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Makoto Ayabe, Sungjin Park, Roy J. Shephard and Yukitoshi Aoyagi

Background:

We examined the relative contributions of habitual physical activity and aerobic fitness to the prevention of arteriosclerosis.

Methods:

Elderly individuals (97 men and 109 women, aged > 65 y) each wore a uniaxial activity monitor continuously for 1 year, with activity data summarized as an average daily step count and duration of activity > 3 metabolic equivalents (METs). Aerobic fitness was assessed by a standardized 5-m walking test measure of maximal walking speed. Central arterial stiffness was determined using an automatic waveform analyzer measure of cardio-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV).

Results:

The cfPWV was negatively associated with daily step count, duration of activity > 3 METs, and maximal walking speed (P < .05). Multiple stepwise regression analysis revealed that the step count, duration of activity > 3 METs, and maximal walking speed were all significant predictors of cfPWV, accounting for 11%, 7%, and 4% of total variance, respectively.

Conclusions:

In contrast to findings from studies using potentially fallible questionnaires, our data suggest that a measure of health (arterial stiffness) is more closely related to objective measures of physical activity than to an estimate of aerobic fitness.

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Ryan D. Burns, Timothy A. Brusseau, Yi Fang, You Fu and James C. Hannon

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), aerobic fitness, and cardio-metabolic risk factors in Hispanic children from low-income U.S. schools.

Method:

Participants were 198 Hispanic children from low-income schools (Mean age = 10.3 ± 0.5 years; 119 girls, 79 boys). Waist circumference, height, and cardio-metabolic blood markers were collected in a fasted state. Estimated VO2 Peak scores were also collected. Multilevel generalized mixed effects models were employed to examine the independent effect of WHtR and aerobic fitness classification on a child meeting recommended levels for each cardio-metabolic blood marker.

Results:

A child having a WHtR < 0.5 related to meeting recommended levels for HDL cholesterol (OR = 3.25, p < .01), triglycerides (OR = 2.94, p < .01), glucose (OR = 3.42, p < .01), and related to a lower continuous Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP) score (β = −8.5 mmHg, p < .01). Aerobic fitness classification only independently related to meeting recommended levels for HDL cholesterol (OR = 2.94, p = .010).

Conclusion:

Having a WHtR < 0.5 independently associated with favorable cardio-metabolic blood markers and thus serves as an effective screening tool for cardio-metabolic risk in Hispanic children from low-income schools.

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Mark Kramer, Mark Watson, Rosa Du Randt and Robert W. Pettitt

does not reveal any metrics that delineate time limits of high-intensity performance, nor elements of anaerobic capacity. 4 , 6 , 7 The critical speed (CS) concept provides the advantage of quantifying mechanical measures associated with aerobic fitness (ie, CS) and the finite energy capacity for

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Denise M. Roche, Sarah Edmunds, Tim Cable, Mo Didi and Gareth Stratton

No studies to date have evaluated the relationship between exercise and microvascular function in youth with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Twenty-nine complication free children and adolescents with T1DM were assessed for skin microvascular reactivity, aerobic fitness (VO2peak) and physical activity. VO2peak but not physical activity was significantly and independently associated with maximal hyperemia of the skin microcirculation (p < .01). No significant associations were found between venoarte-riolar reflex (VAR) vasoconstriction and VO2peak or physical activity. Aerobic fitness may be an important indicator or mediator of effective microvascular endothelial function in youth with T1DM.

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Anne A. Delextrat, Sarah Warner, Sarah Graham and Emma Neupert

Background:

Although Zumba is practiced by millions of people worldwide, there is a paucity of research about its potential benefits. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of Zumba on physiological and psychological outcomes in healthy women.

Methods:

Cardiovascular fitness, body composition, physical self-perception and psychological well-being were assessed before and immediately after 8 weeks of Zumba performed 3 times weekly (Zumba group, n = 22, age: 26.6 ± 5.4 years old; height: 165.8 ± 7.1 cm) or no intervention (control group, n = 22, age: 27.9 ± 6.0 years old; height: 164.7 ± 6.2 cm). All variables were analyzed by a 2-way (Group × Time) analysis of variance with repeated measures, and a Bonferroni post hoc test. Pearson correlation coefficient assessed the relationship between changes in anthropometric, physiological and psychological variables.

Results:

Zumba provided significant positive changes in maximal aerobic fitness (+3.6%), self-perception of physical strength (+16.3%) and muscular development (+18.6%), greater autonomy (+8.0%), and purpose in life (+4.4%). No significant changes were observed in the control group. In addition, some psychological changes were significantly correlated to body fat at baseline, and changes in fitness.

Conclusions:

These results highlight that Zumba is beneficial to improve fitness and well-being in healthy women, but does not change body composition.

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Roy J. Shephard

Background:

Traditional approaches to exercise prescription have included a preliminary medical screening followed by exercise tests of varying sophistication. To maximize population involvement, qualified fitness and exercise professionals (QFEPs) have used a self-administered screening questionnaire (the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, PAR-Q) and a simple measure of aerobic performance (the Canadian Aerobic Fitness Test, CAFT). However, problems have arisen in applying the original protocol to those with chronic disease. Recent developments have addressed these issues.

Methods:

Evolution of the PAR-Q and CAFT protocol is reviewed from their origins in 1974 to the current electronic decision tree model of exercise screening and prescription.

Results:

About a fifth of apparently healthy adults responded positively to the original PAR-Q instrument, thus requiring an often unwarranted referral to a physician. Minor changes of wording did not overcome this problem. However, a consensus process has now developed an electronic decision tree for stratification of exercise risk not only for healthy individuals, but also for those with various types of chronic disease.

Conclusions:

The new approach to clearance greatly reduces physician referrals and extends the role of QFEPs. The availability of effective screening and simple fitness testing should contribute to the goal of maximizing physical activity in the entire population.

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Giovani dos Santos Cunha and Gabriela Tomedi Leites

We appreciate the efforts of Welsman and Armstrong of broaching the topic of how to appropriately interpret aerobic fitness in children, supported by data collected in their laboratory over the last 20 years ( 1 – 5 , 27 – 29 ). Interpreting the effects of growth, biological maturation, and

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Tom W. Macpherson and Matthew Weston

Purpose:

To examine the effect of low-volume sprint interval training (SIT) on the development (part 1) and subsequent maintenance (part 2) of aerobic fitness in soccer players.

Methods:

In part 1, 23 players from the same semiprofessional team participated in a 2-wk SIT intervention (SIT, n = 14, age 25 ± 4 y, weight 77 ± 8 kg; control, n = 9, age 27 ± 6 y, weight 72 ± 10 kg). The SIT group performed 6 training sessions of 4–6 maximal 30-s sprints, in replacement of regular aerobic training. The control group continued with their regular training. After this 2-wk intervention, the SIT group was allocated to either intervention (n = 7, 1 SIT session/wk as replacement of regular aerobic training) or control (n = 7, regular aerobic training with no SIT sessions) for a 5-wk period (part 2). Pre and post measures were the YoYo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (YYIRL1) and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max).

Results:

In part 1, the 2-week SIT intervention had a small beneficial effect on YYIRL1 (17%; 90% confidence limits ±11%), and VO2max (3.1%; ±5.0%) compared with control. In part 2, 1 SIT session/wk for 5 wk had a small beneficial effect on VO2max (4.2%; ±3.0%), with an unclear effect on YYIRL1 (8%; ±16%).

Conclusion:

Two weeks of SIT elicits small improvements in soccer players’ high-intensity intermittent-running performance and VO2max, therefore representing a worthwhile replacement of regular aerobic training. The effectiveness of SIT for maintaining SIT-induced improvements in high-intensity intermittent running requires further research.

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Giovani Dos Santos Cunha, Marco Aurélio Vaz, Jeam Marcel Geremia, Gabriela T. Leites, Rafael Reimann Baptista, André Luiz Lopes and Álvaro Reischak-Oliveira

The present study investigated the effects of pubertal status on peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), respiratory compensation point (RCP), and ventilatory threshold (VT) in young soccer players using different body size descriptors. Seventy-nine soccer players (14 prepubescent, 38 pubescent and 27 postpubescent) participated in this study. A maximal exercise test was performed to determine the VO2peak, RCP, and VT. Ultrasonography was used to measure lower limb muscle volume (LLMV). LLMV (mL-b) was rated as the most effective body size descriptor to normalize VO2peak (mLO2•mL-0.43•min-1), RCP (mLO2•mL-0.48•min-1), and VT (mLO2•mL-0.40•min-1). The values of VO2peak, RCP, and VT relative to allometric exponents derived by LLMV were similar among groups (p > .05; 0.025 < η2 < 0.059) when the effect of chronological age was controlled. Allometric VO2peak, RCP, and VT values were: 100.1 ± 7.9, 107.5 ± 9.6, and 108.0 ± 10.3 mLO2.mL-0.43•min-1; 51.8 ± 5.3, 54.8 ± 4.7, and 57.3 ± 5.8 mLO2•mL-0.48•min-1; and 75.7 ± 7.1, 79.4 ± 7.0, and 80.9 ± 8.3 mLO2•mL-0.40•min-1 for prepubertal, pubertal, and postpubertal groups, respectively. Maturity status showed no positive effect on VO2peak, RCP, and VT when the data were properly normalized by LLMV in young soccer players. Allometric normalization using muscle volume as a body size descriptor should be used to compare aerobic fitness between soccer players heterogeneous in chronological age, maturity status, and body size.

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Katja Borodulin, Timo Lakka, Tiina Laatikainen, Raija Laukkanen, Hannu Kinnunen and Pekka Jousilahti

Background:

In large population studies, comparisons of physical activity, self-rated fitness, and measured aerobic fitness are seldom reported. Measuring aerobic fitness is time-consuming and expensive, thus alternative methods are needed.

Objectives:

To investigate the recently established Polar Fitness Test (PFT) as a method to predict maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max, a measure of maximal aerobic power), to assess distribution of predicted VO2max by gender and age, and to compare predictions to self-reported leisure time physical activity and self-rated fitness level in a large Finnish population sample.

Methods:

The study population comprised 5979 men and women aged 25 to 74 years who participated in the National FINRISK Study. Subjects filled in standardized questionnaires assessing self-rated fitness level and total, conditioning, commuting, and non-conditioning leisure time physical activity. The PFT was performed by a trained nurse at the study site and was based on resting heart rate measurements, gender, age, height, weight, and self-reported physical activity. Healthy individuals and those with a self-reported cardiovascular disease were analyzed separately.

Results:

The mean predicted VO2max was 38.1 and 35.1 ml/kg/min in healthy men and women, respectively. In both genders, predicted VO2max declined significantly by age. Individuals with cardiovascular disease had lower VO2max predictions than healthy persons. Healthy men reported total leisure time physical activity slightly less than healthy women. Self-rated fitness level and conditioning and commuting leisure time physical activity were independently associated with predicted VO2max, while no correlation between non-conditioning leisure time physical activity and predicted aerobic fitness was found.

Conclusion:

PFT was a feasible method to predict aerobic fitness in a large population study and was related both to self-rated fitness and self-reported physical activity. Aerobic fitness was associated with conditioning and commuting physical activity, but not with non-conditioning physical activity.