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Leon Mabire, Ramakrishnan Mani, Lizhou Liu, Hilda Mulligan and David Baxter

Background:

Brisk walking is the most popular activity for obesity management for adults. We aimed to identify whether participant age, sex and body mass index (BMI) influenced the effectiveness of brisk walking.

Methods:

A search of 9 databases was conducted for randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Two investigators selected RCTs reporting on change in body weight, BMI, waist circumference, fat mass, fat-free mass, and body fat percentage following a brisk walking intervention in obese adults.

Results:

Of the 5072 studies screened, 22 met the eligibility criteria. The pooled mean differences were: weight loss, –2.13 kg; BMI, –0.96 kg/m2; waist circumference, –2.83 cm; fat mass, –2.59 kg; fat-free mass, 0.29 kg; and body fat percentage, –1.38%. Meta-regression of baseline BMI showed no effect on changes.

Conclusions:

Brisk walking can create a clinically significant reduction in body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and fat mass for obese men and women aged under 50 years. Obese women aged over 50 years can achieve modest losses, but gains in fat-free mass reduce overall change in body weight. Further research is required for men aged over 50 years and on the influence of BMI for all ages and sexes.

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Joel C. Craddock, Yasmine C. Probst and Gregory E. Peoples

Humans consuming vegetarian-based diets are observed to have reduced relative risk for many chronic diseases. Similarly, regular physical activity has also been shown to assist in preventing, and reducing the severity of these conditions. Many people, including athletes, acknowledge these findings and are adopting a vegetarian-based diet to improve their health status. Furthermore, athletes are incorporating this approach with the specific aim of optimizing physical performance. To examine the evidence for the relationship between consuming a predominately vegetarian-based diet and improved physical performance, a systematic literature review was performed using the SCOPUS database. No date parameters were set. The keywords vegetarian OR vegan AND sport OR athlete OR training OR performance OR endurance were used to identify relevant literature. Included studies (i) directly compared a vegetarian-based diet to an omnivorous/mixed diet, (ii) directly assessed physical performance, not biomarkers of physical performance, and (iii) did not use supplementation emulating a vegetarian diet. Reference lists were hand searched for additional studies. Seven randomized controlled trials and one cross-sectional study met the inclusion criteria. No distinguished differences between vegetarian-based diets and omnivorous mixed diets were identified when physical performance was compared. Consuming a predominately vegetarian-based diet did not improve nor hinder performance in athletes. However, with only 8 studies identified, with substantial variability among the studies’ experimental designs, aims and outcomes, further research is warranted.

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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.

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Farnoosh Mafi, Soheil Biglari, Alireza Ghardashi Afousi and Abbas Ali Gaeini

To investigate the effects of resistance training and epicatechin supplementation on muscle strength, follistatin, and myostatin in older adults with sarcopenia, a total of 62 males with sarcopenia (68.63 ± 2.86 years) underwent a supervised 8-week randomized controlled trial. Participants were divided into resistance training (RT), epicatechin (EP), resistance training+epicatechin (RT+EP), and placebo (PL) in a double-blind method. A pretest and posttest measurement was conducted. One-way analysis of variance was used to analyze between-group differences. The significantly greatest increase was observed in follistatin, follistatin/myostatin ratio, leg press, and chest press in RT+EP comparing RT, EP, and PL groups, whereas myostatin decreased significantly only in RT+EP and RT groups. However, appendicular muscle mass index and timed up and go test were enhanced significantly in all experimental groups than the PL group (p ≤ .05). Consequently, by comparing the results between three experimental groups, the greatest improvement was detected in the RT+EP group. Therefore, using two interventions simultaneously seems to have a better impact on improving muscle growth factors and preventing the progression of sarcopenia.

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Kimberlee Bethany Bonura and Gershon Tenenbaum

Background:

The objective of this study was to assess the effect of a yoga intervention on psychological health in older adults.

Method:

A randomized controlled trial study, conducted at 2 North Florida facilities for older adults. Subjects were 98 older adults, ages 65 to 92. Participants were randomly assigned to chair yoga, chair exercise, and control groups and assessed preintervention, postintervention, and 1-month follow-up on the State Anger Expression Inventory, State Anxiety Inventory, Geriatric Depression Scale, Lawton’s PGC Morale Scale, General Self-Efficacy Scale, Chronic Disease Self-Efficacy Scales, and Self- Control Schedule.

Results:

Yoga participants improved more than both exercise and control participants in anger (Cohen’s d = 0.89 for yoga versus exercise, and 0.90 for yoga versus control, pretest to posttest; and d = 0.90 and 0.72, pretest to follow-up), anxiety (d = 0.27, 0.39 and 0.62, 0.63), depression (d = 0.47, 0.49 and 0.53, 0.51), well-being (d = 0.14, 0.49 and 0.25, 0.61), general self-efficacy (d = 0.63, 1.10 and 0.30, 0.85), and self-efficacy for daily living (d = 0.52, 0.81 and 0.27, 0.42). Changes in self-control moderated changes in psychological health.

Conclusions:

Over a 6-week period, our findings indicate yoga’s potential for improving psychological health in older adults.

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Carla Cristiane da Silva, Ligia Maxwell Pereira, Jefferson Rosa Cardoso, Jonathan Patrick Moore and Fábio Yuzo Nakamura

The positive effects of physical training on heart rate variability (HRV) in healthy adults are widely recognized; however, the responsiveness to training in healthy children has not yet been established. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of physical training on HRV in prepubertal healthy children. Systematic computerized searches were performed from 1950 to 2012 in the following databases: Medline, Embase, Cinahl, Lilacs, Scielo, SportDiscus, ProQuest; Web of Science; PEDro; Academic Search Premier and the Cochrane Library. The key words used were: heart rate variability, autonomic nervous system, exercise training, physical activity, continuous exercise, intermittent exercise, children, prepubescent, adolescents, and healthy. Although the database search initially identified 6,164 studies, after removing duplicates and excluding by title the number was 148, however, only 2 studies were included in this systematic review. The meta-analysis compared the experimental group (n = 29) with the control group (n = 28) for the HRV parameters: RR intervals, SDNN, RMSSD, pNN50, LF (log), HF (log), LF/HF and Total Power (log). The meta-analysis demonstrated similar HRV indices between both the experimental and control groups. In conclusion, the available results from randomized controlled trials do not support the hypothesis that physical training improves HRV in healthy children[AUQ2].

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Jennifer L. Etnier

Alzheimer's disease is a chronic illness characterized by clinical cognitive impairment. A behavioral strategy that is being explored in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease is physical activity. Evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) testing the effects of physical activity for cognitively normal older adults supports that physical activity benefits cognitive performance. Evidence from prospective studies supports a protective effect of physical activity with reductions in the risk of cognitive decline ranging from 28% to 45%. RCTs with cognitively impaired older adults also generally support positive effects with greater benefits evident for aerobic interventions. Research examining the potential moderating role of apolipoprotein E (APOE) has yielded mixed results, but the majority of the studies support that physical activity most benefits those who are at greatest genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease. Future directions for research are considered with an emphasis on the need for additional funding to support this promising area of research.

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Mindy Millard-Stafford, Jeffrey S. Becasen, Michael W. Beets, Allison J. Nihiser, Sarah M. Lee and Janet E. Fulton

A systematic review of literature was conducted to examine the association between changes in health-related fitness (e.g., aerobic capacity and muscular strength/endurance) and chronic disease risk factors in overweight and/or obese youth. Studies published from 2000–2010 were included if the physical activity intervention was a randomized controlled trial and reported changes in fitness and health outcomes by direction and significance (p < .05) of the effect. Aerobic capacity improved in 91% and muscular fitness improved in 82% of measures reported. Nearly all studies (32 of 33) reported improvement in at least one fitness test. Changes in outcomes related to adiposity, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, metabolic, and mental/emotional health improved in 60%, 32%, 53%, 41%, and 33% of comparisons studied, respectively. In conclusion, overweight and obese youth can improve physical fitness across a variety of test measures. When fitness improves, beneficial health effects are observed in some, but not all chronic disease risk factors.

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Leslie N. Silk, David A. Greene and Michael K. Baker

Research examining the preventative effects of calcium and vitamin D supplementation has focused on children and females, leaving the effects on male bone mineral density (BMD) largely unexplored. Thus, the aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to examine the efficacy of calcium supplementation, with or without vitamin D for improving BMD in healthy males. Medline, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus, Academic Search Complete, CINHAHL Plus and PubMed databases were searched for studies including healthy males which provided participants calcium supplementation with or without vitamin D and used changes to BMD as the primary outcome measure. Between trial standardized mean differences of percentage change from baseline in BMD of femoral neck, lumbar spine, total body and total hip sites were calculated. Nine studies were included in the systematic review with six references totaling 867 participants contributing to the meta-analysis. Significant pooled effects size (ES) for comparison between supplementation and control groups were found at all sites included in the meta-analysis. The largest effect was found in total body (ES = 0.644; 95% CI = 0.406–0.883; p < .001), followed by total hip (ES = 0.483, 95% CI= 0.255–0.711, p < .001), femoral neck (ES = 0.402, 95% CI = 0.233–0.570, p = .000) and lumbar spine (ES = 0.306, 95% CI = 0.173–0.440, p < .001). Limited evidence appears to support the use of calcium and vitamin D supplementation for improving BMD in older males. There is a need for high quality randomized controlled trials, especially in younger and middle-aged male cohorts and athletic populations to determine whether supplementation provides a preventative benefit.

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Wigand Poppendieck, Oliver Faude, Melissa Wegmann and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

Cooling after exercise has been investigated as a method to improve recovery during intensive training or competition periods. As many studies have included untrained subjects, the transfer of those results to trained athletes is questionable.

Methods:

Therefore, the authors conducted a literature search and located 21 peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials addressing the effects of cooling on performance recovery in trained athletes.

Results:

For all studies, the effect of cooling on performance was determined and effect sizes (Hedges’ g) were calculated. Regarding performance measurement, the largest average effect size was found for sprint performance (2.6%, g = 0.69), while for endurance parameters (2.6%, g = 0.19), jump (3.0%, g = 0.15), and strength (1.8%, g = 0.10), effect sizes were smaller. The effects were most pronounced when performance was evaluated 96 h after exercise (4.3%, g = 1.03). Regarding the exercise used to induce fatigue, effects after endurance training (2.4%, g = 0.35) were larger than after strength-based exercise (2.4%, g = 0.11). Cold-water immersion (2.9%, g = 0.34) and cryogenic chambers (3.8%, g = 0.25) seem to be more beneficial with respect to performance than cooling packs (−1.4%, g= −0.07). For cold-water application, whole-body immersion (5.1%, g = 0.62) was significantly more effective than immersing only the legs or arms (1.1%, g = 0.10).

Conclusions:

In summary, the average effects of cooling on recovery of trained athletes were rather small (2.4%, g = 0.28). However, under appropriate conditions (whole-body cooling, recovery from sprint exercise), postexercise cooling seems to have positive effects that are large enough to be relevant for competitive athletes.