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Toshiki Ohta, Izumi Tabata and Yumiko Mochizuki

Edited by Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko

The Japanese National Physical Activity and Health Promotion Guidelines were compiled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan. A broad definition of physical activity was adopted in this report. Objectives of physical activity were (a) maintaining and promoting health, (b) preventing and treating disease, (c) reducing stress, (d) promoting development in childhood, (e) maintaining and improving independence in older people, (f) managing symptoms associated with menopause, and (g) promoting general psychological well-being.

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Toshiki Ohta, Izumi Tabata and Yumiko Mochizuki

Edited by Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko

The Japanese National Physical Activity and Health Promotion Guidelines were compiled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan. A broad definition of physical activity was adopted in this report. Objectives of physical activity were (a) maintaining and promoting health, (b) preventing and treating disease, (c) reducing stress, (d) promoting development in childhood, (e) maintaining and improving independence in older people, (f) managing symptoms associated with menopause, and (g) promoting general psychological well-being.

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Elisa A. Marques, Fátima Baptista, Rute Santos, Susana Vale, Diana A. Santos, Analiza M. Silva, Jorge Mota and Luís B. Sardinha

This cross-sectional study was designed to develop normative functional fitness standards for the Portuguese older adults, to analyze age and gender patterns of decline, to compare the fitness level of Portuguese older adults with that of older adults in other countries, and to evaluate the fitness level of Portuguese older adults relative to recently published criterion fitness standards associated with maintaining physical independence. A sample of 4,712 independent-living older adults, age 65–103 yr, was evaluated using the Senior Fitness Test battery. Age-group normative fitness scores are reported for the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles. Results indicate that both women and men experience age-related losses in all components of functional fitness, with their rate of decline being greater than that observed in other populations, a trend which may cause Portuguese older adults to be at greater risk for loss of independence in later years. These newly established normative standards make it possible to assess individual fitness level and provide a basis for implementing population-wide health strategies to counteract early loss of independence.

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Zong-Ming Li, Shouchen Dun, Daniel A. Harkness and Teresa L. Brininger

The purpose of the current study was to examine motion enslaving characteristics of multiple fingers during isolated flexion of the distal interphalangeal joints. Because the distal interphalangeal joints are flexed by multiple tendons of the single flexor digitorum profundus, the current experimental design provided a unique advantage to understand inter-finger enslaving effects due to the flexor digitorum profundus. Eight subjects were instructed to flex the distal inter-phalangeal joint of each individual finger from the fully extended position to the fully flexed position as quickly as possible. Maximal angular displacements, velocities, or accelerations of individual fingers were used to calculate the enslaving effects. An independence index, defined as the ratio of the maximal displacement of a master finger to the sum of the maximal displacements of the master and slave fingers, was used to quantify relative independence of each finger. The angular displacements of the index, middle, ring, and little fingers were 68.6° (±7.7), 68.1° (±10.1), 68.1° (±9.7), and 74.7° (±13.3), respectively. The motion of a master finger was invariably accompanied by motion of 1 or 2 slave fingers. Angular displacements of master and slave fingers increased to maximum values with time monotonically. Velocity curves demonstrated bell-shaped profile, and the acceleration curves were sinusoidal. Enslaving effects were generated mainly on the neighboring fingers. The amount of enslaving on the middle and ring fingers exceeded more than 60% of their own maximum angular displacements when a single adjacent finger moved. The index finger had the highest level of independence as indicated by the lowest enslaving effects on other fingers or by other fingers. The independence indices of the index, middle, ring, and little fingers were 0.812 (±0.070), 0.530 (±0.051), 0.479 (±0.099), and 0.606 (±0.148), respectively. In all tasks, motion of slave fingers always lagged with respect to the master finger. Time delays, on average, ranged from 7.8 (±5.0) to 35.9 (±22.1) ms. Our results suggest that there exist relatively large enslaving effects among the compartments of the flexor digitorum profundus, and functional independence of fingers in daily activities is likely enhanced through synergistic activities of multiple muscles, including flexors and extensors.

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Edwin M. Robertson

The concept of canonical representations within the motor system has been both supported and refuted using a variety of behavioral studies. Here, based upon neurophysiological data, I discuss the relationship amongst those neuronal substrates of action and the behavioral components of a movement. A novel view of reaching and grasping has been proposed which predicts that movements with similar kinematic and dynamic properties have a similar representation within the nervous system (Smeets & Brenner, 1999). However this is broadly inconsistent with a variety of neurophysiological findings that emphasize the independence amongst representations of action.

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Edward Archer, Amanda E. Paluch, Robin P. Shook and Steven N. Blair

Successful aging encompasses more than just the prevention of disease and disability; the truly well-lived life is demonstrated by a sense of vitality and independence, freedom from bodily pain, and the continued involvement in meaningful activities. While physical inactivity and sedentary behaviors accelerate the aging process, deliberate exercise and other forms of activity delay and/or prevent the onset of age-related pathologies such as frailty, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, and cardiovascular disease. This review surveys the evidence that supports the position that physical activity is a necessary component for the development and maintenance of the physiological resources that are foundational to physical and cognitive functioning and ‘living well’ in one's later years.

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Linda C. Campanelli

Functional mobility is generally considered a major contributor to maintaining quality of life at any age. There are several overviews of physiological aging relative to physical functioning and/or mobility in the recent literature. This paper reiterates the need for continued exercise (at all levels) throughout one’s lifetime, specifically to enhance quality of life and functional independence. Implications for professionals and program development are included. Tailored exercises for both ambulatory and nonambulatory older adults to maintain flexibility, gait, and bed mobility are described.

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Donna L. Goodwin, David A. Fitzpatrick, Robin Thurmeier and Carol Hall

This phenomenological study explored the decision-making experience of parents whose children joined Special Olympics programs. The experiences of 16 families with children 10-22 years old were gathered through interviews, artifacts, and field notes. Three themes emerged from the thematic analysis (a) thoughtful instruction, (b) finding the fit, and (c) security of acceptance. Parents sought instructors who were interested in building relationships with their children and creating anxiety-free instructional environments for them. A good program fit occurred when instructors had expectations for motor skill development and increased independence. Parents also preferred environments that encouraged meaningful peer interactions. The findings were interpreted within the context of self-determination theory.

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Jacquelyn Cuneen and M. Joy Sidwell

Internships permit sport management students to link classroom learning to the professional environment. Since internships provide students with opportunities to learn on-the-job and test their skills in the marketplace, the experiences should be uniformly beneficial to all students regardless of gender. This study was conducted to describe internship work conditions (i.e., opportunities to perform in essential marketplace functions) for male and female sport management interns assigned to ‘Big Four’ professional sport organizations. Participants were 74 sport industry professionals who supervised a total of 103 interns over a one-year period. A X2 Test of Independence found that male and female interns working in professional sport had comparable opportunities to perform and learn on the job. Differences in opportunity, hiring practices, and on-the-job benefits emerged primarily as a function of job specialization (e.g., operations, marketing, venue management), league/association, or gender of the internship supervisor rather than gender of the interns.

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Bonnie Field, Tom Cochrane, Rachel Davey and Yohannes Kinfu

The aim of this study was to identify determinants of walking and whether walking maintained mobility among women as they transition from their mid-70s to their late 80s. We used 12 years of follow-up data (baseline 1999) from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (n = 10,322). Fifteen determinants of walking were included in the analysis and three indicators of mobility. Longitudinal data analyses techniques were employed. Thirteen of the 15 determinants were significant predictors of walking. Women in their mid-70s who walked up to 1 hr per week were less likely to experience loss of mobility in very old age, including reduced likelihood of using a mobility aid. Hence, older women who do no walking should be encouraged to walk to maintain their mobility and their independence as they age, particularly women in their 70s and 80s who smoke, are overweight, have arthritis, or who have had a recent fall.