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Max J. Kurz, Joan E. Deffeyes, David J. Arpin, Gregory M. Karst and Wayne A. Stuberg

The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of a lower body positive pressure support system on the joint kinematics and activity of the lower extremity antigravity musculature of adults and children during walking. Adults (age = 25 ± 4 years) and children (age = 13 ± 2 years) walked at a preferred speed and a speed that was based on the Froude number, while 0–80% of their body weight was supported. Electrogoniometers were used to monitor knee and ankle joint kinematics. Surface electromyography was used to quantify the magnitude of the vastus lateralis and gastrocnemius muscle activity. There were three key findings: (1) The lower extremity joint angles and activity of the lower extremity antigravity muscles of children did not differ from those of adults. (2) The magnitude of the changes in the lower extremity joint motion and antigravity muscle activity was dependent upon an interaction between body weight support and walking speed. (3) Lower body positive pressure support resulted in reduced activation of the antigravity musculature, and reduced range of motion of the knee and ankle joints.

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Bradley Fawver, Garrett F. Beatty, Kelly M. Naugle, Chris J. Hass and Christopher M. Janelle

Emotional states influence whole-body movements during quiet standing, gait initiation, and steady state gait. A notable gap exists, however, in understanding how emotions affect postural changes during the period preceding the execution of planned whole-body movements. The impact of emotion-induced postural reactions on forthcoming posturomotor movements remains unknown. We sought to determine the influence of emotional reactions on center of pressure (COP) displacement before the initiation of forward gait. Participants (N = 23, 14 females) stood on a force plate and initiated forward gait at the offset of an emotional image (representing five discrete categories: attack, sad faces, erotica, happy faces, and neutral objects). COP displacement in the anteroposterior direction was quantified for a 2 second period during image presentation. Following picture onset, participants produced a posterior postural response to all image types. The greatest posterior displacement was occasioned in response to attack or threat stimuli compared with happy faces and erotica images. Results suggest the impact of emotional states on gait behavior begins during the motor planning period before the preparatory phase of gait initiation, and manifests in center of pressure displacement alterations.

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David R. Dolbow, Richard S. Farley, Jwa K. Kim and Jennifer L. Caputo

The purpose of this study was to examine the cardiovascular responses to water treadmill walking at 2.0 mph (3.2 km/hr), 2.5 mph (4.0 km/hr), and 3.0 mph (4.8 km/hr) in older adults. Responses to water treadmill walking in 92 °F (33 °C) water were compared with responses to land treadmill walking at 70 °F (21 °C) ambient temperature. After an accommodation period, participants performed 5-min bouts of walking at each speed on 2 occasions. Oxygen consumption (VO2), heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were significantly higher during therapeutic water treadmill walking than during land treadmill walking. Furthermore, VO2, HR, and RPE measures significantly increased with each speed increase during both land and water treadmill walking. SBP significantly increased with each speed during water treadmill walking but not land treadmill walking. Thus, it is imperative to monitor HR and blood pressure for safety during this mode of activity for older adults.

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Zachary S. Zeigler, Pamela D. Swan, Dharini M. Bhammar and Glenn A. Gaesser

Background:

The acute effect of low-intensity walking on blood pressure (BP) is unclear.

Purpose:

To determine if the acute use of a walking workstation reduces ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) in prehypertensive men and women.

Methods:

Ten prehypertensive adults participated in a randomized, cross-over study that included a control workday and a walking workstation workday. ABP was measured for 7 hour during the workday and for 6 hour after work.

Results:

Both systolic BP (SBP) (134 ± 14 vs. 137 ± 16 mmHg; P = .027) and diastolic BP (DBP) (79 ± 10 vs. 82 ± 12 mmHg; P = .001) were lower on the walking workstation day. Postwork hours (4:00 PM–10:00 PM), SBP (129 ± 13 vs. 133 ± 14 mmHg; P = .008), and DBP (74 ± 11 vs. 78 ± 13 mmHg; P = .001) were also lower on the walking workstation day. DBP load was significantly lower during the walking workstation day, with only 14% of the readings above 90 mmHg compared with 22% of the control day readings (P = .037).

Conclusion:

Accumulation of very-light-intensity physical activity (~2 METs) over the course of a single work day using a walking workstation may reduce BP burden in prehypertensive individuals.

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Ted A Kaplan

A case is presented of an adolescent high school athlete found to have mildly elevated systolic blood pressure (BP) at the preseason group physical examination. As part of the evaluation to clear him for participation, a graded exercise stress test was performed. The test revealed a systolic BP at peak exercise of 260 mm Hg. The rationale for hygienic and pharmacologic management of this situation is discussed, and the results of this process are detailed. This patient was finally treated with nifedipine after unacceptable results with lisinopril, pindolol, and nonpharmacological approaches. The graded exercise test can be a valuable part of the evaluation of a hypertensive athlete. Besides revealing the occasional dangerous superelevation of BP, the test results can reveal the individual’s cardiovascular response to stress. This can provide insight into the etiology of and prognosis for the patient’s problem. Follow-up testing should be done after any treatment is provided.

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Johann Auer, Robert Berent, Markus Prenninger, Thomas Weber, Klaus Kritzinger, Martin Veits, Gudrun Lamm, Elisabeth Lassnig and Bernd Eber

Context:

Effects of a single bout of exercise at moderate altitude on blood pressure (BP) are largely unknown.

Objective:

To evaluate the effect of a single exercise bout at moderate altitude on BP.

Design:

Prospective, observational.

Setting:

Field study, Alpine mountains.

Participants:

127 men, 71 women (138 normotensive, 60 hypertensive).

Intervention:

Exercise duration: 2.5 ± 0.4 h; 650-m difference in altitude.

Main Outcome Measures:

BP and heart rate (HR).

Results:

Hypertensives had (1) higher systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) before exercise (P < .01), whereas this difference was lost during exercise; (2) increased HR during the entire duration of exercise; and (3) significantly decreased SBP and DBP (P < .05) throughout the entire period of exercise.

Conclusions:

Exposure to a single exercise bout at moderate altitude is associated with a transient decrease in SBP and DBP, which is more pronounced in hypertensives.

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Young-Shin Lee and Susan S. Levy

Objectives:

To examine physical activity (PA) in multiple contexts (household, walking, and leisure-time PA) and blood pressure (BP) across gender and income among older adults living independently.

Methods:

A convenience sample of 372 older adults completed 2 BP measurements and PA questionnaires.

Results:

Older adults with high incomes (≥$30,000) engaged in less household activity, more leisure time PA and better controlled their BP than those with low incomes (<$30,000). Men walked more than women. Older women in the low-income group had less controlled BP than those women in the high-income group. Participants with normal or controlled BP were engaged in more household and walking activities than those with uncontrolled BP.

Conclusion:

Findings suggest that older men and women at high or low-income levels have different mode of PA and BP management that should be considered for intervention strategies.

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Chad Seifried and Matthew Papatheodorou

The main purpose of this article is to provide suggestions to coaches on how they can assist young athletes in pressure packed situations to realize an ideal performance state. Suggestions provided address controlling emotions, adopting coping methods, practicing under game situations, embracing physical routines along with mental rehearsals, and engaging in self reflection/challenges. The strategies and discussions below should appear as vital for coaches attempting to help assist a young person’s future mental and emotional development. Furthermore, it should educate coaches and potentially others (e.g., spectators and media) on how to better handle these situations or instances so they can avoid the production of negative consequences on the lives of young people (e.g., choking label, social anxiety, poor self-esteem or image).

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Gongbing Shan, Dayna Daniels and Rongri Gu

Numerous methods for studying the prevention of falls and age-related sensorimotor degradation have been proposed and tested. Some approaches are too impractical to use with seniors or too expensive for practitioners. Practitioners desire a simple, reliable technique. The goals of this research were to develop such an approach and to apply it in exploring the effect of Tai Chi on age-related sensorimotor degradation. The method employed artificial-neural-network (ANN) models trained by using individuals’ center-of-pressure (COP) measurements and age. Ninety-six White and Chinese adults without Tai Chi training were tested. In contrast, a third group, Chinese seniors with Tai Chi training, was tested to ascertain any influence from Tai Chi on sensorimotor aging. This study supported ANN technology with COP data as a feasible tool in the exploration of sensorimotor degradation and demonstrated that Tai Chi slowed down the effects of sensorimotor aging.

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Denise M. Hill, Nic Matthews and Ruth Senior

This study used qualitative methods to explore the stressors, appraisal mechanism, emotional response, and effective/ineffective coping strategies experienced by elite rugby union referees during pressurized performances. Participants included seven male rugby union referees from the United Kingdom (Mage = 27.85, SD = 4.56) who had been officiating as full-time professionals for between 1 and 16 years (M = 4.85, SD = 5.42). Data revealed that the referees encountered a number of stressors, which were appraised initially as a ‘threat’, and elicited negatively-toned emotions. The referees were able to maintain performance standards under pressure by adopting proactive, problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies which managed effectively the stressors and their emotions. However, the use of avoidance-coping, reactive control, and informal impression management were perceived as ineffective coping strategies, and associated with poor performance and choking. Recommendations are offered to inform the psychological skills training of rugby union referees.