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Mohsen Maddah, Zahra Akbarian, Solmaz Shoyooie, Maryam Rostamnejad and Mehdi Soleimani

Background:

Regular exercise is an important aspect of physical activity for people living in urban areas. We examined prevalence of regular exercise in leisure times and some related factors in middle aged men and women in northern Iran.

Method:

A cross-sectional survey was undertaken on 1425 women and 676 men in 2 main cities in northern Iran. Information on exercise habits was collected using a self-administrated questionnaire. Regular exercise was defined as any kind of recreational or sport physical activity other than walking performed three or more days per week for at least 20 minutes. Questions on perceived barriers on regular exercise and walking habit were also included in the questionnaire.

Results:

Findings showed that 11.2% of the participants (9% in women and 12.8% in men P < .05) did exercise regularly. Prevalence of doing regular exercise was inversely related to age in women but not in men. Educated women were more likely to do regular exercise. The most common perceived barrier for regular exercise was time insufficiency.

Conclusion:

Only a small proportion of the study men and women had sustainable regular exercise for 1 year. Regular exercise was more common among young and well educated women than older women and the men.

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Ariane Bélanger-Gravel, Lise Gauvin, Daniel Fuller and Louis Drouin

Background:

Favorable public opinion and support for policies are essential to favor the sustainability of environmental interventions. This study examined public perceptions and support for active living policies associated with implementing a public bicycle share program (PBSP).

Methods:

Two cross-sectional population-based telephone surveys were conducted in 2009 and 2010 among 5011 adults in Montréal, Canada. Difference-in-differences analyses tested the impact of the PBSP on negative perceptions of the impact of the PBSP on the image of the city, road safety, ease of traveling, active transportation, health, and resistance to policies.

Results:

People living closer to docking stations were less likely to have negative perceptions of the effect of the PBSP on the image of the city (OR = 0.5; 95% CI, 0.4−0.8) and to be resistant to policies (OR = 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6−1.0). The likelihood of perceiving negative effects on road safety increased across time (OR = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.2−1.8). Significant interactions were observed for perceptions of ease of traveling (OR = 0.5; 95% CI, 0.4−0.8), active transportation (OR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4−1.0), and health (OR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4−0.8): likelihood of negative perceptions decreased across time among people exposed.

Conclusion:

Findings indicate that negative perceptions were more likely to abate among those living closer to the PBSP.

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Kyra Hamilton and Katherine M. White

Background:

Parents are at risk for physical inactivity; however, few studies have designed physical activity (PA) interventions specifically applied to individuals with young children. To ensure the effectiveness of interventions, it may be useful to first elicit the needs from the target population and incorporate salient strategies identified to the design and delivery of a resultant intervention. We aimed to explore strategies for what to include in and how to best deliver a program designed to increase parental PA.

Methods:

Twelve parents (6 mothers, 6 fathers) of children younger than 5 years participated in focus group discussions exploring strategies for an intervention program designed to increase parental PA.

Results:

A range of themes such as Focus on the Children and Flexible Life/Family Plans imbedded in strategies such as persuasion and information, problem-solving, skill building, and environmental approaches were identified. In addition, a range of strategies for how to best deliver a parental PA intervention evidenced in emerging themes such as Diverse and Brief and Individualized Approach was discussed.

Conclusions:

Future research should continue to adopt a ground up, community-based approach to the development and implementation of interventions for this at-risk group to ensure sustained involvement in regular PA.

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Randall L. Wilber

“Live high-train low” (LH+TL) altitude training allows athletes to “live high” for the purpose of facilitating altitude acclimatization, as characterized by a significant and sustained increase in endogenous erythropoietin and subsequent increase in erythrocyte volume, while simultaneously enabling them to “train low” for the purpose of replicating sea-level training intensity and oxygen flux, thereby inducing beneficial metabolic and neuromuscular adaptations. In addition to natural/terrestrial LH+TL, several simulated LH+TL devices have been developed including nitrogen apartments, hypoxic tents, and hypoxicator devices. One of the key issues regarding the practical application of LH+TL is what the optimal hypoxic dose is that is needed to facilitate altitude acclimatization and produce the expected beneficial physiological responses and sea-level performance effects. The purpose of this review is to examine this issue from a research-based and applied perspective by addressing the following questions: What is the optimal altitude at which to live, how many days are required at altitude, and how many hours per day are required? It appears that for athletes to derive the hematological benefits of LH+TL while using natural/terrestrial altitude, they need to live at an elevation of 2000 to 2500 m for >4 wk for >22 h/d. For athletes using LH+TL in a simulated altitude environment, fewer hours (12-16 h) of hypoxic exposure might be necessary, but a higher elevation (2500 to 3000 m) is required to achieve similar physiological responses.

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David E. Krebs, Peter H. Velyvis and Mark W. Rogers

This study examined the prevalence of protective stepping and accompanying preparatory postural responses associated with lateral weight transfer (WT) while subjects attempted to sustain stationary standing. The subjects were 92 healthy young and older adults and persons with vestibular hypo-function. Force platform and whole-body-motion recordings were used to evaluate the prevalence of stepping and WT responses during stationary standing (eyes open or closed) using a semi-tandem foot position. WT components were also evaluated for volitionally requested step initiation, and as a function of support base configuration and direction of stepping among younger subjects. Only 10% of trials by subjects with bilateral vestibular hypofunction (BVH) during semi-tandem standing with eyes closed were completed without a step, while 31% of subjects with UVH, 69% of healthy elders, and all young healthy subjects were able to stand for the entire 7-sec trials. WT responses always preceded volitional steps from a standard feet-parallel orientation but occurred in only 13% of the spontaneous steps. The prevalence of WT was influenced by the direction of volitional stepping from semi-tandem standing, but not by the initial standing width. Spontaneous stepping to maintain standing balance is a naturally occurring and prevalent behavior among older adults and persons with vestibular hypo-function during tests of quasi-static standing. Differences between volitional and spontaneous step initiation involving the prevalence of preparatory lateral WT are a complex function of motor planning, mechanical constraints, and functional context.

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Dru A. Henson, David C. Nieman, Andy D. Blodgett, Diane E. Butterworth, Alan Utter, J. Mark Davis, Gerald Sonnenfeld, Darla S. Morton, Omar R. Fagoaga and Sandra L. Nehlsen-Cannarella

The influence of exercise mode and 6% carbohydrate (C) versus placebo (P) beverage ingestion on lymphocyte proliferation, natural killer cell cytotoxicily (NKCA), Interleukin (IL)-1ß production, and hormonal responses to 2.5 hr of intense running and cycling (~75% V˙O2max) was measured in 10 triathletes serving as their own controls. The C versus P condition (but not exercise mode) resulted in higher plasma glucose concentrations, lower plasma cortisol concentrations, reduced poslexercise lymphocytosis and NKCA, and a lessened T-cell reduction during recovery. No condition or mode effects were observed for concanavalin A and phytohemagglutinin-induced lymphocyte proliferation. Significant mode (but not condition) effects were observed for lipopolysaccharide-induced IL-1ß production over time. However, when expressed per monocyte, the mode effect was abolished and a sustained suppression in IL-1 ß/monocyte was observed in all sessions throughout recovery. These data indicate that carbohydrate ingestion significantly affects plasma glucose and cortisol concentrations, blood lymphocyte counts, and NKCA, whereas exercise mode has no effect on these parameters.

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Tamara Vehige Calise and Sarah Martin

Background:

Physical inactivity is one of the top 3 risk factors associated with an increased prevalence of obesity and other chronic diseases. The public health infrastructure positions state health departments to address physical inactivity. To examine preparedness, all 50 health departments were assessed, using the 5 benchmarks developed by CDC for physical activity and public health practice, on their capacity to administer physical activity programs.

Methods:

States were scored on a 5-point scale for each benchmark. The top 2 high and low scores were combined to create 2 categories. Exact Chi-square analyses were performed.

Results:

States with CDC obesity funding scored higher on 4 benchmarks than states without. States with a state physical activity plan scored higher on all benchmarks than states without. States with a physical activity coalition scored higher on 2 benchmarks than states without.

Conclusions:

At the time of the assessment, approximately 20% of state physical activity programs could have improved in the use of evidence-based strategies and planning and evaluation approaches. Furthermore, many programs seemed to have limited sustainability. The findings of this report serve as a baseline of the capacity and infrastructure of state health department physical activity programs.

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Kate Heelan, H. Jason Combs, Bryce M. Abbey, Paul Burger and Todd Bartee

Background:

The decline in active commuting to and from school in the United States is, in part, due to urban design standards and public policies that promote automobile travel and discourage pedestrian activity.

Purpose:

The current investigation examines active commuting at neighborhood schools and how it is altered by distance to school, student age and its potential impact on Body Mass Index.

Methods:

Demographic and transportation datasets were obtained for 5367 elementary students (K−5th grade) and middle school students (6th−8th grade) in 2 Midwestern communities.

Results:

4379 (81.6%) students were successfully geocoded and 21.9% actively commute to school at least half of the time meeting the Healthy People 2010 objective 22−14. Of those students who could potentially actively commute to school (0.5 mile for grades K−5 and 1 mile for grades 6−8) 36.6% are passive commuters. No significant negative associations were found between BMI z-score or BMI percentile with accumulation of activity through active commuting (frequency × distance) for elementary (r = −0.04, P = .27) or middle school students (r = .027, P = .56).

Conclusion:

Many elementary students living within 0.3−0.4 miles are being driven to school. Promoting pedestrian-friendly communities and making healthy and sustainable transportation choices should be priorities for community leaders and school administrators.

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James A. Dimmock, Marylène Gagné, Lauren Proud, Timothy C. Howle, Amanda L. Rebar and Ben Jackson

Sustained attention has been devoted to studying the factors that support (or thwart) individuals’ enjoyment of, interest in, and value judgments regarding their exercise activities. We employed a resistance-inducing (i.e., inoculation theory) messaging technique with the aim of protecting these desirable perceptions in the face of environmental conditions designed to undermine one’s positive exercise experiences. Autonomously motivated exercisers (N = 146, M age = 20.57, SD = 4.02) performed a 25-min, group-based, instructor-led exercise circuit, in which the activities were deliberately monotonous, and during which the confederate instructor acted in a disinterested, unsupportive, and critical manner. Shortly before the session, participants received either a control message containing general information about the exercise class or an inoculation message containing a forewarning about potential challenges to participants’ enjoyment/interest/value perceptions during the class, as well as information about how participants might maintain positive perceptions in the face of these challenges. Despite there being no between-conditions differences in presession mood or general exercise motives, inoculated (relative to control) participants reported greater interest/enjoyment in the exercise session and higher perceptions of need support from the instructor. Perceptions of need support mediated the relationship between message condition and interest/enjoyment.

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Daniel S. Kirschenbaum and Robert J. Smith

In this study, experimenters (pseudo-coaches) provided feedback that varied in valence, sequence, and amount to 50 male college students. A laboratory analogue paradigm was used that included a basketball-like underhand free throw task in which subjects first were instructed on proper technique and then took 10 baseline shots (trials) followed by 2 blocks of 20 trials each. Subjects were randomly assigned. Some interacted with a pseudo-coach who made no comments during the two experimental trial blocks (control), while others received feedback (6-8 comments per trial block) that was response-specific, emotionally oriented, and provided in one of four sequences: positive-positive, negative-negative, positive-negative, or negative-positive. Based on prior research on coach behavior and social psychological studies of interpersonal behavior, we hypothesized that both of the continuous feedback groups would show performance decrements and associated reactions to the coach and the task. These predictions were supported regarding performance and, to some extent, regarding a measure of sustained self-observation. Discussion includes interpretation of the nominally superior performance of the control group, the nonsignificant results on the subjective evaluation measures, and implications of these findings in view of external validity criteria and prior analyses in the emerging behavioral technology of coaching.