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Stephanie T. West and Kindal A. Shores

Background:

Previous research has observed a positive correlation between having greenways or trails proximate to homes and the physical activity behaviors among residents. Few studies using a pre–post research design have been conducted, and each has pointed to the need for more rigorous studies which incorporate an appropriate control group.

Methods:

Residents from households living within 1 mile of a proposed greenway and those from a control neighborhood located between 2 and 3 miles of the proposed greenway were randomly selected to participate in the study. Participants were mailed a survey before the onset of construction and again 1 year after the trail was opened. Outcomes were the number of days during the previous week that respondents reported participating in walking, moderate activity, and vigorous activity.

Results:

Repeated measures analyses of variance indicated no significant differences between the experimental and control groups in days of walking, moderate activity, or vigorous activity before and after the greenway was constructed.

Conclusions:

Findings suggest that building a greenway did not affect the physical activity behaviors of proximate residents. Other studies should consider different trail types from a variety of settings to determine whether physical activity behavior changes may be context specific.

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Stephanie T. West and Kindal A. Shores

Background:

A significant association has been identified between physical activity and proximity to greenways. However, residents more likely to be active may have selected to live near existing greenways. The purpose of this study was to determine whether development of a new greenway has the potential to increase activity levels of existing, proximate residents.

Methods:

In 2008, survey data were collected before and after 5 miles of greenway were added to an existing greenway.

Results:

When comparing residents living nearest (≤ .50 miles) the new greenway section with those living further (.51−1.0 miles), days spent walking and participating in moderate physical activity increased. Despite mean increases, no significant interactions were detected.

Conclusions:

Although evidence is inconclusive, apparent increases in walking and moderate activity suggest development of a greenway proximate to residents’ homes is likely to have a positive effect on participation levels. Additional research is needed to address article limitations.

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Kindal A. Shores and Stephanie T. West

Background:

While considerable attention has been given to quantifying leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) among subpopulations, less attention has focused on the perception of the experience as leisure. The current study describes the prevalence of leisure-like experiences during LTPA among college students. We describe the social contexts and activity settings that contribute to participant enjoyment of LTPA since enjoyment has been linked to participation and adherence.

Methods:

Data were collected from 192 undergraduate students using a short questionnaire and 2 days of time diaries.

Results:

Respondents spent nearly equal time working, sleeping, and engaged in discretionary activities. Students reported 512 minutes of discretionary time each day, of which 77 minutes were spent in LTPA and 68% was classified by respondents as leisure. Active sports/ exercise (including aerobics and weight lifting), walking, and dancing at bars or parties were the most frequent LTPA choices. When LTPA involved the presence of human companions, activities were more likely to be perceived by respondents as leisure experiences. Physical activities undertaken at public parks, bars/dance clubs and private recreation centers were also more likely to be perceived as leisure experiences.

Conclusions:

Findings indicate that social instead of traditional exercise activities may motivate LTPA participation among college students. For example, results suggest the importance of dancing in this population.

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Jen D. Wong, Julie S. Son, Stephanie T. West, Jill J. Naar and Toni Liechty

This study contributes to the fields of aging and physical activity by applying the key principles of the life course perspective to investigate women’s team sport participation experience in late adulthood. Through focus groups, data were collected from six competitive softball teams of women (N = 64) ranging from 55 to 79 years old. Data were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for themes related to the life course principles of historical context and place, social embeddedness, agency, as well as trajectories and timing. A key study finding was that the women experienced cultural lag and age-related barriers to resources when playing competitive softball in late adulthood. In addition, the network of shared relationships occupied by these women had both positive and negative influences on their participation in competitive sports. Study findings can help inform services and programs at the local community level aimed at enhancing women’s physical activity and health in late adulthood.