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Margaret Schneider and Priel Schmalbach

Background:

Little information exists as to the exercise intensity that adolescents enjoy and whether identifiable subgroups of adolescents will choose higher-intensity exercise.

Methods:

Healthy adolescents (N = 74; mean age = 11.09 years) completed a cardiorespiratory fitness test, a moderate-intensity exercise task, and an exercise task at an intensity that felt “good.” Heart rate (HR), work rate (WR), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were assessed every 3 minutes.

Results:

During the “feels good” task, adolescents exercised at a HR recognized as beneficial for cardiovascular health (mean HR = 66% to 72% of HR at VO2peak). Adolescents who experienced a positive affective shift during the moderate-intensity task engaged in higher-intensity exercise during the feels-good task as compared with those whose affective response to moderate-intensity exercise was neutral or negative (76% of peak HR vs. 70% of peak HR, P < .01).There was no difference between groups in RPE.

Conclusions:

Adolescents tend to select an exercise intensity associated with fitness benefits when afforded the opportunity to choose an intensity that feels good. An identified subgroup engaged in higher-intensity exercise without a commensurate perception of working harder. Encouraging adolescents to exercise at an intensity that feels good may increase future exercise without sacrificing fitness.

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Genevieve Fridlund Dunton and Margaret Schneider

Background:

Walking short distances provides a convenient opportunity to attain the health benefits of moderate-intensity physical activity. The present study tested the reliability and validity of an instrument designed to assess self-efficacy to overcome barriers to walking for transportation.

Methods:

A sample of 305 undergraduates, ages 18 to 46 y (mean = 20.6 y) (70.3% female), completed self-efficacy measures for travel-related walking and for vigorous exercise. Minutes of moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity were assessed using a MTI accelerometer (n = 85).

Results:

Overall, subjects reported low levels of self-efficacy to overcome barriers to walking for transportation. The eight-item walking for transportation self-efficacy scale demonstrated good reliability, discriminant validity, and expected relations to physical activity criteria.

Conclusion:

The conceptual distinction between self-efficacy for travel-related walking and self-efficacy for vigorous exercise may have important implications for interventions seeking to promote moderate-intensity physical activity through walking for transportation.

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Margaret Schneider, Andrea Dunn and Daniel Cooper

Many adolescents do not meet public health recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). In studies of variables influencing adolescent MVPA, one that has been understudied is the affective response to exercise. We hypothesized that adolescents with a more positive affective response to acute exercise would be more active. Adolescents (N = 124; 46% male) completed two 30-min exercise tasks (above and below the ventilatory threshold [VT]), and wore ActiGraph accelerometers for 6.5 ± 0.7 days. Affective valence was assessed before, during, and after each task. A more positive affective response during exercise below the VT was associated with greater participation in MVPA (p < .05). The results are consistent with the hypothesis that individuals who have a more positive affective response to exercise will engage in more MVPA. To promote greater participation in MVPA among adolescents, programs should be designed to facilitate a positive affective experience during exercise.

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Margaret Schneider, Genevieve F. Dunton, Stan Bassin, Dan J. Graham, Alon Eliakim and Dan M. Cooper

Background:

Many female adolescents participate in insufficient physical activity to maintain cardiovascular fitness and promote optimal bone growth. This study evaluates the impact of a school-based intervention on fitness, activity, and bone among adolescent females.

Methods:

Subjects were assigned to an intervention (n = 63) or comparison (n = 59) group, and underwent assessments of cardiovascular fitness (VO2peak), physical activity, body composition, bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), and serum markers of bone turnover at baseline and at the end of each of two school semesters.

Results:

The intervention increased physical activity, VO2peak, and BMC for the thoracic spine (P values < 0.05). Bone turnover markers were not affected. In longitudinal analyses of the combined groups, improvements in cardiovascular fitness predicted increased bone formation (P < 0.01) and bone resorption (P < 0.05).

Conclusion:

A school-based intervention for adolescent females effectively increased physical activity, cardiovascular fitness, and thoracic spine BMC.

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Alex J. Benson, Mark Eys, Mark Surya, Kimberley Dawson and Margaret Schneider

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Genevieve Fridlund Dunton, Margaret Schneider, Dan J. Graham and Dan M. Cooper

Cross-sectional research examined whether physical activity or physical fitness was more closely linked to physical self-concept in adolescent females ages 14 to 17 (N = 103, 63% Caucasian). Moderate physical activity and vigorous physical activity were measured through a 3-day physical activity recall. Physical fitness was assessed using highly accurate measures of peak oxygen consumption (via cycle ergometer) and percent body fat (via dual X-ray absorptiometer). The Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ) assessed self-concept in 11 domains (e.g., health, endurance, appearance). Pearson’s correlations showed that vigorous physical activity was positively associated with scores on most of the PSDQ scales (p < .005). Peak oxygen consumption was positively related to all of the selfconcept domains (p < .001), and percent body fat was negatively related on most of the PSDQ scales (p < .005). Multiple-regression analyses found that physical fitness (i.e., peak oxygen consumption and percent body fat) was more closely related to physical self-concept than was physical activity. In addition to the possibility that genetically determined fitness levels may influence physical selfconcept, these findings suggest that programs designed to elevate self-perceptions may require physical activity levels sufficient to improve cardiovascular fitness and decrease body fat.