Fatigue, boredom, pain, performance anxiety, and negative thoughts are challenges characteristic of competitive running. One psychological technique that is gaining support and has been successfully implemented in sport is the practice of mindfulness. Where conventional psychological skills training interventions aim to change dysfunctional thoughts and emotions, mindfulness focuses on altering the relationship to physiological and psychological states. This could help in dealing with the demands of distance running but this has yet to be examined. This article was focused on reviewing mindfulness interventions on performance and performance-based factors in long distance running, assessing (a) mindfulness scores, (b) physiological performance-related factors, (c) psychological performance-related factors, and (d) performance outcomes. A search of relevant electronic databases yielded seven studies which met the inclusion criteria. The review provided some tentative support for the use of mindfulness interventions regarding: reducing competitive anxiety, attenuating immune responses to high-intensity running, and increasing state mindfulness. However, due to the methodological weaknesses of studies more research is required using high-quality randomized controlled trial designs.
Effects of Mindfulness Practice on Performance and Factors Related to Performance in Long-Distance Running: A Systematic Review
Linda Corbally, Mick Wilkinson, and Melissa A. Fothergill
“We’re All the Same and We Love Football.” Experiences of Players and Facilitators Regarding a Collaborative, Inclusive Football Program Between Academy and Special Olympics Footballers
Melissa A. Fothergill, Danna Baik, Hannah M. Slater, and Pamela L. Graham
This study provides insight into an inclusive program between Special Olympics (SO) and academy football (soccer) players in the United Kingdom from the perspectives of players and facilitators. Qualitative focus groups were conducted across 30 participants (six facilitators, 14 Premier League academy players, and 10 SO players). Focus groups compared stakeholders’ experiences of participating in a season-long inclusive football program. Three overarching higher order themes were generated, which highlighted positive outcomes from taking part. SO players provided endorsement for developing friendships and improving football skills, whereas academy players cited the positive impact that SO players had on their mood and motivation. Facilitators reflected on positive player outcomes and subsequent accomplishments. Overall, the findings indicated that this shared experience had psychosocial and football-specific benefits for everyone who participated. Facilitators indicated that these benefits could transition into everyday life but noted that there needs to be further considerations for future programs.
The Effects of Low-Intensity Multimodal Proprioceptive Exercise on Cognitive Function in Older Adults
Spencer E. Boyle, Melissa A. Fothergill, John Metcalfe, Sarah Docherty, and Crystal F. Haskell-Ramsay
Background: Physical activity provides a number of physical and psychological benefits. Multimodal proprioceptive exercise represents a useful balance-based exercise with the potential to reduce falls in older adults. Previous research has also indicated cognitive benefits following multimodal proprioceptive exercise in young and older adults. This study aimed to assess cognition and mood following 2 types of physical activity (multimodal proprioception vs yoga) compared with control (classroom-based) in healthy older adults. Method: Nineteen older adults (Mage = 65, sex = 9 males) participated in this randomized controlled crossover trial. Participants completed a 20-minute multimodal proprioceptive exercise class, 20-minute yoga session, and 20-minute classroom-based control. Numeric working memory and mood were assessed before and immediately following each of the interventions. Results: The multimodal proprioceptive intervention significantly reduced numeric working memory reaction time versus the yoga (P = .043) and control (P = .023) group. There were no differences found for accuracy or mood. Conclusions: These results indicate that multimodal proprioceptive exercise is worthy of further investigation as an alternative mode of exercise alongside the more traditional aerobic and strength-based exercise for healthy older adults.
A Pedometer-Based Physically Active Learning Intervention: The Importance of Using Preintervention Physical Activity Categories to Assess Effectiveness
Jade L. Morris, Andy Daly-Smith, Margaret A. Defeyter, Jim McKenna, Steve Zwolinsky, Scott Lloyd, Melissa Fothergill, and Pamela L. Graham
Purpose: To assess physical activity outcomes of a pedometer-based physically active learning (PAL) intervention in primary school children. Methods: Six paired schools were randomly allocated to either a 6-week teacher-led pedometer-based physically active learning intervention or a control (n = 154, female = 60%, age = 9.9 [0.3] y). Accelerometers assessed total daily sedentary time, light physical activity (LPA), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Preintervention mean daily MVPA minutes grouped participants as Low Active (<45 min/d) and High Active (≥45 min/d). Results: From the final sample size, the intervention (n = 52) significantly improved LPA versus control (n = 31, P = .04), by reducing sedentary time. More intervention (+10%) than control (+3%) pupils met the 60 minutes per day guidelines. In both intervention subgroups, pupils spent less time in LPA (P < .05) versus control. The greatest nonsignificant increase was found in the Low Active pupils MVPA levels. Conclusions: Improvements in LPA were statistically significant in the intervention versus control group. In subgroup analysis, Low Active pupils in the intervention showed the greatest beneficial effects and the Most Active pupils may have replaced MVPA and sedentary time with LPA. The intervention group housed clusters of pupils showing variable responsiveness, justifying routine examination of subgroup variability in future studies.