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Gisela Kobberling, Louis W. Jankowski and Luc Leger

The oxygen consumption (VO2) of 30 (10 females, 20 males) legally blind adolescents and their sighted controls were compared for treadmill walking (3 mph, 4.8 km/h) and running (6 mph, 9.6 km/h). The VO2 of the visually impaired subjects averaged 24.4% and 10.8% higher than those of their same-sex age-matched controls, and 42.8% and 11.2% higher than the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) norms for walking (p<.01) and running (p<.05), respectively. The normal association between aerobic capacity and locomotor energy costs was evident among the sighted controls (r= .44, p<.05) but insignificant (r=.35, p>.05) for the visually impaired subjects. The energy costs of both walking and running were highest among the totally blind subjects, and decreased toward normal as a function of residual vision among the legally blind subjects. The energy costs of walking and running for blind adolescents are higher than both those of sighted controls and the ACSM norm values.

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Emily Cole, Terry M. Wood and John M. Dunn

Tests constructed using item response theory (IRT) produce invariant item and test parameters, making it possible to construct tests and test items useful over many populations. This paper heuristically and empirically compares the utility of classical test theory (CTT) and IRT using psychomotor skill data. Data from the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD) (Ulrich, 1985) were used to assess the feasibility of fitting existing IRT models to dichotomously scored psychomotor skill data. As expected, CTT and IRT analyses yielded parallel interpretations of item and subtest difficulty and discrimination. However, IRT provided significant additional analysis of the error associated with estimating examinee ability. The IRT two-parameter logistic model provided a superior model fit to the one-parameter logistic model. Although both TGMD subtests estimated ability for examinees of low to average ability, the object control subtest estimated examinee ability more precisely at higher difficulty levels than the locomotor subtest. The results suggest that IRT is particularly well suited to construct tests that can meet the challenging measurement demands of adapted physical education.

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David I. Anderson, Audun Dahl, Joseph J. Campos, Kiren Chand, Minxuan He and Ichiro Uchiyama

This report describes a novel test of the prediction that locomotion-induced changes in an infant’s functional utilization of peripheral lamellar optic flow (PLOF) for postural stability contributes to avoidance of the deep side of a visual cliff. To test the prediction, a corridor, with either low-textured or high-textured walls, was constructed to run the length of a visual cliff. The infants, 9.5-month-olds with varying amounts of hands-and-knees crawling experience, were randomly assigned to the low-texture (n = 30) or the high-texture condition (n = 32). Consistent with predictions, the findings revealed significant interactions between crawling experience and texture condition for the probability of crossing and the latency to venture onto the deep side of the cliff. Most notably, more experienced crawlers, but not less experienced crawlers, were significantly more likely to cross the visual cliff to the parents and ventured onto the cliff faster in the high-texture condition than in the low-texture condition. The availability of PLOF thus had an effect on infants’ crossing behavior on the visual cliff. We interpret these findings as evidence for a three-step process in which locomotor-induced changes in visual proprioception play a central role in the development of wariness of heights.

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Judith Jiménez, Maria Morera, Walter Salazar and Carl Gabbard

Purpose:

Motor skill competence has been associated with physical activity level, fitness, and other relevant health-related characteristics. Recent research has focused on understanding these relationships in children and adolescents, but little is known about subsequent years. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between fundamental motor skill (FMS) ability and body mass index (BMI) in young adults.

Method:

Participants, 40 men and 40 women (M age = 19.25 yr, SD = 2.48), were assessed for BMI and motor competence with 10 fundamental motor skills (FMSs) using the Test for Fundamental Motor Skills in Adults (TFMSA).

Results:

BMI was negatively associated with total motor ability (r = –.257; p = .02) and object control skills (r = –.251; p = .02); the relationship with locomotor skills was marginally insignificant (r = –.204; p = .07). In regard to individual skills, a significant negative association was found for running, jumping, striking, and kicking (ps < .05). Multiple regression analysis indicated that BMI and gender predicted 42% of the variance in total FMS score; gender was the only significant predictor.

Conclusion:

Overall, these preliminary findings suggest that young adults with higher FMS ability are more likely to have lower BMI scores.

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Roberta L. Pohlman and Larry D. Isaacs

This preliminary investigation examined the potential effects of low birth weight on motor performance in children. Seventeen pairs of children were matched by age and placed in one of five age groups (5-9 years). One of each pair weighed 2,200 grams or less at birth (low birth weight, LBW) and the other weighed more than 2,200 grams at birth (normal birth weight, NBW). Three types of data were collected: motor development data, reaction time data, and anthropometric data. Nine paired t tests were performed. To control for alpha level inflation, the Bonferroni technique was employed. The two groups did not differ significantly in present body weight. Tests of gross motor development found the NBW group to be more advanced in both locomotor skills and object control skills. With regard to triceps skinfold, again the NBW group was found to have greater values. No other between-group measurements of body composition were significant. In addition, girls were significantly higher than boys in percent body fat. These preliminary results suggest the LBW children lag behind their NBW peers in the development of the basic fundamental motor skills.

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Amelia Mays Woods, Kim Graber and David Daum

The benefits of recess can be reaped by all students regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or gender and at relatively little cost. The purpose of this study was to examine physical activity (PA) variables related to the recess PA patterns of third and fourth grade children and the social preferences and individuals influencing their PA (friends and parents). Data were collected on students (N = 115) utilizing the System of Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP) instrument. In addition, each child was interviewed during the recess period in which SOCARP was completed. Results found that boys spent significantly more time being very active (t (95.64) = 3.252, d = .62, p < .008) than girls and preferred sport activities (t = (73.62) 5.64, d = 1.14, p < .0125) in large groups (t (69.34) = 4.036, d = .83, p < .0125). Meanwhile, girls preferred locomotor activities (t (113) = 3.19, d = .60, p < .0125), sedentary activities (t (113) = 2.829, d = .53, p < .0125) and smaller groups (t (112.63) = 4.259, d = .79, p < .0125). All 115 participants indicated that they wanted to spend time with their friends during recess.

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Jebb G. Remelius, Joseph Hamill, Jane Kent-Braun and Richard E.A. Van Emmerik

Individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) often have poor balance control that is especially apparent during dynamic tasks such as gait initiation (GI). The purpose of this study was to investigate how balance symptoms due to MS alter spatiotemporal variables, coordination, and temporal margins within the stability boundary during gait initiation. Twelve women with MS (Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS] mean = 4.0, SD = 1.4) and 12 women without MS (control group) initiated gait at their preferred speed. MS participants attained a slower anterior velocity because of smaller anterior center of mass displacements and took longer to complete the initiation of gait than the control group. MS participants exhibited a smaller posterior shift in center of pressure during GI and stepped with a longer dual support time than the control group. However, these changes may be due to differences in initiation velocity. Relative timing analysis showed invariance in postural and locomotor phases of gait initiation between groups. The MS group showed different coordination between anterior-posterior and medio-lateral center of pressure components while increasing temporal margins to the posterior and lateral stability boundaries in comparison with the control group. Overall, during gait initiation at their preferred speed the MS participants adopted a functional strategy that produces lower speed and reduced proximity to the stability boundaries prior to stepping.

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Peggy M. Roswal, Claudine Sherrill and Glenn M. Roswal

This study compared the effectiveness of data based and creative dance pedagogies in relation to motor skill performance and self-concept of mentally retarded students. Subjects (N=35) were moderately mentally retarded males and females, ages 11 to 16 years, in special education classes. Their mean age was 12.88 years in the data based group and 13.47 years in the creative dance group. Excluding testing, the study lasted 8 weeks. Each group received 40 lessons of 30 minutes each. Data based pedagogy was based on the work of Dunn, Morehouse, and Dalke (1979), and creative dance pedagogy was based primarily on the work of Riordan (Fitt & Riordan, 1980). Pretest and posttest data were collected through administration of the Data Based Dance Skills Placement Test, selected subtests of the Cratty Six-Category Gross Motor Test, and the Martinek-Zaichkowsky Self-Concept Scale. Multivariate analysis of covariance revealed no difference between pedagogies. The group means indicated improvement in dance skill performance but not in self-concept or body perception, balance, and gross and locomotor agility.

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Désirée B. Maltais, Claire Gane, Sophie-Krystale Dufour, Dominik Wyss, Laurent J. Bouyer, Bradford J. McFadyen, Karl Zabjek, Jan Andrysek and Julien I.A. Voisin

Little is known about the effects of acute exercise on the cognitive functioning of children with cerebral palsy (CP). Selected cognitive functions were thus measured using a pediatric version of the Stroop test before and after maximal, locomotor based aerobic exercise in 16 independently ambulatory children (8 children with CP), 6–15 years old. Intense exercise had: 1) a significant, large, positive effect on reaction time (RT) for the CP group (preexercise: 892 ± 56.5 ms vs. postexercise: 798 ± 45.6 ms, p < .002, d = 1.87) with a trend for a similar but smaller response for the typically developing (TD) group (preexercise: 855 ± 56.5 ms vs. postexercise: 822 ± 45.6 ms, p < .08, d = 0.59), and 2) a significant, medium, negative effect on the interference effect for the CP group (preexercise: 4.5 ± 2.5%RT vs. postexercise: 13 ± 2.9%RT, p < .04, d = 0.77) with no significant effect for the TD group (preexercise: 7.2 ± 2.5%RT vs. postexercise: 6.9 ± 2.9%RT, p > .4, d = 0.03). Response accuracy was high in both groups pre- and postexercise (>96%). In conclusion, intense exercise impacts cognitive functioning in children with CP, both by increasing processing speed and decreasing executive function.

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Gail M. Dummer, John L. Haubenstricker and David A. Stewart

The Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD) was used to assess the fundamental motor skills of 91 girls and 110 boys aged 4 to 18 years who attended two schools for students who are deaf. Average hearing loss, determined by better ear average, was 96.94 dB (SD = 14.40 dB). Modifications to the procedures for administering the TGMD included visual demonstrations and the use of signing to communicate instructions. The raw score means of subjects aged 4–10 years who were deaf were lower than those of the TGMD standardization sample of same-aged children who could hear at six of seven age levels on both the object-control and locomotor subscales. However, there were relatively small differences in the mean scores of the two groups. Subjects with mature movement patterns for the throw, kick, jump, and run performed better on quantitative tests for those skills than subjects with immature patterns. Typical age and gender patterns of skill acquisition were revealed for both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the fundamental motor skills examined.