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Nick Mardon, Hugh Richards and Amanda Martindale

This quasi-experimental intervention study investigated the impact of mindfulness training on attention and performance in swimmers. Following an 8-week intervention with six national-level university swimmers (M = 20 years), single case analysis of pre- and post- measurements for three of six participants showed large improvements in mindfulness and attention efficiency. Two participants showed a small increase in one of mindfulness or attention efficiency, and one showed no changes. Four participants improved performance times compared with season-best, and five participants improved self-rated performance. Athletes and coach positively evaluated mindfulness training. This study, with strong ecological validity, shows improvements in mindfulness, attention, and performance, consistent with theory that proposes attention as a mechanism for mindfulness based performance changes. Mindfulness training can be an effective and practical intervention. Further applied research is required utilizing designs to determine causality and further test the proposed mechanisms through which mindfulness may influence performance.

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Riina A. Kekkonen, Tommi J. Vasankari, Timo Vuorimaa, Tari Haahtela, Ilkka Julkunen and Riitta Korpela

Heavy exercise is associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections. Strenuous exercise also causes gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. In previous studies probiotics have reduced respiratory tract infections and GI symptoms in general populations including children, adults, and the elderly. These questions have not been studied in athletes before. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of probiotics on the number of healthy days, respiratory infections, and GI-symptom episodes in marathon runners in the summer. Marathon runners (N = 141) were recruited for a randomized, double-blind intervention study during which they received Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) or placebo for a 3-mo training period. At the end of the training period the subjects took part in a marathon race, after which they were followed up for 2 wk. The mean number of healthy days was 79.0 in the LGG group and 73.4 in the placebo group (P = 0.82). There were no differences in the number of respiratory infections or GI-symptom episodes. The duration of GI-symptom episodes in the LGG group was 2.9 vs. 4.3 d in the placebo group during the training period (P = 0.35) and 1.0 vs. 2.3 d, respectively, during the 2 wk after the marathon (P = 0.046). LGG had no effect on the incidence of respiratory infections or GI-symptom episodes in marathon runners, but it seemed to shorten the duration of GI-symptom episodes.

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Virginie Nicaise, Noe C. Crespo and Simon Marshall

Background:

Even when objective physical activity (PA) measures are preferred, many intervention studies with Latina women rely on self-reports because they are more feasible and the type and domain of PA is of interest.

Purpose:

This study examined the sensitivity and specificity of the IPAQ for detecting intervention-related changes in physical activity compared with accelerometer measurement among Latinas.

Methods:

In March 2007, a community sample of 94 women (mean age = 36.31 ± 9.1 yr; mean body mass index = 31.37 ± 7.13) participated in a 12-week pedometer-based intervention to increase moderate intensity physical activity (MPA). Participants completed the Spanish-language International Physical Activity Questionnaire (Sp-IPAQ; telephone, long form) and wore an Actigraph accelerometer for 7 days at baseline and postintervention.

Results:

Both the IPAQ and the ActiGraph accelerometer detected intervention-related increases in MPA; however, these changes were largely uncorrelated. The IPAQ did not have acceptable level of sensitivity and specificity before and after the intervention when compared with objective assessments.

Conclusions:

Data suggest that it is important to improve the sensitivity and specificity of the IPAQ with Spanish-speaking participants and further research is needed to accurately measure intervention effectiveness using self-reports of PA in Latinas.

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Alex Antonio Florindo, Evelyn Fabiana Costa, Thiago Herick Sa, Taynã Ishii dos Santos, Marília Velardi and Douglas Roque Andrade

Background:

The aim of this study was to describe a methodology for training to provide counseling on physical activity among community health workers working within primary healthcare in Brazil.

Methods:

This was an intervention study conducted with 65 community health workers in the Ermelino Matarazzo district in the São Paulo, Brazil (30 in intervention group). The intervention group received a course of 12 hours (with 4 meetings of 3 hours each in 1 month) that aimed to improve their knowledge and be autonomous with regard to promoting physical activity. For data analysis, focus groups and questionnaires on knowledge and perceptions regarding physical activity were used.

Results:

The average attendance for the 4 meetings was 29 workers (93% of total). There was an improvement in knowledge on physical activity recommendations in comparison with the control (P = .03), and qualitative results revealed that the professionals appreciated the learned content, valued its application based on knowledge construction and felt secure about promoting physical activity. This was seen through high adherence levels and construction collective of proposal for home visits for physical activity promotion.

Conclusion:

The training was effective in improving knowledge and attitudes toward counseling on physical activity among community health workers.

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Christian Lackinger, Sandra Haider, Lana Kosi, Juergen Harreiter, Yvonne Winhofer and Alexandra Kautzky-Willer

Background:

Although the infrastructure of Austrians’ sports clubs is well developed, exercise classes for people suffering from type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) do not exist. This feasibility study evaluates factors for participating in target group specific exercise courses (TGSEC) and changes in physical activity.

Methods:

This intervention study was performed in 22 communities of Austria. Initial TGSEC were offered to T2DM patients over 2 months. Participants were surveyed at 4 time points with a questionnaire: before the program, 2, 6 and 12 months after the initial questionnaire.

Results:

881 patients aged 59.0 (SD: 9.6) years took part in TGSEC. At baseline a lack of suitable exercise groups prevented 51% from being active. 58% were encouraged by the medical sector. After 12 months the weekly time spent on exercise training was increased from 1.40 (SD: 2.55) hours to 2.15 (SD: 3.00) hours (P < .001). The dropout rate during the first 2 months was 12.9%. The rate of return for the 12 months questionnaire was 42%.

Conclusion:

TGSEC provided by sports clubs attract people suffering from T2DM and effectively enhance physical activity.

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Philipe de Souto Barreto, Anne-Marie Ferrandez and Bérengère Saliba-Serre

Background:

Participation bias in exercise studies is poorly understood among older adults. This study was aimed at looking into whether older persons who volunteer to participate in an exercise study differ from nonvolunteers.

Methods:

A self-reported questionnaire on physical activity and general health was mailed out to 1000 persons, aged 60 or over, who were covered by the medical insurance of the French National Education System. Among them, 535 answered it and sent it back. Two hundred and thirty-three persons (age 69.7 ±7.6, 65.7% women) said they would volunteer to participate in an exercise study and 270 (age 71.7 ±8.8, 62.2% women) did not.

Results:

Volunteers were younger and more educated than nonvolunteers, but they did not differ in sex. They had less physical function decline and higher volumes of physical activity than nonvolunteers. Compared with volunteers, nonvolunteers had a worse self-reported health and suffered more frequently from chronic pain. Multiple logistic regressions showed that good self-reported health, absence of chronic pain, and lower levels of physical function decline were associated with volunteering to participate in an exercise study.

Conclusions:

Volunteers were fitter and healthier than nonvolunteers. Therefore, caution must be taken when generalizing the results of exercise intervention studies.

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Hayley E. Christian, Carri Westgarth, Adrian Bauman, Elizabeth A. Richards, Ryan E. Rhodes, Kelly R. Evenson, Joni A. Mayer and Roland J. Thorpe Jr.

Background:

Dog walking is a strategy for increasing population levels of physical activity (PA). Numerous cross-sectional studies of the relationship between dog ownership and PA have been conducted. The purpose was to review studies comparing PA of dog owners (DO) to nondog owners (NDO), summarize the prevalence of dog walking, and provide recommendations for research.

Methods:

A review of published studies (1990−2010) examining DO and NDO PA and the prevalence of dog walking was conducted (N = 29). Studies estimating the relationship between dog ownership and PA were grouped to create a pointestimate using meta-analysis.

Results:

Most studies were conducted in the last 5 years, were cross-sectional, and sampled adults from Australia or the United States. Approximately 60% of DO walked their dog, with a median duration and frequency of 160 minutes/week and 4 walks/week, respectively. Meta-analysis showed DO engage in more walking and PA than NDO and the effect sizes are small to moderate (d = 0.26 and d = 0.16, respectively). Three studies provided evidence of a directional relationship between dog ownership and walking.

Conclusions:

Longitudinal and interventional studies would provide stronger causal evidence for the relationship between dog ownership and PA. Improved knowledge of factors associated with dog walking will guide intervention research.

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Richard Larouche, Travis John Saunders, Guy Edward John Faulkner, Rachel Colley and Mark Tremblay

Background:

The impact of active school transport (AST) on daily physical activity (PA) levels, body composition and cardiovascular fitness remains unclear.

Methods:

A systematic review was conducted to examine differences in PA, body composition and cardiovascular fitness between active and passive travelers. The Medline, PubMed, Embase, PsycInfo, and ProQuest databases were searched and 10 key informants were consulted. Quality of evidence was assessed with GRADE and with the Effective Public Health Practice Project tool for quantitative studies.

Results:

Sixty-eight different studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of studies found that active school travelers were more active or that AST interventions lead to increases in PA, and the quality of evidence is moderate. There is conflicting, and therefore very low quality evidence, regarding the associations between AST and body composition indicators, and between walking to/from school and cardiovascular fitness; however, all studies with relevant measures found a positive association between cycling to/from school and cardiovascular fitness; this evidence is of moderate quality.

Conclusion:

These findings suggest that AST should be promoted to increase PA levels in children and adolescents and that cycling to/from school is associated with increased cardiovascular fitness. Intervention studies are needed to increase the quality of evidence.

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Cory J. Greever, John Sirard and Sofiya Alhassan

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the temporal patterns of preschoolers’ physical activity (PA) levels during a typical outdoor free playtime.

Methods:

Baseline playtime accelerometer counts (4.3 ± 0.8 days) from 3 preschool PA intervention studies were used (n = 326 children, age = 4.0 ± 0.8 years). Data were collected using 15-second epochs and classified into sedentary, light, or moderate-tovigorous physical activity (MVPA). Patterns of change during playtime were analyzed using orthogonal polynomial comparisons.

Results:

For all ages, there was a U-shaped pattern of change for the percent of epochs classified as sedentary [F(1, 323) = 47.12, P < .001) and an inverted U-shaped pattern of change for the percent of epochs classified as MVPA [F(1,323) = 32.15, P < .001]. Age-stratified analyses indicated that the 3-year-olds maintained the decrease in sedentary time [F(2,323) = 6.408, P = .002] and the increase in MVPA [F(2,323) = 3.2, P = .04] to a greater extent than the 4- and 5-year-olds.

Conclusions:

Preschool children gradually became more active during the first 10 to 15 minutes of outdoor gross motor playtime and less active over the final 10 to 15 minutes of playtime. During the second half of playtime 3-year-olds maintained these changes to a greater degree than 4- and 5-year-olds.

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Thomas G. Seabourne, Robert S. Weinberg, Allen Jackson and Richard M. Suinn

The purpose of the present investigation was to determine the effectiveness of different types of mental intervention procedures on karate performance. Subjects were 43 male volunteer students enrolled in self-defense classes at a university. They were randomly assigned to one of five conditions: individualized, nonindividualized, package, placebo control, and control. Karate performance evaluations (i.e., skill, combinations, sparring) were administered during the 5th (baseline), 10th, and 15th weeks of classes. All experimental groups received handouts, mini-strategies, manipulation checks, and interviews to aid them in their practice and training of their mental strategies. Thus, over the 10-week period, subjects spent a minimum of 17 hours practicing their cognitive strategies. Data were analyzed by a series of 5 x 2 (treatment X trials) multivariate analyses of variance. Results indicated that the individualized and package groups performed significantly better than all other groups on the karate performance measures of combinations and sparring. No other between-group differences were found. These results are supported by previous research (e.g., Kirschenbaum & Bale, 1980; Silva, 1982) which demonstrates the effectiveness of individualized and packaged intervention strategies in enhancing performance. Additional well controlled intervention studies are imperative before definitive statements can be put forth.