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C. Jessie Jones, Carter Rakovski, Dana Rutledge and Angela Gutierrez

Purpose:

To compare fitness of women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) aged 50+ with performance standards associated with functional independence in late life.

Methods:

Data came from a longitudinal study tracking physical and cognitive function of 93 women with FMS and included the most recent symptoms, activity levels, and fitness assessments.

Results:

Most women performed below criterion-referenced fitness standards for all measures. Nearly 90% percent of those < 70 years scored below the standard for lower body strength. Only ~20% of respondents < 70 years old met the criteria for aerobic endurance. A third of those aged over 70 met the standard in agility and dynamic balance. Physical activity was positively associated with fitness performance, while pain and depression symptoms were negatively associated.

Discussion:

High proportions of women with FMS do not meet fitness standards recommended for maintaining physical independence in late life, indicating a risk for disability. Regular fitness assessments and targeted exercise interventions are warranted.

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N. Füsun Toraman, Alparslan Erman and Evren Agyar

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a 9-week supervised multicomponent exercise program on functional fitness and body composition in independent older adults. Forty-two adults age 60–86 years were randomly assigned to an exercise or a control group and were evaluated before and after training. The training program consisted of 3 sessions of walking, strengthening, and flexibility exercises per week. The multicomponent training program resulted in significant (p < .005) improvements on the chair stand, arm curl, 6-min walk, and up-and-go tests. The findings of this study indicate that a 9-week training program increased upper and lower body strength, aerobic endurance, and agility/dynamic balance in older adults. The most affected components of functional fitness were lower body strength and aerobic endurance. There was no effect of the 9-week training on body composition.

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Timo Tapio Jaakkola, Arja Sääkslahti, Sami Yli-Piipari, Mika Manninen, Anthony Watt and Jarmo Liukkonen

The purpose of the study was to analyze students’ motivation in relation to their participation in fitness testing classes. Participants were 134 Finnish Grade 5 and 8 students. Students completed the contextual motivation and perceived physical competence scales before the fitness testing class and the situational motivation questionnaire immediately after the class. During the fitness test class, abdominal muscle endurance was measured by curl-up test, lower body explosive strength and locomotor skills by the five leaps test, and speed and agility by the Figure 8 running test. For the fitness testing class, students reported higher scores for intrinsic motivation, identified motivation, and amotivation than in their general physical education program. The result of the path analysis showed physical fitness was positively related to perceived physical competence. In addition, perceived competence was found to be a positive predictor of situational intrinsic motivation, but not of other forms of situational motivation. Significant path coefficients in the model ranged from −.15 to .26.

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Gina Bravo, Pierre Gauthier, Pierre-Michel Roy, Hélène Payette, Marie-France Dubois, Monique Harvey and Philippe Gaulin

A recently completed randomized controlled trial documented the effects of a 1-year group-based exercise program in osteopenic women. The present study concerns the comparison of these effects to those produced by a home-based exercise program tested on the same population. All 63 women who had been randomly assigned to the control group in the previous study were invited to enroll in the home program. Comparison of pre- and posttest scores of home exercisers revealed improvements in agility and well-being. In comparison, women who had participated 1 year earlier in the group-based exercise program had improved on four of the five fitness tests, well-being, and pain intensity. More women in the group-based exercise program showed improvement in self-rated health in comparison to those enrolled in the home program. Results suggest that for osteopenic women, a group-based exercise program is much more effective than a home-based exercise program.

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Fátima Ramalho, Filomena Carnide, Rita Santos-Rocha, Helô-Isa André, Vera Moniz-Pereira, Maria L. Machado and António P. Veloso

Functional fitness (FF) and gait ability in older populations have been associated with increased survival rates, fall prevention, and quality of life. One possible intervention for the improvement of FF is well-structured exercise programs. However, there are inconsistent findings regarding the effects of exercise interventions in the maintenance of gait parameters. The aim of this protocol is to develop a community-based exercise intervention targeting an older population. The intervention aim is the improvement of gait parameters and FF. A control trial with follow-up will be performed. The primary outcome variables will be plantar pressure gait parameters. The secondary outcome variables will be aerobic endurance, lower limb strength, agility, and balance. These variables will be recorded at baseline and after 12, 24, and 36 weeks, in the intervention and control groups. If effective, this protocol can be used by exercise professionals in improving community exercise programs.

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Chiaki Tanaka, Yuki Hikihara, Kazunori Ohkawara and Shigeho Tanaka

This study examined the potential relationship between participation in physical activity (PA) assessed by triaxial accelerometry and physical fitness testing, including health-related and skill-related parameters of fitness, in 136 Japanese preschoolers (65 girls and 71 boys, 5.5 ± 0.6 years). In partial correlation analyses, grip strength and 20m shuttle run test were positively correlated with time spent in physical activity ratio (PAR) ≥ 4. Better scores on standing long jump distance and jump over and crawl under tests were associated with lower sedentary time and greater moderate-to-vigorous PA time and PAR ≥ 4 time, and increased physical activity level. Moreover, 25m run speed was positively correlated with time spent in PAR ≥ 4 and locomotive activity. These findings suggest that development of both health-related (muscle strength and aerobic fitness) and skill-related fitness (power, agility and speed) may make engagement in PA easier for preschool children, although further research on the cause-effect relationship is needed.

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Justin W.L. Keogh, Andrew Kilding, Philippa Pidgeon, Linda Ashley and Dawn Gillis

Dancing is a mode of physical activity that may allow older adults to improve their physical function, health, and well-being. However, no reviews on the physical benefits of dancing for healthy older adults have been published in the scientific literature. Using relevant databases and keywords, 15 training and 3 cross-sectional studies that met the inclusion criteria were reviewed. Grade B–level evidence indicated that older adults can significantly improve their aerobic power, lower body muscle endurance, strength and flexibility, balance, agility, and gait through dancing. Grade C evidence suggested that dancing might improve older adults’ lower body bone-mineral content and muscle power, as well as reduce the prevalence of falls and cardiovascular health risks. Further research is, however, needed to determine the efficacy of different forms of dance, the relative effectiveness of these forms of dance compared with other exercise modes, and how best to engage older adults in dance participation.

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Jeffrey Paszkewicz, Tristen Webb, Brian Waters, Cailee Welch McCarty and Bonnie Van Lunen

Clinical Scenario:

There is a high incidence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in adolescents participating in pivoting sports such as soccer, basketball, and handball. Most ACL injuries in athletes are noncontact injuries, with a mechanism of sudden deceleration, change in direction, or landing from a jump. These mechanisms coupled with an increase in contraction of the quadriceps have been shown as risk factors for ACL injuries. Injuries to the ACL may require surgery, a long rehabilitation, and the potential for reinjury. Studies have shown reductions in lower extremity injury rates using training protocols that focus on landing mechanics, balance training, strength training, and/or agility training. There has been some thought that starting preventive training programs with adolescent athletes may be the most effective approach to reducing adolescent ACL injuries.

Focused Clinical Question:

Can lower extremity injury-prevention programs effectively reduce ACL injury rates in adolescent athletes?

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Salma S.S. Hernández, Paula F. Sandreschi, Franciele C. da Silva, Beatriz A.V. Arancibia, Rudney da Silva, Paulo J.B. Gutierres and Alexandro Andrade

To identify and characterize the scientific literature on the effects of exercise on Alzheimer’s disease, research was conducted in the following databases: MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Scopus. These MeSH terms—“exercise”, “motor activity”, “physical fitness”, “Alzheimer disease”, and its synonyms in English—were used in the initial search to locate studies published between 2003 and 2013. After reading the 12 final articles in their entirety, two additional articles, found by a manual search, were included. Of these, 13 had beneficial results of exercise in Alzheimer’s disease. Given the results discussed here, the exercise may be important for the improvement of functionality and performance of daily life activities, neuropsychiatric disturbances, cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory fitness, functional capacity components (flexibility, agility, balance, strength), and improvements in some cognitive components such as sustained attention, visual memory, and frontal cognitive function in patients with AD.

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Roberta E. Rikli and C. Jessie Jones

Preventing or delaying the onset of physical frailty is an increasingly important goal because more individuals are living well into their 8th and 9th decades. We describe the development and validation of a functional fitness test battery that can assess the physiologic parameters that support physical mobility in older adults. The procedures involved in the test development were (a) developing a theoretical framework for the test items, (b) establishing an advisory panel of experts, (c) determining test selection criteria, (d) selecting the test items, and (e) establishing test reliability and validity. The complete battery consists of 6 items (and one alternative) designed to assess the physiologic parameters associated with independent functioning—lower and upper body strength, aerobic endurance, lower and upper body flexibility, and agility/dynamic balance. We also assessed body mass index as an estimate of body composition. We concluded that the tests met the established criteria for scientific rigor and feasibility for use in common community settings.