Gu, Katherine Thomas Thomas and Yu-Lin Chen

Purpose:

Guided by Stodden et al.’s (2008) conceptual model, the purpose of this study was to examine the associations among perceived competence, actual motor competence (MC), physical activity (PA), and cardiorespiratory fitness in elementary children. The group differences were also investigated as a function of MC levels.

Methods:

A correlational research design was used in this study. There were 262 children (Mage = 10.87, SD = .77) recruited from three schools in the southern U.S. Students’ MC was objectively measured based on a process-oriented assessment (PE Metrics, NASPE, 2010). Students self-reported perceived competence and leisure-time PA. Then, the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) and pedometers were used to measure students’ cardiorespiratory fitness and in-class PA, respectively.

Results:

The structural equation modeling analysis supported the significant indirect effect of the MC on cardiorespiratory fitness and PA through perceived competence. The MANCOVA yielded a significant main effect for MC groups after controlling for sex [Wilks’s Lambda = .838, F = 12.15 (4, 251), p < .001, η2 = .16]. Regardless of sex, children with low MC demonstrated lower perceived competence, PA, and cardiorespiratory fitness compared with children with higher MC (p < .001).

Discussion:

Development of students’ competence beliefs in PE and certain movement patterns should be emphasized, especially during middle childhood. High quality PE programs must be aligned with national standards, with particular attention to enhancing skill acquisition (standard 1) and PE-motivation (i.e., perceived competence; standard 5).

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Yi-Ching Chen, I-Chen Lin, Yen-Ting Lin, Wei-Min Huang, Chien-Chun Huang and Ing-Shiou Hwang

This study contrasted the stochastic force component between young and older adults, who performed pursuit tracking/compensatory tracking by exerting in-phase/antiphase forces to match a sinusoidal target. Tracking force was decomposed into the force component containing the target frequency and the nontarget force fluctuations (stochastic component). Older adults with inferior task performance had higher complexity (entropy across time; p = .005) in total force. For older adults, task errors were negatively correlated with force fluctuation complexity (pursuit tracking: r = −.527 to −.551; compensatory tracking: r = −.626 to −.750). Notwithstanding an age-related increase in total force complexity (p = .004), older adults exhibited lower complexity of the stochastic force component than young adults did (low frequency: p = .017; high frequency: p = .035). Those older adults with a higher complexity of stochastic force had better task performance due to the underlying use of a richer gradation strategy to compensate for impaired oscillatory control.

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Che-Hsiu Chen, Trevor C. Chen, Mei-Hwa Jan and Jiu-Jenq Lin

Objectives:

To examine whether an acute bout of active or dynamic hamstring-stretching exercises would reduce the amount of muscle damage observed after a strenuous eccentric task and to determine whether the stretching protocols elicit similar responses.

Design:

A randomized controlled clinical trial.

Methods:

Thirty-six young male students performed 5 min of jogging as a warm-up and were allocated to 1 of 3 groups: 3 min of static active stretching (SAS), 3 min of dynamic active stretching (DAS), or control (CON). All subjects performed eccentric exercise immediately after stretching. Heart rate, core temperature, maximal voluntary isometric contraction, passive hip flexion, passive hamstring stiffness (PHS), plasma creatine kinase activity, and myoglobin were recorded at prestretching, at poststretching, and every day after the eccentric exercises for 5 d.

Results:

After stretching, the change in hip flexion was significantly higher in the SAS (5°) and DAS (10.8°) groups than in the CON (–4.1°) group. The change in PHS was significantly higher in the DAS (5.6%) group than in the CON (–5.7%) and SAS (–6.7%) groups. Furthermore, changes in muscle-damage markers were smaller in the SAS group than in the DAS and CON groups.

Conclusions:

Prior active stretching could be useful for attenuating the symptoms of muscle damage after eccentric exercise. SAS is recommended over DAS as a stretching protocol in terms of strength, hamstring range of motion, and damage markers.

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Hsieh-ching Chen, Keh-chung Lin, Chia-ling Chen and Ching-yi Wu

This study evaluated the effect of context on the reaching performance of the unaffected arm and postural control while standing in patients with right cerebral vascular accidents (RCVA) and in healthy adults. Fifteen subjects with RCVA and sixteen healthy subjects performed tasks with the right hand under two conditions while standing. One condition involved moving coins forward on a table as far as possible (concrete task) and the other reaching forward without a target (abstract task). Forward reaching distance, forward displacement and lateral shift of center of pressure (CoP), and weight distribution were the dependent variables. The RCVA and control groups achieved significantly greater reaching distances in the concrete task than in the abstract one. The RCVA group showed significantly less lateral shift of the CoP and placed more weight on the affected leg in the concrete than the abstract task, whereas the control group made a greater lateral shift in the concrete task and had a similar mean ratio of weight distribution during both tasks. The results demonstrate that a functional application of task targets may favorably modulate both reaching and posture performance and exert various positive affects on postural control. Such applications may have a place in the therapeutic recovery efforts for patients afflicted with stroke.

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Yasuhiko Kubota, Alvaro Alonso, Amil M. Shah, Lin Y. Chen and Aaron R. Folsom

Background: There is no research on the association of television (TV) watching with atrial fibrillation (AF). Methods: From 1987 to 1989, the authors obtained information on the frequency of TV watching in 14,458 participants, aged 45–64 years, without a history of AF. The authors used the Cox proportional hazards model to estimate hazard ratios and their 95% confidence intervals of AF according to the frequency of TV watching (“never or seldom,” “sometimes,” “often,” or “very often”). Results: During the 294,553 person-years of follow-up, the authors identified 2,476 AF events. Adjustment for other potential confounding factors, including physical activity, did not change the associations, in which “very often” watching TV carried 1.28 (95% confidence interval, 1.09–1.50) times AF risk compared with “never or seldom” watching TV (P for trend = .002). Even among individuals who met a recommended level of physical activity, watching TV “very often” carried 1.36 (1.02–1.82) times AF risk, compared with watching TV “never or seldom.” Conclusion: Greater frequency of TV watching was independently associated with increased risk of AF even after adjusting for physical activity. Moreover, a recommended level of physical activity did not eliminate the increased risk of frequent TV watching for AF. Avoiding frequent TV watching might be beneficial for AF prevention.

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Cheng-Feng Lin, Wan-Chin Lee, Yi-An Chen and Bih-Jen Hsue

Fatigue in ballet dancers may lead to injury, particularly in the lower extremities. However, few studies have investigated the effects of fatigue on ballet dancers’ performance and movement patterns. Thus, the current study examines the effect of fatigue on the balance, movement pattern, and muscle activities of the lower extremities in ballet dancers. Twenty healthy, female ballet dancers performed releve on demi-pointe before and after fatigue. The trajectory of the whole body movement and the muscle activities of the major lower extremity muscles were recorded continuously during task performance. The results show that fatigue increases the medial-lateral center of mass (COM) displacement and hip and trunk motion, but decreases the COM velocity and ankle motion. Moreover, fatigue reduces the activities of the hamstrings and tibialis anterior, but increases that of the soleus. Finally, greater proximal hip and trunk motions are applied to compensate for the effects of fatigue, leading to a greater COM movement. Overall, the present findings show that fatigue results in impaired movement control and may therefore increase the risk of dance injury.

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Che-Hsiu Chen, Tsun-Shun Huang, Huei-Ming Chai, Mei-Hwa Jan and Jiu-Jenq Lin

Context:

Recent studies have shown that the static stretch (SS) may adversely affect leg-muscle performance.

Objectives:

The authors examined the short-term effects of 2 stretching exercises on hamstrings muscle before and after exercise.

Design:

Crossover.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

9 healthy, physically active men.

Interventions:

There were 3 protocols in a randomized order with a 7-d interval: nonstretching (CON protocol), hamstrings static stretching (SS) with proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), and SS with kinesio-taping application on the hamstrings.

Main Outcome Measures:

Outcome measures included first-felt and maximum tolerant-felt range of motion (FROM and TROM), maximal knee-flexion peak torque (PT) at 180°/s, and hamstrings muscle stiffness.

Results:

Groups were not different at prestretching in terms of hamstrings flexibility, PT, and muscle stiffness. At poststretching, both stretching protocols showed significant increases in FROM and TROM (P < .05). Stiffer hamstrings muscle and decreased PT were found in both SS+PNF and CON protocols (P < .05). However, there was no significant difference in the SS+Taping protocol (P > .05).

Conclusion:

The stretching protocols improve hamstrings flexibility immediately, but after exercise hamstrings peak torque is diminished in the SS+PNF but not in the SS+Taping group. This means that SS+Taping can prevent negative results from exercise, which may prevent muscle injury.

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Chung-Chao Liang, Qi-Xing Change, Yu-Chou Hung, Chizan-Chung Chen, Chun-Hsiang Lin, Yu-Chun Wei and Jia-Ching Chen

The Taiwanese government has developed community care stations (CCSs) for community-based older adult care. We investigated the effects of a structured exercise intervention, applied at CCS for 6 months, on physical performance and balance in community-dwelling older adults, including a 2-year reassessment. Fifty-eight participants (aged 76.9 ± 6.3 years) participated in the study. The Elderly Mobility Scale, Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), Timed Up and Go (TUG), gait speed, functional reach, one-leg-stance (OLS), and flexibility were evaluated at baseline, 6 months, and 2 years. Compared with baseline, the participants improved significantly in the SPPB (0.93 points), TUG (1.94 s), gait speed (0.13 m/s), and right and left OLS (2.56 and 3.12 s) at 6 months. Furthermore, these significant effects, except for OLS, were maintained at the 2-year reassessment according to repeated-measures ANOVA (p < .01). Our preliminary data suggest that adding a structured exercise program can benefit older adults participating in Taiwanese CCSs.