Recognizing the cardiac features of athletically trained children bears importance for health care providers and exercise physiologists alike. This literature review reveals that ventricular enlargement and/or hypertrophy are commonly observed in studies of pre- and early-adolescent endurance athletes, yet the magnitude of these features is less than that described in adult athletes. Moreover, the upper range of values in child athletes is sufficiently small that clinical confusion with findings mimicking those in individuals with heart disease should not be expected to occur. In contrast to sex differences in the “athlete’s heart” in adults, cardiac structural findings in child athletes are similar in males and females. The extent that cardiac features observed in trained child athletes reflect a response to training or are influenced by genetic preselection remains uncertain.
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.
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.
Lorayne Woodfield, Michael Duncan, Yahya Al-Nakeeb, Alan Nevill and Charles Jenkins
The present study examines the relationship of sex, ethnicity, and socio-economic status to physical activity levels of young people. Participants were 301 males and females (12.9 – 0.81 years). Physical activity was measured using the four by one-day physical activity recall questionnaire. ANOVA revealed that high socio-economic status children reported greater average daily energy expenditure levels than low socio-economic status children (p < .01). The daily energy expenditure of white-Caucasian children was significantly higher than black or Asian children. White boys were significantly more active than white girls, but no such sex differences were observed among black and Asian children. Although activity was always greater at weekends, a decline in activity by school year was observed on Saturdays and Sundays but with no such decline observed on weekdays.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.