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Amândio M.C. Santos, Joanne R. Welsman, Mark B.A. De Ste Croix and Neil Armstrong

Age- and sex-related differences in optimal peak power (PPopt) and associated measures determined using a force-velocity (F-V) cycling test were examined in pre teenage, teenage and adult males and females. Absolute PPopt increased significantly with age in both males and females. With body mass controlled for using allometric scaling significant age related increases remained, an effect masked in the females when PPopt was expressed as W • kg−1. Sex differences in PPopt were minimal in the preteens but males demonstrated higher PPopt than females in both teenage and adult groups. These patterns of change with age and sex broadly reflect those obtained for Wingate Anaerobic Test determined PP but the use of a single non-optimized braking force underestimates the magnitude of any differences observed.

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Gregory A. Cranmer, Maria Brann and Nicholas D. Bowman

Previous studies have suggested that media reify frames that subtly enforce sex differences in a manner that detracts from women athletes’ athleticism. This phenomenon is referred to as ambivalence. To analyze ambivalence, this study introduces a theoretically and empirically supported coding scheme that was used to conduct a quantitative frame analysis of 157 images featured in ESPN’s The Body Issue. These images were coded for frames that de-emphasize athleticism, sexualize athletes, or deny a sporting context. Results suggest that athlete sex is associated with de-emphasized athleticism and sexualized frames, and sport gender is associated with context frames. Results also support longitudinal trends in The Body Issue series, which suggest that the series has become more sexualized and removed from a sports context but has decreased the use of frames that de-emphasize athleticism. In general, The Body Issue continues to reinforce established media trends that trivialize female athletes, despite claiming to do the opposite.

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Narcís Gusi, Josue Prieto, Pedro R. Olivares, Serafin Delgado, Fabian Quesada and Clarencio Cebrián

A cross-sectional descriptive study was designed to obtain normative age-specific fitness scores for the general population of community-dwelling older adults in Spain. In total, 6,449 participants (5,610 women and 839 men) age 60–99 yr who lived in the region of Extremadura were recruited. Compared with the cohorts of similar studies in other countries, this cohort had more physically inactive elderly participants and participants with a higher body-fat percentage. All test results declined as age increased. Sex differences in the age-related decline in fat and body mass were observed. Women scored better in the flexibility tests, and men performed better in the other tests. These data may be highly useful for the age-specific assessment of the fitness performance of older adults and the design of programs that promote functional ability in older adults.

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Jeffery J. Summers, Victoria J. Machin and Gregory I. Sargent

This study was designed to examine some of the psychosocial factors underlying the recent marathon boom. A survey of 459 marathoners varying in age, sex, ability, and experience was conducted to assess their reasons for running a marathon, the outcomes derived, and their experiences during a marathon. Information was also sought regarding the psychological aspects of running in general, particularly the concept of addiction to running. Measures of addiction to running produced a consistent pattern of sex differences, with females evidencing higher levels of addiction than males. With respect to reasons for running a marathon and perceived outcomes, some interesting trends were evident as a function of age. It was suggested that the attraction of the marathon to people of all ages and abilities may lie partly in its unique ability to satisfy a wide range of needs, both extrinsic and intrinsic.

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Daniel A. Galvão, Robert U. Newton and Dennis R. Taaffe

Resistance training has been shown to be the most effective exercise mode to induce anabolic adaptations in older men and women. Advances in imaging techniques and histochemistry have increased the ability to detect such changes, confirming the high level of adaptability that remains in aging skeletal muscle. This brief review presents a summary of the resistance-training studies that directly compare chronic anabolic responses to training in older (>60 years) men and women. Sixteen studies are summarized, most of which indicate similar relative anabolic responses between older men and women after resistance training. Relatively small sample sizes in most of the interventions limited their ability to detect significant sex differences and should be considered when interpreting these studies. Future research should incorporate larger sample sizes with multiple measurement time points for anabolic responses.

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Neil Armstrong, Joanne R. Welsman and Brian J. Kirby

The influence of sexual maturation on the Wingate anaerobic test performance of 100 boys and 100 girls, ages 12.2 ±0.4 years, was examined using Tanner’s indices of pubic hair and, in boys, salivary testosterone as measures of maturation. No sex differences (p > .05) in either peak power (PP) or mean power (MP) were revealed. Significant main effects (p < .01) for maturation were detected for both PP and MP expressed in W, W · kg−1, or with body mass controlled using allometric principles. Testosterone did not increase the variance in PP or MP explained by body mass alone (p > .05). No sex or maturational effects were observed for postexercise blood lactate (p > .05). Testosterone was not (p > .05) correlated with blood lactate. Thus, sexual maturation exerts an influence on PP and MP independent of body mass, but maturational effects on postexercise blood lactate remain to be proven in this age group.

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Kyra Hamilton, Stephen Cox and Katherine M. White

Parents are at risk for inactivity; however, research into understanding parental physical activity (PA) is scarce. We integrated self-determined motivation, planning, and the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to better understand parental PA. Parents (252 mothers, 206 fathers) completed a main questionnaire assessing measures underpinning these constructs and a 1-week follow-up of PA behavior to examine whether self-determined motivation indirectly influenced intention via the TPB variables (i.e., attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control) and intention indirectly influenced behavior via planning. We found self-determined motivation on intention was fully mediated by the TPB variables and intention on behavior was partially mediated by the planning variables. In addition, slight differences in the model’s paths between the sexes were revealed. The results illustrate the range of important determinants of parental PA and provide support for the integrated model in explaining PA decision making as well as the importance of examining sex differences.

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Anne O. Brady, Chad R. Straight and Ellen M. Evans

The aging process leads to adverse changes in body composition (increases in fat mass and decreases in skeletal muscle mass), declines in physical function (PF), and ultimately increased risk for disability and loss of independence. Specific components of body composition or muscle capacity (strength and power) may be useful in predicting PF; however, findings have been mixed regarding the most salient predictor of PF. The development of a conceptual model potentially aids in understanding the interrelated factors contributing to PF with the factors of interest being physical activity, body composition, and muscle capacity. This article also highlights sex differences in these domains. Finally, factors known to affect PF, such as sleep, depression, fatigue, and self-efficacy, are discussed. Development of a comprehensive conceptual model is needed to better characterize the most salient factors contributing to PF and to subsequently inform the development of interventions to reduce physical disability in older adults.

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Saul R. Bloxham, Joanne R. Welsman and Neil Armstrong

This study examined ergometer-specific relationships between short-term power and peak oxygen uptake (peak VO2) in children. Boys (n = 28) and girls (n = 28) age 11-12 years completed two incremental tests to exhaustion on a cycle ergometer and motorized treadmill for the determination of peak VO2. In addition, they completed two 30 s “all-out” sprint tests, one on a cycle ergometer and one on a nonmotorized treadmill for the assessment of peak power (PP) and mean power (MP). Relationships between peak VO2 and shortterm power measures were examined by sex for cycle- and treadmill-derived data using simple per-body-mass ratios and sample-specific allometric exponents to control for body size differences. From correlational analyses on scaled data, sex differences in responses were shown. In boys, PP and MP were unrelated to peak VO2 for cycle-derived measures but significantly related (r = 0.58 PP; r = 0.69 MP) for treadmill values. PP and MP were significantly related to peak VO2 for both modes of exercise in girls (r = .41−.68). In all but one case, correlation coefficients based on mass-related data were higher than those based on allometrically adjusted data.

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Magnus Carlsson, Tomas Carlsson, Daniel Hammarström, Christer Malm and Michail Tonkonogi

Purpose:

To investigate the relationship between race performance and lean mass (LM) variables, as well as to examine sex differences in body composition in elite-standard cross-country skiers.

Methods:

Thirty-four elite cross-country skiers (18 men and 16 women) underwent a dual-emission X-ray-absorptiometry body-composition test to determine LM, fat mass, and bone mineral content. For both sexes, performance data were collected from a sprint prologue and a distance race.

Results:

The absolute expression of LM variables (whole-body [LMWB], upper body [LMUB], and lower body [LMLB]) was significantly correlated with finishing time in the sprint prologue independent of sex. Distance-race performance was significantly related to LMWB, LMUB, and LMLB in women; however, no correlation was found in men. Men had a significantly higher LM and lower fat mass, independent of expression (absolute or relative), for the whole body, arms, trunk, and legs, except for the absolute fat mass in the trunk.

Conclusions:

The absolute expressions of LMWB, LMUB, and LMLB were significant predictors of sprint-prologue performance in both sexes, as well as of distance-race performance in women only. Compared with women, male skiers have a higher LM in the body segments that are major contributors to propelling forces. These results suggest that muscle mass in the lower and upper body is equally important for race performance; thus, more focus of elite skiers’ training should be directed to increasing whole-body muscle mass to improve their competitive performance capability.