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Violaine Sevrez, Guillaume Rao, Eric Berton and Reinoud J. Bootsma

Five elite gymnasts performed giant circles on the high bar under different conditions of loading (without and with 6-kg loads attached to the shoulders, waist or ankles). Comparing the gymnasts’ kinematic pattern of movement with that of a triple-pendulum moving under the sole influence of nonmuscular forces revealed qualitative similarities, including the adoption of an arched position during the downswing and a piked position during the upswing. The structuring role of nonmuscular forces in the organization of movement was further reinforced by the results of an inverse dynamics analysis, assessing the contributions of gravitational, inertial and muscular components to the net joint torques. Adding loads at the level of the shoulders, waist or ankles systematically influenced movement kinematics and net joint torques. However, with the loads attached at the level of the shoulders or waist, the load-induced changes in gravitational and inertial torques provided the required increase in net joint torque, thereby allowing the muscular torques to remain unchanged. With the loads attached at the level of the ankles, this was no longer the case and the gymnasts increased the muscular torques at the shoulder and hip joints. Together, these results demonstrate that expert gymnasts skillfully exploit the operative nonmuscular forces, employing muscle force only in the capacity of complementary forces needed to perform the task.

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Tiffany Young and Chantelle Sharpe

Background:

Grandparents and the grandchildren they raise may experience stress related to their caregiving relationship that negatively impacts their health. Thus, there is a need to develop intergenerational health promotion interventions for these kinship families.

Methods:

An 8-week intergenerational physical activity intervention for kinship families was developed and implemented. The specific goal was to understand the process of implementing the intervention. Content analysis of observational data provided an in-depth account of the intervention’s process (ie, recruitment, dose delivered, dose received, fidelity, and context).

Results:

Community and support service organizations referred more participants to the study than individual stakeholders. Most participants attended approximately 10 classes, and the grandparents were more engaged than the grandchildren during the classes. Intervention fidelity was confirmed with the fidelity checklist and observational notes. Health emerged as a barrier to participation, while the intergenerational nature of the intervention was a facilitator. Lastly, the context domain described how the grandparents’ complex lives affected their ability to participate, while the dedication of the recreation staff helped the intervention to proceed efficiently.

Conclusion:

The distinct details gleaned from this study can provide guidance on how to develop and implement future intergenerational interventions.

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Etienne Guillaud, Martin Simoneau, Gabriel Gauthier and Jean Blouin

The control of goal-directed arm movements performed during whole-body displacements is far from being understood. Recent studies suggested that the compensatory arm movements that allow individuals to preserve hand-in-space trajectory during unexpected body motion are controlled by sensorimotor, automatic-like processes. We tested this hypothesis comparing both the accuracy of movements directed towards body-fixed or Earth-fixed target during body rotations and the amount of interference of the reaching tasks on a concurrent cognitive task. Participants reached for a memorized 55 cm distant straight-ahead target in darkness which was about 20 cm lower than the initial finger position. The target was either body-fixed or Earth-fixed. At reaching onset, participants could be rotated in yaw. The concurrent task consisted of a verbal reaction time (RT) to an auditory stimulus. RTs increased when participants reached for the target while they were rotated. However, this increase was not significantly different for body-fixed and Earth-fixed targets. Reaching accuracy was greater for body-fixed than for Earth-fixed targets. A control experiment suggested that the errors in the Earth-fixed target condition arose from a difficulty in the organization of movements which necessitate both the production of active forces at the shoulder joint (to compensate for body rotation) and a concomitant decrease of muscular activation to lower the arm during reaching movements. These findings suggest that reaching for Earth-fixed or body-fixed targets during body rotation cannot be considered as being purely automatic tasks.

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Kelly R. Evenson and Sara B. Satinsky

Background:

National plans are increasingly common but infrequently evaluated. The 2010 United States National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) provided strategies to increase population levels of physical activity. This paper describes (i) the initial accomplishments of the NPAP sector teams, and (ii) results from a process evaluation to determine how the sectors operated, their cross-sector collaboration, challenges encountered, and positive experiences.

Methods:

During 2011, a quarterly reporting system was developed to capture sector-level activities. A year-end interview derived more detailed information. Interviews with 12 sector leads were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for common themes.

Results:

The 6 sectors worked on goals from the implementation plan that focused broadly on education, promotion, intervention, policy, collaboration, and evaluation. Through year-end interviews, themes were generated around operations, goal setting, and cross-sector collaboration. Challenges to the NPAP work included lack of funding and time, the need for marketing and promotion, and organizational support. Positive experiences included collaboration, efficiency of work, enhanced community dynamic, and accomplishments toward NPAP goals.

Conclusions:

These initial results on the NPAP sector teams can be used as a baseline assessment for future monitoring. The lessons learned may be useful to other practitioners developing evaluations around state- or national-level plans.

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Olga L. Sarmiento, Thomas L. Schmid, Diana C. Parra, Adriana Díaz-del-Castillo, Luis Fernando Gómez, Michael Pratt, Enrique Jacoby, José D. Pinzón and John Duperly

Background:

Studies assessing the association between health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) with physical activity (PA) and built environment (BE) characteristics are limited.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1,334 adults from Bogotá, to assess the associations between HR-QOL with PA and BE characteristics. HR-QOL was measured using the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instruments. PA was measured using the International PA Questionnaire. BE characteristics included the dimensions of density, diversity, design, and access to mass-transit. Analysis included multilevel modeling.

Results:

Adults who reported meeting PA recommendations and participating in the Ciclovía were more likely to have a high mean score of HR-QOL and were more likely to perceive their health status as good/excellent. Adults who reported biking for transportation were more likely to have a high mean score of HR-QOL. Regarding BE characteristics, land-use heterogeneity was associated with HR-QOL, perceived good health status and being positive about the future. Park density was associated with HR-QOL, perceived health status good/excellent and being positive about the future. Mass-transit stations availability was negatively associated with HR-QOL.

Conclusion:

This study provides preliminary evidence that HR-QOL is associated with PA and BE characteristics among adults in an urban setting of the developing world.

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Richard R. Rosenkranz, Greg J. Welk and David A. Dzewaltowski

Background:

Active recreation sessions taking place within after-school programs (ASP) present an opportunity for attending children to attain part of the recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). This cross-sectional study’s purpose was to assess relationships between microlevel ASP environmental characteristics and physical activity and sedentary behavior (SED).

Methods:

During 161 ASP active recreation sessions, 240 children from 7 schools wore Actigraph GT1M accelerometers and were observed up to 6 times per year, over 3 years. To provide microlevel environmental data, trained observers recorded session times, location, duration, organization, equipment, and number of children and staff. Unadjusted bivariate correlations and multivariable regression analyses were used to assess the influence of microlevel environmental variables on MVPA and SED, with regression models controlling for relevant covariates.

Results:

Across all ASP active recreation sessions, children spent 39 ± 15% in MVPA and 16 ± 11% in SED. Session location, boy-to-girl ratio, and duration were significantly related to MVPA in the regression model. For SED, location and duration were significant influences in the model.

Conclusions:

Both location and duration appear to be modifiable correlates of group physical activity level, which may serve to inform intervention efforts to promote physical activity in ASP.

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Jeff Vallance, Susanne L. Lesniak, Lisa J. Belanger and Kerry S. Courneya

Background:

We report the development and assessment of a physical activity (PA) guidebook called Step Up to the Challenge that is being used to support a PA behavior change intervention in a randomized trial examining PA and disease-free survival in colon cancer survivors.

Methods:

Content for the PA guidebook was constructed based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Expert judges (N = 51) included oncologists, rehabilitation practitioners, colon cancer survivors, and TPB researchers. All expert judges completed the Maine Area Health Education Center checklist for evaluating written health information. A subset of TPB expert judges (n = 11) also assessed the degree of match between the guidebook content and TPB constructs.

Results:

Expert judges indicated that the PA guidebook achieved desirable attributes for organization, writing style, appearance, appeal, feasibility, and appropriateness. For the TPB assessment, all mean item-content relevance ratings indicated at least a “very good match” between the PA guidebook content and the TPB constructs.

Conclusions:

Our guidebook successfully targets the TPB constructs known to influence PA behavior change and contains suitable and appropriate written health information. This guidebook will be an integral component of the behavioral support program designed to determine the effects of PA on disease-free survival in colon cancer survivors.

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Stephan Swinnen, Joost Vandenberghe and Erik Van Assche

This study sought to determine the relationships between the cognitive styles field dependence-independence and reflection-impulsivity and the acquisition of a gross motor skill in an unstructured learning environment. In reference to the first cognitive style construct, it was hypothesized that field-independent subjects perform better than field-dependent subjects because they provide organization when the material to be learned lacks structure, leading them to rely on their analyzing and restructuring ability. The second construct refers to cognitive inhibition required for response uncertainty tasks as well as motor impulse inhibition. Subjects (57 boys, 65 girls) were 13-year-old junior high school students. Several visual perceptual tests were administered and gymnastic performance scores were measured at pretest, during the learning session, and posttest. The hypothesis that field-independent subjects are more successful in an unstructured learning environment than field-dependent subjects was confirmed for boys only. The correlations between the reflection-impulsivity variables and gymnastic performance were generally low, and no support could be found for the hypothesis that reflective subjects are more successful in learning the skill than impulsive subjects.

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Eloise Elliott, Emily Jones and Sean Bulger

Background:

Modeled after the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP), ActiveWV 2015: The West Virginia Physical Activity Plan was developed to provide strategic direction for physical activity promotion within the state. The purpose of this manuscript is to describe the systematic approach taken in developing ActiveWV.

Method:

Plan development began with establishing capacity and leadership among key stakeholders representing all societal sectors. A multiphase, statewide decision-making process allowed for input across sectors and geographic regions. The process results identified five priority areas that served as the conceptual framework for ActiveWV. Sector teams, comprised of key organization stakeholders across the eight sectors, finalized the sector-specific strategies and tactics using the NPAP evidence-based recommendations, results from a formalized strategic process, and the teams’ expertise and experience.

Results:

ActiveWV was officially released on January 19, 2012 at the State Capitol in Charleston, West Virginia. Community events throughout the state surrounded the release and celebrated West Virginia Physical Activity Day. Ongoing implementation and dissemination efforts are underway at state and local levels.

Conclusions:

As the NPAP calls for states and communities to develop plans that meet the needs of their particular context, other states may find the lessons learned from West Virginia helpful in the development process.

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Terry Marsh, Kathryn Pitkin Derose and Deborah A. Cohen

Background:

Parks provide numerous opportunities for physical activity (PA). Previous studies have evaluated parks’ physical features, but few have assessed how park staff influence PA.

Methods:

We conducted semistructured interviews with 49 park directors, focusing on perceptions of their role, park programs, marketing and outreach, external collaborations, and PA promotion. Directors also completed a questionnaire providing demographics, education and training, and other personal characteristics.

Results:

Park directors’ descriptions of their roles varied widely, from primarily administrative to emphasizing community interaction, though most (70% to 80%) reported offering programs and community interaction as primary. Including PA in current programs and adding PA-specific programs were the most commonly reported ways of increasing PA. Also noted were facility and staffing improvements, and conducting citywide marketing. Many directors felt inadequately trained in marketing. Most parks reported community collaborations, but they appeared fairly superficial. An increasing administrative burden and bureaucracy were recurring themes throughout the interviews.

Conclusions:

Staff training in marketing and operation of PA programs is needed. Partnerships with health departments and organizations can help facilitate the PA promotion potential of parks. As there are competing views of how parks should be managed, standardized benchmarks to evaluate efficiency may help to optimize usage and PA promotion.