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Julian D. Pillay, Tracy L. Kolbe-Alexander, Karin I. Proper, Willem van Mechelen and Estelle V. Lambert

Background:

Brisk walking is recommended as a form of health-enhancing physical activity. This study determines the steps/minute rate corresponding to self-paced brisk walking (SPBW); a predicted steps/minute rate for moderate physical activity (MPA) and a comparison of the 2 findings.

Methods:

A convenience sample (N = 58: 34 men, 24 women, 31.7 ± 7.7yrs), wearing pedometers and a heart rate (HR) monitor, performed SPBW for 10 minutes and 5 indoor sessions, regulated by a metronome (ranging from 60–120 steps/minute). Using steps/minute and HR data of the trials, a steps/minute rate for MPA was predicted. Adjustments were subsequently made for aerobic fitness (using maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) estimates), age, and sex as possible contributors to stepping rate differences.

Results:

Average steps/minute rate for SPBW was 118 ± 9 (116 ± 9; 121 ± 8 for men/women, respectively; P = .022); predicted steps/minute rate for MPA was 122 ± 37 (127 ± 36; 116 ± 39 for men/women, respectively; P < .99) and was similar to steps/minute rate of SPBW (P = .452), even after adjusting for age, sex, and aerobic fitness.

Conclusion:

Steps/minute rates of SPBW correlates closely with targeted HR for MPA, independent of aerobic fitness; predicted steps/minute rate for MPA relates closely to steps/minute rates of SPBW. Findings support current PA messages that use the term brisk walking as a reference for MPA.

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J. Dru Marshall and Marcel Bouffard

The purposes of the study were to determine if there is a difference in gross motor skill movement competencies between obese and nonobese children; whether Quality Daily Physical Education (QDPE) programs facilitated the development of movement skill in obese children; and whether there is an association between aerobic fitness level and motor performance results. A 2 Sex (male, female) × 2 Group (obese, nonobese) × 2 Age Categories (Grade 1, Grade 4) × 2 Program (QDPE, non-QDPE) completely randomized factorial design was used. Movement competency (Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD)) and aerobic fitness (20 m shuttle run test) were assessed in 100 age-, sex-, and school-matched obese and nonobese pairs. A significant three-way interaction of Program × Group × Sex was found for the TGMD total score, suggesting that QDPE programs facilitate the development of gross motor skills in those children who are less movement competent to begin with, regardless of their obesity status. Correlations showed that aerobic fitness level was predictive of the TGMD scores. This study provides evidence in support of QDPE programs.

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Elsa Heyman, Christelle Toutain, Paul Delamarche, Phanélie Berthon, David Briard, Hala Youssef, Marc DeKerdanet and Arlette Gratas-Delamarche

Sixteen postmenarcheal Type 1 diabetic adolescent girls were randomized into training (involving aerobic and strength exercises) and nontraining groups. Body composition (skinfold thickness), aerobic fitness (PWC170), plasma lipids, serum apolipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), leptin, and adiponectin were assessed before and after the 6-month period. After the 6-month period, fat mass and leptin increased significantly in the nontraining group but not in the training group. Conversely, in the latter group, fat-free mass increased (P < .01). Moreover, PWC170 improved and apolipoproteinB:apolipoproteinA-1 ratio decreased with physical training (P < .05). Thus, physical training reduces cardiovascular risks and the increase of insulin resistance risk factors in diabetic adolescent girls.

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Tine Torbeyns, Bas de Geus, Stephen Bailey, Lieselot Decroix, Jeroen Van Cutsem, Kevin De Pauw and Romain Meeusen

Background:

Physical activity is positively associated with physical health, cognitive performance, brain functioning and academic performance. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of bike desks in the classroom on adolescents’ energy expenditure, physical health, cognitive performance, brain functioning and academic performance.

Methods:

Forty-four adolescents were randomly assigned to control group (CG) or intervention group (IG). During 5 months, the IG used a bike desk for 4 class hours/week. Energy expenditure was measured during 6 consecutive days. Anthropometric parameters, aerobic fitness, academic performance, cognitive performance and brain functioning were assessed before (T0) and after (T1) the intervention.

Results:

Energy expenditure of the IG was significantly higher during the class hours in which they used the bike desks relative to normal class hours. The CG had a significantly higher BMI at T1 relative to T0 while this was not significantly different for the IG. Aerobic fitness was significantly better in the IG at T1 relative to T0. No significant effects on academic performance cognitive performance and brain functioning were observed.

Conclusions:

As the implementation of bike desks in the classroom did not interfere with adolescents’ academic performance, this can be seen as an effective means of reducing in-class sedentary time and improving adolescents’ physical health.

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Laura Chaddock, Michelle W. Voss and Arthur F. Kramer

Our increasingly inactive lifestyle is detrimental to physical and cognitive health. This review focuses on the beneficial relation of physical activity and aerobic fitness to the brain and cognitive health in a youth and elderly population to highlight the need to change this pattern. In children, increased physical activity and higher levels of aerobic fitness have been associated with superior academic achievement and cognitive processes. Differences in brain volumes and brain function of higher-fit and lower-fit peers are potential mechanisms underlying the performance differences in cognitive challenges. We hope that this research will encourage modifications in educational policies that will increase physical activity during the school day. In addition, older adults who participate in physical activity show higher performance on a variety of cognitive tasks, coupled with less risk of cognitive impairment. The cognitive enhancements are in part driven by less age-related brain tissue loss and increases in the efficiency of brain function. Given the increasing aging population and threat of dementia, research about the plasticity of the elderly active brain has important public health implications. Collectively, the data support that participation in physical activity could enhance daily functioning, learning, achievement, and brain health in children and the elderly.

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Mirko Schmidt, Katja Jäger, Fabienne Egger, Claudia M. Roebers and Achim Conzelmann

Although the positive effects of different kinds of physical activity (PA) on cognitive functioning have already been demonstrated in a variety of studies, the role of cognitive engagement in promoting children’s executive functions is still unclear. The aim of the current study was therefore to investigate the effects of two qualitatively different chronic PA interventions on executive functions in primary school children. Children (N = 181) aged between 10 and 12 years were assigned to either a 6-week physical education program with a high level of physical exertion and high cognitive engagement (team games), a physical education program with high physical exertion but low cognitive engagement (aerobic exercise), or to a physical education program with both low physical exertion and low cognitive engagement (control condition). Executive functions (updating, inhibition, shifting) and aerobic fitness (multistage 20-m shuttle run test) were measured before and after the respective condition. Results revealed that both interventions (team games and aerobic exercise) have a positive impact on children’s aerobic fitness (4–5% increase in estimated VO2max). Importantly, an improvement in shifting performance was found only in the team games and not in the aerobic exercise or control condition. Thus, the inclusion of cognitive engagement in PA seems to be the most promising type of chronic intervention to enhance executive functions in children, providing further evidence for the importance of the qualitative aspects of PA.

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Samuel Ryan, Aaron J. Coutts, Joel Hocking and Thomas Kempton

Purpose:

To examine the influence of a range of individual player characteristics and match-related factors on activity profiles during professional Australian football matches.

Methods:

Global positioning system (GPS) profiles were collected from 34 professional Australian football players from the same club over 15 competition matches. GPS data were classified into relative total and high-speed running (HSR; >20 km/h) distances. Individual player aerobic fitness was determined from a 2-km time trial conducted during the preseason. Each match was classified according to match location, season phase, recovery length, opposition strength, and match outcome. The total number of stoppages during the match was obtained from a commercial statistics provider. A linear mixed model was constructed to examine the influence of player characteristics and match-related factors on both relative total and HSR outputs.

Results:

Player aerobic fitness had a large effect on relative total and HSR distances. Away matches and matches lost produced only small reductions in relative HSR distances, while the number of rotations also had a small positive effect. Matches won, more player rotations, and playing against strong opposition all resulted in small to moderate increases in relative total distance, while early season phase, increased number of stoppages, and away matches resulted in small to moderate reductions in relative total distance.

Conclusions:

There is a likely interplay of factors that influence running performance during Australian football matches. The results highlight the need to consider a variety of contextual factors when interpreting physical output from matches.

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Dajo Sanders, Grant Abt, Matthijs K.C. Hesselink, Tony Myers and Ibrahim Akubat

Purpose:

To assess the dose-response relationships between different training-load methods and aerobic fitness and performance in competitive road cyclists.

Methods:

Training data from 15 well-trained competitive cyclists were collected during a 10-wk (December–March) preseason training period. Before and after the training period, participants underwent a laboratory incremental exercise test with gas-exchange and lactate measures and a performance assessment using an 8-min time trial (8MT). Internal training load was calculated using Banister TRIMP, Edwards TRIMP, individualized TRIMP (iTRIMP), Lucia TRIMP (luTRIMP), and session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE). External load was measured using Training Stress Score (TSS).

Results:

Large to very large relationships (r = .54–.81) between training load and changes in submaximal fitness variables (power at 2 and 4 mmol/L) were observed for all training-load calculation methods. The strongest relationships with changes in aerobic fitness variables were observed for iTRIMP (r = .81 [95% CI .51–.93, r = .77 [95% CI .43–.92]) and TSS (r = .75 [95% CI .31–.93], r = .79 [95% CI .40–.94]). The strongest dose-response relationships with changes in the 8MT test were observed for iTRIMP (r = .63 [95% CI .17–.86]) and luTRIMP (r = .70 [95% CI .29–.89).

Conclusions:

Training-load quantification methods that integrate individual physiological characteristics have the strongest dose-response relationships, suggesting this to be an essential factor in the quantification of training load in cycling.

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Lucie Péloquin, Pierre Gauthier, Gina Bravo, Guy Lacombe and Jean-Sébastien Billiard

The purposes of the present study were (a) to evaluate the test-retest reliability of the Price et al. (1988) 5-min walking field test, (b) to assess the validity of the test as an estimate of aerobic fitness, and (c) to derive a predictive model for estimating V˙O2 peak. The subjects were men and women age ≥50 with knee osteoarthritis. A high intraclass correlation coefficient was obtained in the reliability study, which included 60 subjects who did the 5-min walk twice within a maximum of 11 days. For the validity study, distances walked at the first walking trial were compared with V˙O2 peak values measured by a maximal treadmill test. The best predictive model included the following predictor variables: distance walked in 5 min, age, sex, and weight. Results indicate that the 5-minutc walking field test is a reliable and valid method for estimating V˙O2 peak in this population.

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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.