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Terttu Parkatti, Jarmo Perttunen and Phyllis Wacker

This study examined the effects of an instructed structured Nordic walking (NW) exercise program on the functional capacity of older sedentary people. Volunteers were randomly assigned to an NW group (68.2 ± 3.8 yr old) or control group (69.9 ± 3.0 yr old). Before and at the end of the 9-wk intervention, functional tests and 2-dimensional ground-reaction-force (GRF) patterns of normal (1.40 m/s) and fast (1.94 m/s) walking speeds were measured. The intervention included a 60-min supervised NW session on an inside track twice a week for 9 wk. The mean changes in functional tests differed between groups significantly. Gait analyses showed no significant differences between the groups on any GRF parameters for walking speed either before or after the intervention. The study showed that NW has favorable effects on functional capacity in older people and is a suitable form of exercise for them.

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Joanne E. Perry, Michael Ross, Jeremiah Weinstock and Terri Weaver

Research has supported mindfulness as a predictor of athletic success. This study used a parallel trial design to examine the benefit of a brief one-session mindfulness training for performance on an individual, nonpacing, closed skill athletic task (i.e., golf putting). All participants (N = 65) answered questionnaires and engaged in two trials of the putting task. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group using a simple randomization strategy. Between trials, the intervention group received a mindfulness intervention. Mindfulness intervention included psychoeducation, reflection upon previous sport experiences, an experiential exercise, and putting applications. Repeated-measures ANOVAs demonstrated that the intervention group exhibited more successful outcomes on objective putting performance, flow state experience, and state anxiety (p < .05). Results suggest mindfulness may prevent performance deterioration and could produce psychological benefits after a brief training session.

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Nancy M. Gell and Danielle D. Wadsworth

Background:

The study evaluated the effects of a text message intervention on physical activity in adult working women.

Methods:

Eightyseven participants were randomized to an intervention (n = 41) or control group (n = 46). Pedometer step counts and measures of self-efficacy were collected at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks. Intervention participants received approximately 3 text messages per week that were motivational, informational, and specific to performing physical activity.

Results:

ANCOVA results showed a significant difference between groups for mean steps per day at 12 weeks (6540.0 vs. 5685.0, P = .01) and no significant difference at 24 weeks (6867.7 vs. 6189.0, P = .06). There was no change in mean step counts during or after the intervention compared with baseline. There was a significant difference between groups for mean self-efficacy scores at 12 weeks (68.5 vs. 60.3, P = .02) and at 24 weeks (67.3 vs. 59.0, P = .03).

Conclusion:

Intervention participants had higher step counts after 12 and 24 weeks compared with a control group; however, the difference was significant only at the midpoint of the intervention and was attributable to a decrease in steps for the control group. Text messaging did not increase step counts but may be a cost-effective tool for maintenance of physical activity behavior.

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Matthew P. Buman, Peter R. Giacobbi Jr., Joseph M. Dzierzewski, Adrienne Aiken Morgan, Christina S. McCrae, Beverly L. Roberts and Michael Marsiske

Background:

Using peer volunteers as delivery agents may improve translation of evidence-based physical activity promotion programs for older adults. This study examined whether tailored support from older peer volunteers could improve initiation and long-term maintenance of physical activity behavior.

Methods:

Participants were randomized to 2 16-week, group-based programs: (1) peer-delivered, theory-based support for physical activity behavior change; or (2) an intervention typically available in community settings (basic education, gym membership, and pedometer for self-monitoring), attention-matched with health education. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was assessed via daily self-report logs at baseline, at the end of the intervention (16 weeks), and at follow-up (18 months), with accelerometry validation (RT3) in a random subsample.

Results:

Seven peer volunteers and 81 sedentary adults were recruited. Retention at the end of the trial was 85% and follow-up at 18 months was 61%. Using intent-to-treat analyses, at 16 weeks, both groups had similar significant improvements in MVPA. At 18 months, the group supplemented with peer support had significantly more MVPA.

Conclusions:

Trained peer volunteers may enhance long-term maintenance of physical activity gains from a community-based intervention. This approach has great potential to be adapted and delivered inexpensively in community settings.

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Richard A. Boileau, Edward McAuley, Demetra Demetriou, Naveen K. Devabhaktuni, Gregory L. Dykstra, Jeffery Katula, Jane Nelson, Angelo Pascale, Melissa Pena and Heidi-Mai Talbot

A trial was conducted to examine the effect of moderate aerobic exercise training (AET) on cardiorespiratory (CR) fitness. Previously sedentary participants, age 60-75 years, were randomly assigned to either AET treatment or a control group for 6 months. The AET consisted of walking for 40 min three times/week at an intensity that elevated heart rate to 65% of maximum heart rate reserve. The control group performed a supervised stretching program for 40 min three times/week. CR fitness was assessed before and after the treatments during a grade-incremented treadmill walking test. Both absolute and relative peak V̇O2 significantly increased (p < .01) in the AET group, whereas they decreased modestly in the control group. Maximum treadmill time increased significantly (p < .01) in the AET group relative to the control group. These results indicate that CR fitness as measured by peak V̇O2 modestly improves in the elderly with a moderate-intensity, relatively long-term aerobic exercise program.

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Susanne James-Burdumy, Nicholas Beyler, Kelley Borradaile, Martha Bleeker, Alyssa Maccarone and Jane Fortson

Background:

The Playworks program places coaches in low-income urban schools to engage students in physical activity during recess. The purpose of this study was to estimate the impact of Playworks on students’ physical activity separately for Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and non-Hispanic white students.

Methods:

Twenty-seven schools from 6 cities were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Accelerometers were used to measure the intensity of students’ physical activity, the number of steps taken, and the percentage of time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during recess. The impact of Playworks was estimated by comparing average physical activity outcomes in treatment and control groups.

Results:

Compared with non-Hispanic black students in control schools, non-Hispanic black students in Playworks schools recorded 338 more intensity counts per minute, 4.9 more steps per minute, and 6.3 percentage points more time in MVPA during recess. Playworks also had an impact on the number of steps per minute during recess for Hispanic students but no significant impact on the physical activity of non-Hispanic white students.

Conclusions:

The impact of Playworks was larger among minority students than among non-Hispanic white students. One possible explanation is that minority students in non-Playworks schools typically engaged in less physical activity, suggesting that there is more room for improvement.

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Birinder Singh B. Cheema, Marissa Lassere, Ronald Shnier and Maria A. Fiatarone Singh

The purpose of this article is to document a rotator cuff tear sustained by an elderly woman performing progressive resistance training (PRT) in a recent randomized controlled clinical trial. The patient was a sedentary 73-y-old Caucasian woman. Investigation revealed an acute, full-thickness tear of the right supraspinatus secondary to performing a shoulder press exercise. Further investigation via MRI revealed degenerative disease of the acromioclavicular joint including lateral downsloping of the acromion and an anteroinferior acromial spur, which would presdispose to impingement. Conservative management was implemented in this case for over 6 months with minimal success. The patient remained functionally limited in virtually all activities of daily living. Given the medical history, health status, physical condition, and age of our patient, it is probable that degenerative changes predisposed the patient to the injury. To our knowledge this is the first published report of an older adult sustaining a rotator cuff tear during PRT.

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Leigh F. Callahan, Rebecca J. Cleveland, Mary Altpeter and Betsy Hackney

Objective:

Evaluate effectiveness of the Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program for community participants with arthritis.

Methods:

343 individuals were randomized to either the intervention or wait-list control group. Performance and self-reported outcome (SRO) measures were assessed at baseline and eight weeks. At one year, SROs only were assessed. Adjusted means were determined using regression models adjusting for covariates, and effect sizes (ES) were calculated.

Results:

Average participant age was 66 years, 87% were female, and 87% were Caucasian. Among 284 (83%) participants who returned at eight weeks, balance by reach (ES = 0.30) and helplessness, sleep, and role participation satisfaction (ES = 0.24–0.54) improved significantly; pain, fatigue, and stiffness improvement (ES = 0.15–0.23) approached significance. No change was noted in mobility, lower extremity strength, or single-leg stance balance. At one year, improvements in pain, fatigue, stiffness, helplessness, and role participation satisfaction at eight weeks were maintained; 30% continued tai chi practice.

Conclusion:

Moderate effectiveness of the Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program was confirmed.

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Brittany T. MacEwen, Travis J. Saunders, Dany J. MacDonald and Jamie F. Burr

Background:

Sit-stand desks reduce workplace sitting time among healthy office workers; however, their metabolic and behavioral impact in higher risk populations remains unknown.

Methods:

25 office workers with abdominal obesity were randomized to an intervention (sit-stand workstation) or control group (seated desk) for 12 weeks. Physical activity, sedentary behavior, and cardiometabolic risk factors were assessed before and after the intervention period in both groups.

Results:

In comparison with the control group, which did not change, the intervention group experienced significant reductions in workday (344 ± 107 to 186 ± 101 min/day) and total (645 ± 140 to 528 ± 91 min/day) sitting time, as well as increases in workday standing time (154 ± 108 to 301 ± 101 min/day, P < .05). There were no changes in sitting or standing time outside of work hours, steps taken each day, or any marker of cardiometabolic risk in either group (all P > .05).

Conclusion:

Sit-stand desks were effective in reducing workplace sedentary behavior in an at-risk population, with no change in sedentary behavior or physical activity outside of work hours. However, these changes were not sufficient to improve markers of cardiometabolic risk in this population.

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Maria Giné-Garriga, Míriam Guerra, Esther Pagès, Todd M. Manini, Rosario Jiménez and Viswanath B. Unnithan

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a 12-wk functional circuit-training program (FCT) could alter markers of physical frailty in a group of frail community-dwelling adults. Fifty-one individuals (31 women, 20 men), mean age (± SD) 84 (± 2.9) yr, met frailty criteria and were randomly assigned into groups (FCT = 26, control group [CG] = 25). FCT underwent a 12-wk exercise program. CG met once a week for health education meetings. Measures of physical frailty, function, strength, balance, and gait speed were assessed at Weeks 0, 12, and 36. Physical-frailty measures in FCT showed significant (p < .05) improvements relative to those in CG (Barthel Index at Weeks 0 and 36: 73.41 (± 2.35) and 77.0 (± 2.38) for the FCT and 70.79 (± 2.53) and 66.73 (± 2.73) for the CG. These data indicate that an FCT program is effective in improving measures of function and reducing physical frailty among frail older adults.