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Cora Lynn Craig

Background:

Low levels of physical activity (PA) and fitness have long been a government concern in Canada; however, more than half of adults are inactive. This article examines factors influencing policy development and implementation using Canadian PA policy as a case study.

Methods:

Current and historical PA policy documents were amassed from a literature review, audit of government and non government websites and from requests to government officials in each jurisdiction directly responsible for PA. These were analyzed to determine policy content, results, barriers, and success factors.

Results:

The national focus for PA policy in Canada has devolved to a multilevel system that meets most established criteria for successful strategies. Earlier PA targets have been met; however, the prevalence of PA decreased from 2005 to 2007. Annual per capita savings in health care associated with achieving the earlier target is estimated at $6.15 per capita, yet a fraction of that is directed to promoting PA.

Conclusion:

Evidenced-based strategies that address multiple policy agendas using sector-specific approaches are needed. Sustained high-level commitment is required; advocacy grounded in metrics and science is needed to increase the profile of the issue and increase the commitments to PA policies in Canada and internationally.

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Simon Wang and Stuart M. McGill

Spine stability is ensured through isometric coactivation of the torso muscles; however, these same muscles are used cyclically to assist ventilation. Our objective was to investigate this apparent paradoxical role (isometric contraction for stability or rhythmic contraction for ventilation) of some selected torso muscles that are involved in both ventilation and support of the spine. Eight, asymptomatic, male subjects provided data on low back moments, motion, muscle activation, and hand force. These data were input to an anatomically detailed, biologically driven model from which spine load and a lumbar spine stability index was obtained. Results revealed that subjects entrained their torso stabilization muscles to breathe during demanding ventilation tasks. Increases in lung volume and back extensor muscle activation coincided with increases in spine stability, whereas declines in spine stability were observed during periods of low lung inflation volume and simultaneously low levels of torso muscle activation. As a case study, aberrant ventilation motor patterns (poor muscle entrainment), seen in one subject, compromised spine stability. Those interested in rehabilitation of patients with lung compromise and concomitant back troubles would be assisted with knowledge of the mechanical links between ventilation during tasks that impose spine loading.

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Esther Rind and Andy Jones

Background:

At the population level, the prevalence of physical activity has declined considerably in many developed countries in recent decades. There is some evidence that areas exhibiting the lowest activity levels are those which have undergone a particularly strong transition away from employment in physically demanding occupations. We propose that processes of deindustrialization may be causally linked to unexplained geographical disparities in levels of physical activity. While the sociocultural correlates of physical activity have been well studied, and prior conceptual frameworks have been developed to explain more general patterns of activity, none have explicitly attempted to identify the components of industrial change that may impact physical activity.

Methods:

In this work we review the current literature on sociocultural correlates of health behaviors before using a case study centered on the United Kingdom to present a novel framework that links industrial change to declining levels of physical activity.

Results:

We developed a comprehensive model linking sociocultural correlates of physical activity to processes associated with industrial restructuring and discuss implication for policy and practice.

Conclusions:

A better understanding of sociocultural processes may help to ameliorate adverse health consequences of employment decline in communities that have experienced substantial losses of manual employment.

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Jeremy M. Sheppard, Tim Gabbett and Russell Borgeaud

Purpose:

This case study evaluated the effect of repeated lateral movement and jumping training on repeated effort ability in a group of national team male volleyball players.

Methods:

Twelve volleyball players were assessed on their volleyball-specific repeated movement and jumping abilities using a volleyball-specific repeated effort test (RET) before and after 12 weeks of training. The athletes performed between 8 and 9 volleyball training sessions per week, with 5 to 6 of these sessions including specific training aimed at improving repeated effort ability. Typically these training sessions involved 8 to 12 repetitions of 2 to 3 block jumps over a 9-m lateral distance (ie, the athletes had to perform jumps and lateral movements, typical of front court play in volleyball). Population-specific repeatability data were used to determine whether any changes that may have occurred in this study were beyond the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for this testing procedure.

Results:

Improvements in all variables of the RET were observed for each athlete involved in the study, with a small-to-moderate magnitude observed for the mean changes in each variable (Cohen’s d, 0.21 to 0.59). All of the improvements in the results exceeded the MCID.

Conclusions:

These findings demonstrate that the RET is sensitive to training-induced changes. Lateral movement speed and repeated lateral movement speed, as well as jumping and repeated jumping ability are trainable qualities in high-performance volleyball players.

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Afroditi Stathi and Simon J. Sebire

Background:

Inner-city schools experience substantial difficulties in providing sufficient physical activity opportunities for their pupils. This study evaluated the Y-Active, an outreach physical activity and well-being program delivered in an inner-city primary school in London, UK by a third-sector partner.

Methods:

A process evaluation focusing on perceived effectiveness and implementation issues was conducted using qualitative case-study methodology. Semistructured interviews and focus groups were conducted with Year 5 and Year 6 pupils (N = 17, age range = 9 to 11 years), Y-Active sports leaders (N = 4), the school head teacher, class teachers (N = 2), and the Y-Active administrator. Transcripts were thematically analyzed and multiple informant and analyst triangulation performed.

Results:

The Y-Active leaders created a positive learning environment supporting autonomy, balancing discipline and structure and providing self-referenced feedback, excellence in tuition and a strong focus on fun and praise. Pupils reported improvements in self-confidence and competence, self-discipline and interpersonal relationships. School staff and Y-Active leaders highlighted that their partnership was built on trust, top-down leadership support and open lines of communication between the provider and the school.

Conclusions:

Collaboration between third sector service providers and inner-city schools represents a promising means of increasing children’s physical activity and well-being.

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Helen E. Parker, Brian A. Blanksby and Kian L. Quek

The use of buoyancy and propulsion aides in teaching young swimmers is contentious. Some believe that such aides provide an artificial crutch that retards learning of independent swimming. Others believe they provide valuable learning cues for progress. This study investigated the progress made by 7 year olds learning to swim with and without buoyancy and propulsion aides. A single primary class was divided into 2 matched-ability groups: aides (n = 10) and self-support (n = 9). Each group attended 10 daily, 40-min lessons prior to the school day. Unsupported stroking and kicking actions were videotaped in the last 10 min of each lesson and scored using the MERS-F scale. As a whole, significant improvements were revealed by the third lesson (p < .05), although no significant differences existed between groups. Case studies of the most rudimentary swimmers in each group confirmed that teaching frontcrawl to beginner swimmers using multiple buoyancy aides failed to enhance skills beyond those gained by using a kickboard only in 10 lessons.

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Kristin Hendricks, Risa Wilkerson, Christine Vogt and Scott TenBrink

Background:

Jackson, Michigan (population 36,000) started active living interventions to help solve residents' low physical activity levels. Jackson's experience can serve as a case study for beginning similar efforts in smaller communities.

Methods:

In 2003, Jackson began a 3-prong community intervention utilizing the 5P model to increase safe physical activity opportunities and encourage walking and biking for short trips. The focus included work on projects at 1) elementary schools, 2) worksites, and 3) city-wide networks.

Results:

Evaluation results show changes in attitudes toward active transportation (8% increase in children who thought walking to school was “safer” postintervention), intentions to try active transportation (43% of Smart Commute Day participants “would” smart commute more often postevent), and increased physical activity (the percentage of students walking to school more than doubled at 3 of 4 intervention schools). In addition, a community level observational study was conducted at 10 locations in the city in 2005 and 2006. The number of people seen using active transportation increased from 1,028 in 2005 to 1,853 people in 2006 (a 63% increase).

Conclusions:

Local community-driven projects to increase walking and biking can be effective by utilizing a variety of interventions, from the individual to the policy level.

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Jon Dawson, Suvi Huikuri and Francisco Armada

Background:

The process of working together across sectors to improve health and to influence its determinants is often referred to as intersectoral action for health. The Liverpool Active City strategy and action plan were launched in 2005, bringing together partners from diverse sectors such as education, transport, and civil society to boost levels of physical activity among the city’s residents.

Methods:

The research material was based on semistructured interviews with key stakeholders and on review and analysis of gray literature and media reports. A case-study method was used to analyze the experience.

Results:

The results show that Liverpool Active City succeeded in boosting levels of physical activity among the city’s residents and demonstrate how intersectoral action benefited the goals of the program and promoted common aims.

Conclusions:

Important lessons can be drawn from the experience of Liverpool Active City for public health professionals and policy makers. Success factors include the involvement of a broad range of agencies from a variety of sectors, which reinforced the sense of partnership in the physical activity agenda and supported the implementation of activities. The experience also demonstrated how intersectoral action brought benefits to the physical activity goals of Liverpool Active City.

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Torben Pottgiesser, Laura A. Garvican, David T. Martin, Jesse M. Featonby, Christopher J. Gore and Yorck O. Schumacher

Hemoglobin mass (tHb) is considered to be a main factor for sea-level performance after “live high–train low” (LHTL) altitude training, but little research has focused on the persistence of tHb following cessation of altitude exposure. The aim of the case study was to investigate short-term effects of various hematological measures including tHb upon completion of a simulated altitude camp. Five female cyclists spent 26 nights at simulated altitude (LHTL, 16.6 ± 0.4 h/d, 3000 m in an altitude house) where tHb was measured at baseline, at cessation of the camp, and 9 d thereafter. Venous blood measures (hemoglobin concentration, hematocrit, %reticulocytes, serum erythropoietin, ferritin, lactate dehydrogenase, and haptoglobin) were determined at baseline; on day 21 during LHTL; and at days 2, 5, and 9 after LHTL. Hemoglobin mass increased by 5.5% (90% confidence limits [CL] 2.5 to 8.5%, very likely) after the LHTL training camp. At day 9 after simulated LHTL, tHb decreased by 3.0% (90%CL −5.1 to −1.0%, likely). There was a substantial decrease in serum EPO (−34%, 90%CL −50 to −12%) at 2 d after return to sea level and a rise in ferritin (23%, 90%CL 3 to 46%) coupled with a decrease in %reticulocytes (−23%, 90%CL −34 to −9%) between day 5 and 9 after LHTL. Our findings show that following a hypoxic intervention with a beneficial tHb outcome, there may be a high probability of a rapid tHb decrease upon return to normoxic conditions. This highlights a rapid component in red-cell control and may have implications for the appropriate timing of altitude training in relation to competition.

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Dajo Sanders, Mathieu Heijboer, Ibrahim Akubat, Kenneth Meijer and Matthijs K. Hesselink

Purpose:

To assess if short-duration (5 to ~300 s) high-power performance can accurately be predicted using the anaerobic power reserve (APR) model in professional cyclists.

Methods:

Data from 4 professional cyclists from a World Tour cycling team were used. Using the maximal aerobic power, sprint peak power output, and an exponential constant describing the decrement in power over time, a power-duration relationship was established for each participant. To test the predictive accuracy of the model, several all-out field trials of different durations were performed by each cyclist. The power output achieved during the all-out trials was compared with the predicted power output by the APR model.

Results:

The power output predicted by the model showed very large to nearly perfect correlations to the actual power output obtained during the all-out trials for each cyclist (r = .88 ± .21, .92 ± .17, .95 ± .13, and .97 ± .09). Power output during the all-out trials remained within an average of 6.6% (53 W) of the predicted power output by the model.

Conclusions:

This preliminary pilot study presents 4 case studies on the applicability of the APR model in professional cyclists using a field-based approach. The decrement in all-out performance during high-intensity exercise seems to conform to a general relationship with a single exponential-decay model describing the decrement in power vs increasing duration. These results are in line with previous studies using the APR model to predict performance during brief all-out trials. Future research should evaluate the APR model with a larger sample size of elite cyclists.