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Marijke Hopman-Rock and Marja H. Westhoff

Edited by Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko

The Aging Well and Healthily (AWH) program consists of health education by peers and low-intensity exercise. It was evaluated via a small randomized controlled trial and a community intervention trial involving older adults in the Netherlands. Reasons stated for participation were to exercise (35%), to acquire information about health (28%), and for social reasons (12%). The program was rated 8.2 on a 10-point scale. Twenty-five percent of participants joined exercise groups after the program ended, and 28% intended to do so. The mean physical activity score improved from 2.6 to 4.6 at follow-up (F = 16.9, p = .00) and was for the least active participants significantly different from that of the control group (F = 22.9, p = .02). Four to 6 months later, 60% of respondents reported still doing the exercises regularly at home. It is concluded that AWH is a potentially effective program for older adults.

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Dennis Hamacher, Daniel Hamacher, Kathrin Rehfeld, Anita Hökelmann and Lutz Schega

Dancing is a complex sensorimotor activity involving physical and mental elements which have positive effects on cognitive functions and motor control. The present randomized controlled trial aims to analyze the effects of a dancing program on the performance on a motorcognitive dual task. Data of 35 older adults, who were assigned to a dancing group or a health-related exercise group, are presented in the study. In pretest and posttest, we assessed cognitive performance and variability of minimum foot clearance, stride time, and stride length while walking. Regarding the cognitive performance and the stride-to-stride variability of minimum foot clearance, interaction effects have been found, indicating that dancing lowers gait variability to a higher extent than conventional health-related exercise. The data show that dancing improves minimum foot clearance variability and cognitive performance in a dual-task situation. Multi-task exercises (like dancing) might be a powerful tool to improve motor-cognitive dual-task performance.

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Kathleen T. Rhyner and Amber Watts

Depressive symptoms are common in older adults, but antidepressant medications may be contraindicated or poorly tolerated in this population. Intervention studies demonstrate that exercise may be an effective alternative. This meta-analysis included 41 randomized controlled trials of aerobic and nonaerobic exercise interventions investigating the effect of exercise on depressive symptoms in adults aged 60 or older. A random effects model demonstrated that exercise was associated with significantly lower depression severity (SMD = 0.57, 95% CI 0.36–0.78). This effect was not significantly different for different ages of participants, types of control groups, or types of exercise interventions. Studies requiring a diagnosis of depression had significantly greater mean effect sizes than studies that did not require a depression diagnosis (Qbet = 6.843, df = 1, p = .009). These findings suggest that exercise is an effective treatment option for older individuals with depressive symptoms.

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Margie E. Lachman, Shevaun D. Neupert, Rosanna Bertrand and Alan M. Jette

The authors examined whether resistance training has an effect on working memory span. Participants included 210 community-residing older adults with at least one disability from the Strong for Life program, a randomized controlled trial that examined the effects of home-based resistance exercise. Memory was assessed with the WAIS backward digit span at baseline and 3 and 6 months into the intervention. Although there were no differences between the experimental treatment and control groups in average levels of memory change, within the treatment group change in resistance level during the intervention was a significant predictor of memory change, controlling for age, education, sex, and disability level. The results suggest that strength training can benefit memory among older adults, especially when using higher resistance levels.

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Jakob Tarp, Lars B. Andersen and Lars Østergaard

Background:

Cycling to and from school is an important source of physical activity (PA) in youth but it is not captured by the dominant objective method to quantify PA. The aim of this study was to quantify the underestimation of objectively assessed PA caused by cycling when using accelerometry.

Methods:

Participants were 20 children aged 11 to 14 years from a randomized controlled trial performed in 2011. Physical activity was assessed by accelerometry with the addition of heart rate monitoring during cycling to school. Global positioning system (GPS) was used to identify periods of cycling to school.

Results:

Mean minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during round-trip commutes was 10.8 (95% CI: 7.1−16.6). Each kilometer of cycling meant an underestimation of 9314 (95% CI: 7719−11238) counts and 2.7 (95% CI: 2.1−3.5) minutes of MVPA. Adjusting for cycling to school increased estimates of MVPA/day by 6.0 (95% CI: 3.8−9.6) minutes.

Conclusions:

Cycling to and from school contribute substantially to levels of MVPA and to mean counts/min in children. This was not collected by accelerometers. Using distance to school in conjunction with self-reported cycling to school may be a simple tool to improve the methodology.

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Dorothy Pekmezi, Shira Dunsiger, Ronnesia Gaskins, Brooke Barbera, Becky Marquez, Charles Neighbors and Bess Marcus

Background:

Due to high rates of inactivity and related chronic illnesses among Latinas,1 the current study examined the feasibility and acceptability of using pedometers as an intervention tool in this underserved population.

Methods:

Data were taken from a larger randomized, controlled trial2 and focused on the subsample of participants (N = 43) who were randomly assigned to receive a physical activity intervention with pedometers and instructions to log pedometer use daily and mail completed logs back to the research center each month for 6 months.

Results:

Retention (90.7% at 6 months) and adherence to the pedometer protocol (68.89% returned ≥ 5 of the 6 monthly pedometer logs) were high. Overall, participants reported increased physical activity at 6 months and credited pedometer use for helping them achieve these gains (75.7%). Participants who completed a high proportion (≥ 5/6) of pedometer logs reported significantly greater increases in physical activity and related process variables (stages of change, self-efficacy, behavioral processes of change, social support from friends) than those who were less adherent (completed < 5 pedometer logs).

Conclusions:

Pedometers constitute a low-cost, useful tool for encouraging self-monitoring of physical activity behavior in this at-risk group.

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Edward M. Phillips, Jeffrey Katula, Michael E. Miller, Michael P. Walkup, Jennifer S. Brach, Abby C. King, W. Jack Rejeski, Tim Church and Roger A. Fielding

Objectives:

To examine baseline characteristics and change in gait speed and Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) scores in participants medically suspended (MS) from a physical activity intervention (PA).

Design:

Randomized controlled trial.

Setting:

University and community centers.

Participants:

Sedentary older adults (N = 213) randomized to PA in the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Pilot (LIFE-P).

Measurements:

MS was defined as missing 3 consecutive PA sessions in adoption and transition phases or 2 wk in maintenance phase because of a health event.

Results:

In all, 122 participants completed PA without MS (NMS subgroup), 48 participants underwent MS and resumed PA (SR subgroup), and 43 participants underwent MS and did not complete PA (SNR subgroup). At baseline, SNR walked slower (p = .03), took more prescribed medications (p = .02), and had lower SPPB scores than NMS and SR (p = .02). Changes from baseline to Month 12 SPPB scores were affected by suspension status, adjusted mean (SE) SPPB change: SNR 0.0957 (0.3184), SR 0.9413 (0.3063), NMS 1.0720 (0.1871); p = .03.

Conclusions:

MS participants unable to return to complete the PA in a trial of mobility-limited sedentary older adults had slower walking speeds, lower SPPB scores, and a higher number of prescribed medications at baseline. Change in SPPB scores at 12 months was related to suspension status.

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Han C.G. Kemper

This paper reviews the growth and development of skeletal mass in youth and the effects of physical activity upon the bone mass in young people. The different methods to measure the bone mass are described such as anthropometrics, radiographics, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, quantitative computed tomography, and ultrasound. Two different mechanisms are important for the formation and plasticity of bone: a central hormonal mechanism (with estrogen production) and a local mechanism (based on mechanical forces of gravity and muscle contractions). This local mechanism is closely connected to physical activity patterns and therefore discussed in more detail. Thereafter the natural course of the development of the bone mass during youth is described, taking into account the pubertal stages of boys and girls and also the age at which the maximal bone mass (peak bone mineral density) will be reached. The last part is devoted to the effects of physical activity on bone mass based on results of randomized controlled trials. Although the number of experimental studies are scarce, significant effects of weight bearing activity and high impact strength training programs are shown on the side specific bone mineral density in both boys and girls.

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Colleen A. Cuthbert, Kathryn King-Shier, Dean Ruether, Dianne M. Tapp and S. Nicole Culos-Reed

Background:

Family caregivers are an important health care resource and represent a significant proportion of Canadian and US populations. Family caregivers suffer physical and psychological health problems because of being in the caregiver role. Interventions to support caregiver health, including physical activity (PA), are slow to be investigated and translated into practice.

Purpose:

To examine the evidence for PA interventions in caregivers and determine factors hampering the uptake of this evidence into practice.

Methods:

A systematic review and evaluation of internal and external validity using the RE-AIM (Reach, Efficacy/Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) framework was conducted. Randomized controlled trials or pretest/posttest studies of PA interventions were included.

Results:

Fourteen studies were published between 1997 and 2015. Methodological quality of studies and risk of bias was variable. External validity criteria were often not reported. Mean reporting levels were 1) reach, 53%; 2) efficacy/effectiveness, 73%; 3) adoption, 18%; 4) implementation, 48%; and 5) maintenance, 2%.

Conclusions:

The lack of reporting of components of internal and external validity hinders the integration of caregiver PA interventions into clinical or community settings. Researchers should focus on standardized outcomes, accepted reporting criteria, and balancing factors of internal and external validity, to advance the state of the science.

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Esther Suter, Walter Herzog, Kelly De Souza and Robert Bray

The present study was aimed at determining muscle inhibition (MI) and knee extensor moments in 42 subjects with unilateral anterior knee pain syndrome. The results were compared to a normal, healthy population with no history of knee injury. Also, the effects of 1 week of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) on MI and knee extensor moments were tested in a randomized controlled trial. At baseline, the involved leg showed significantly higher MI than the noninvolved leg. In both legs, MI was significantly higher and knee extensor moments lower than the corresponding values of the nonimpaired subjects. There was a direct relationship between knee pain during testing and the extent of MI. Higher MI, in turn, was associated with lower knee extensor moments. The study demonstrated significant MI in the quadriceps muscles of the involved and noninvolved legs of subjects with unilateral anterior knee pain syndrome. The results indicate that the noninvolved leg cannot be considered a normal control for a contralateral injury. NSAIDs did not affect MI or knee extensor moments, despite significantly reducing pain. This finding suggests that factors other than pain are responsible for the MI observed in this specific subject population, or that after removal of pain, more time is required to fully restore muscle function.