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Matthew Smith and Christina Lee

This study examined the facilitatory effect of goal setting in physical performance. Three potential mechanisms that may mediate this effect are described: increases in time spent practicing, promotion of effective training strategies, and increases in commitment resulting from public goal setting. Students (N=51) performed a novel task under one of three conditions: public goal setting, private goal setting, and no goal setting. Goals selected, time spent practicing, strategies used during practice, and actual performance were assessed. Subjects in the two goal-setting groups showed better performance than those in the control-group; those in the public goal-setting group spent the most time in practice, but this was not reflected in better performance. Test performance was predicted by baseline performance and by the goal set; practice time, training strategy, and public goal setting did not account for further variance in performance. Although this study failed to find a mediating effect for these three mechanisms, the results must be interpreted with caution.

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Andrew A. Pellett, Leann Myers, Michael Welsch, S. Michal Jazwinski and David A. Welsh

Diastolic dysfunction, often seen with increasing age, is associated with reduced exercise capacity and increased mortality. Mortality rates in older individuals are linked to the development of disability, which may be preceded by functional limitations. The goal of this study was to identify which echocardiographic measures of diastolic function correlate with physical function in older subjects. A total of 36 men and women from the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study, age 62–101 yr, received a complete echocardiographic exam and performed the 10-item continuous-scale physical-functional performance test (CS-PFP-10). After adjustment for age and gender, left atrial volume index (ρ = –0.59; p = .0005) correlated with the total CS-PFP-10 score. Increased left atrial volume index may be a marker of impaired performance of activities of daily living in older individuals.

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Andrew Taggart

Young students who train intensively for competition reach much the same level of physiologic development as do adult athletes who undergo an equivalent program of conditioning. Failure to find a training response in more average children cannot therefore be attributed to a preexistent adequate level of habitual activity. Presumably blame for any absence of response must be attributed to an inadequate program of physical education (too low an intensity relative to normal daily activity, and/or too little involvement of the individual class members, V. Seliger, 1968). Given a vigorous program that involves all students for most of the class time, it is possible to induce gains not only in performance test scores, but also in aerobic power muscular strength, and sensory perception. (Shephard, 1982, p. 193)

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Claire Peel, Carolyn Utsey and Jan MacGregor

This study aimed to evaluate the effects of an 8-week supervised exercise program on physiological measurements during treadmill walking, muscle strength, functional performance, and health status in older adults limited in physical function. Twenty-four participants were randomly assigned to an exercise group (EG, N = 13) or a control group (CG, N = 11), and were evaluated before and after the exercise program (EG) or 8-week period (CG). Evaluations included a progressive treadmill lest, strength testing, the Physical Performance Test (PPT), and the SF-36 Health Survey. The exercise program consisted of 3 sessions per week of brisk walking and strengthening exercises. The EG demonstrated increases in cardiorespiratory fitness and increases in treadmill walking time. The EG also demonstrated increases in force production in 3 of the 6 muscle groups that were tested. Both the EG and CG demonstrated improvements in PPT scores and in 2 health concepts on the SF-36 Health Survey.

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Mark L. Watsford, Aron J. Murphy, Matthew J. Pine and Aaron J. Coutts

Older adults’ participation in habitual exercise might be affected by alterations to respiratory mechanics such as decreased respiratory-muscle strength. This reduction can cause a decrease in efficiency of the ventilatory pump, potentially compromising exercise participation. This research examined the role of habitual exercise in respiratory-muscle function and the associated implications for exercise performance. Seventy-two healthy older adults (36 men, 64.9 ± 8.6 years, 177.2 ± 8.4 cm, 82.5 ± 11.9 kg; 36 women, 64.9 ± 9.5 years, 161.7 ± 6.4 cm, 61.6 ± 9.2 kg) undertook respiratory-function and walking-performance tests. Active men and women achieved higher scores than their inactive counterparts for all tests except spirometry, where no differences were evident. The results indicate that a significant amount of the elevated fitness level might be accounted for by increased endurance capacity of the inspiratory muscles. Inactive older individuals might be at risk for inadequate respiratory-muscle strength, so interventions should be considered.

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Ching-Yi Wang, Ching-Fan Sheu and Elizabeth Protas

The purpose of this study was to test the construct validity of the hierarchical levels of self-reported physical disability using health-related variables and physical-performance tests as criteria. The study participants were a community-based sample of 368 adults age 60 years or older. These older adults were grouped into 4 levels according to their physical-disability status (able, mildly disabled, moderately disabled, and severely disabled groups) based on their self-reported measures on the mobility, instrumented activity of daily living (IADL), and activities of daily living (ADL) domains. Health-related variables (body-mass index, number of comorbidities, depression status, mental status, and self-perceived health status) and eight performance-based tests demonstrated significant group differences. Self-reported measures of physical disability can be used to categorize older adults into different stages of physical functional decline.

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Jim Dollman, Tim Olds, Kevin Norton and David Stuart

There is evidence that fitness has been declining and fatness increasing in Australian schoolchildren over the last generation. This study reproduced the methods of a national survey of Australian schoolchildren conducted in 1985. Anthropometric and performance tests were administered to 1,463 10- and ll-year-old South Australians. Compared to the 1985 sample, the 1997 children were heavier (by 1.4−2.9 kg), showed greater weight for height (by 0.13−0.30 kg · m−2.85), and were slower over 1.6 km (by 38−48.5 s). Furthermore, the distribution of values was markedly more skewed in the 1997 data. While there was little difference between the fittest and leanest quartiles in 1997 and their 1985 counterparts, the least fit and fattest quartiles were markedly worse in 1997. This suggests that the decline in fitness of Australian schoolchildren is not homogeneous and that interventions should target groups where the decline is most marked.

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William M. Sherman and Gregory S. Wimer

It is well established that adequate bodily carbohydrate reserves are required for optimal endurance. Based on this fact, it has been hypothesized that consumption of a diet with a high percentage of carbohydrate energy will optimize training adaptations and athletic performance. Scrutiny of the literature, however, does not strongly support the hypothesis that short-term or long-term reductions in dietary carbohydrate energy impairs training or athletic performance. Additional studies with well devised training protocols and performance tests are necessary to prove or disprove the hypothesis that a high carbohydrate energy diet is necessary to optimize training adaptations and performance. Because dietary carbohydrate contributes directly to bodily carbohydrate reserves, and because a high carbohydrate energy diet does not impair athletic performance, it remains prudent to advise athletes to consume a diet with a high carbohydrate energy content.

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William J. Kraemer, N. Travis Triplett, Andrew C. Fry, L. Perry koziris, Jeffrey E. Bauer, James M. Lynch, Tim McConnell, Robert U. Newton, Scott E. Gordon, Richard C. Nelson and Howard G. Knuttgen

The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth sports medicine profile of women college tennis players and determine the relationships among an array of performance and clinical variables. Thirty-eight non-resistance-trained women from NCAA Divisions I and III collegiate tennis teams participated. A comprehensive battery of performance tests was conducted on each subject, including measurements of dynamic, isometric, and isokinetic strength; joint laxity and flexibility; speed; agility; power and power endurance; peak oxygen consumption; body composition; and ball velocities of the serve, forehand, and backhand. It was found that no single variable strongly explains tennis performance. The low amount of shared variance of strength measures with ball velocities suggests that tennis skills play a large role in producing peak ball velocities in this group. Due to the large range observed in profiled variables, individual evaluation is needed for clinical and conditioning recommendations.

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Ian P. Snider, Terry L. Bazzarre, Scott D. Murdoch and Allan Goldfarb

This study examined the effects of the Coenzyme Athletic Performance System (CAPS) on endurance performance to exhaustion. CAPS contains 100 mg coenzyme Q10,500 mg cytochrome C, 100 mg inosine, and 200 IU vitamin E. Eleven highly trained male triathletes were given three daily doses of either CAPS or placebo (dicalcium phosphate) for two 4-week periods using a double-blind crossover design. A 4-week washout period separated the two treatment periods. An exhaustive performance test, consisting of 90 minutes of running on a treadmill (70% VO2max) followed by cycling (70% VO2max) until exhaustion, was conducted after each treatment period. The mean (±SEM) time to exhaustion for the subjects using CAPS (223 ±17 min) was not significantly different (p=0.57) from the placebo trial (215 ±9 min). Blood glucose, lactate, and free fatty acid concentrations at exhaustion did not differ between treatments (p < 0.05). CAPS had no apparent benefit on exercise to exhaustion.