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Jennifer G. Walker, Kelly R. Evenson, William J. Davis, Philip Bors and Daniel A. Rodríguez

Background:

This comparative case study investigates 2 successful community trail initiatives, using the Active Living By Design (ALBD) Community Action Model as an analytical framework. The model includes 5 strategies: preparation, promotion, programs, policy, and physical projects.

Methods:

Key stakeholders at 2 sites participated in in-depth interviews (N = 14). Data were analyzed for content using Atlas Ti and grouped according to the 5 strategies.

Results:

Preparation: Securing trail resources was challenging, but shared responsibilities facilitated trail development. Promotions: The initiatives demonstrated minimal physical activity encouragement strategies. Programs: Community stakeholders did not coordinate programmatic opportunities for routine physical activity. Policy: Trails’ inclusion in regional greenway master plans contributed to trail funding and development. Policies that were formally institutionalized and enforced led to more consistent trail construction and safer conditions for users. Physical Projects: Consistent standards for wayfinding signage and design safety features enhanced trail usability and safety.

Conclusions:

Communities with different levels of government support contributed unique lessons to inform best practices of trail initiatives. This study revealed a disparity between trail development and use-encouragement strategies, which may limit trails’ impact on physical activity. The ALBD Community Action Model provided a viable framework to structure cross-disciplinary community trail initiatives.

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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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Ana Anton-Solanas, Barry V. O’Neill, Tessa E. Morris and Joe Dunbar

Purpose:

To assess changes in body composition and monitor cognitive function, subjective well-being, and physiological stress, as measured by salivary hormones and markers of mucosal immunity, during an Antarctic expedition.

Methods:

A 36-y-old man (188.2 cm height, 94.5 kg body mass) took part in a world-record attempt. A total-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan and measurement of 8 skinfolds and 5 girths were performed before and after the expedition. In addition, daily subjective data were recorded (sleep quality, total hours of sleep, energy levels, perceived exertion, mood, muscle soreness, and muscle/joint pain) along with distance covered and hours of physical activity per day. As a measure of cognitive function, the athlete completed a computerized battery of tasks (Axon Sports Cognitive Priming Application) every third morning. Saliva samples were collected before, during, and after the expedition to determine salivary cortisol (sCort), testosterone (sT), alpha amylase (sAA), and secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA).

Results:

The athlete lost 5.3 kg body mass and sum of 8 skinfolds decreased from 73 mm to 59 mm from preexpedition to postexpedition. Psychomotor speed declined over the course of the expedition. sT increased and sCort decreased throughout, and sAA and sIgA peaked toward the end of the expedition.

Conclusions:

This case study provides novel data about the physiological and cognitive impact of an Antarctic expedition. The findings may inform strategies for future expeditions, allowing individuals undertaking expeditions of this nature to better prepare for success.

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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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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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Maria Francesca Piacentini and Romain Meeusen

Purpose:

This longitudinal case study evaluated the effectiveness of an online training-monitoring system to prevent nonfunctional overreaching (NFOR).

Methods:

A female master track and field athlete was followed by means of a daily online training diary (www.spartanova.com) and a weekly profile of mood state (POMS). The online diary consists of objective training data and subjective feelings reported on a 10-cm visual analog scale. Furthermore, parameters that quantify and summarize training and adaptation to training were calculated. The novelty consists in the inclusion of a specific measuring parameter tested to detect NFOR (OR score).

Results:

During track-season preparation, the athlete was facing some major personal changes, and extratraining stress factors increased. Despite the fact that training load (TL) did not increase, the or score showed a 222% and then a 997% increase compared with baseline. POMS showed a 167% increase in fatigue, a 38% decrease in vigor, a 32% increase in depression scores, and a total mood increase of 22%, with a 1-wk shift compared with the OR score. A 41% decrease in TL restored the OR score and POMS to baseline values within 10 d.

Conclusion:

The results demonstrate that immediate feedback obtained by “warning signals” to both athletes and coaches, based on individual baseline data, seems an optimal predictor of FOR/NFOR.

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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.

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Laura Capranica and Mindy L. Millard-Stafford

A prevailing theory (and practical application) is that elite performance requires early childhood skill development and training across various domains, including sport. Debate continues whether children specializing early (ie, training/competition in a single sport) have true advantage compared with those who sample various sports early and specialize in a single sport later (adolescence). Retrospective data and case studies suggest either model yields elite status depending upon the sport category (ie, situational: ball games, martial arts, fencing; quantitative: track and feld, swimming, skiing; or qualitative: gymnastics, diving, figure skating). However, potential risks of early specialization include greater attrition and adverse physical/emotional health outcomes. With the advent of the IOC Youth Olympic Games, increased emphasis on global youth competition has unknown implications but also represents a potential platform for investigation. Modification of youth competition formats should be based upon multidisciplinary research on psycho-physiological responses, and technical-tactical behaviors during competition. The assumption that a simple scaled-down approach of adult competitions facilitates the development of technical/tactical skills of youth athletes is not necessarily substantiated with field-based research. Relatively little evidence exists regarding the long-term effects of rigorous training and competitive schedules on children in specific sports. It is clear that more prospective studies are needed to understand the training dose that optimally develops adaptations in youth without inducing dropout, overtraining syndrome, and/or injury. Such an approach should be sport specific as well as gender based. Until such evidence exists, coaches and sport administrators will continue to rely upon their sport-specific dogma to influence programmatic development of our most vulnerable population.

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Stephen A. Ingham, Barry W. Fudge and Jamie S. Pringle

This case study observed the training delivered by a 1500-m runner and the physiological and performance change during a 2-y period. A male international 1500-m runner (personal best 3:38.9 min:s, age 26 y, height 1.86 m, body mass 76 kg) completed 6 laboratory tests and 14 monitored training sessions, during 2 training years. Training distribution and volume was ascertained from training diary and spot-check monitoring of heart rate and accelerometry measurements. Testing and training information were discussed with coach and athlete from which training changes were made. In the first training year, low-intensity training was found to be performed above the prescribed level, which was adjusted with training and coach support in y 2 (training zone < 80% of vVO2max, y 1 = 20%; y 2 = 55%). “Tempo” training was also performed at an excessively high intensity (Δ [blood lactate] 5–25 min of tempo run, y 1 = Δ6.7 mM, y 2 = Δ2.5 mM). From y 1 to 2, there was a concomitant increase in the proportion of training in the high-intensity zone of 100 to 130% vVO2max from 7 to 10%. Values for VO2max increased from 72 to 79 mL · kg−1 · min, economy improved from 210 to 206 mL · kg−1 · min, and 1500-m performance time improved from 3:38.9 to 3:32.4 min:s from the beginning of y 1 to the end of y 2. This case shows a modification in training methodology that was coincident with a greater improvement in physiological capability and furtherance in performance improvement.

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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.