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Kyle Kiesel, Lee Burton and Gray Cook

Column-editor : Carl G. Mattacola

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Laura Garcia-Cervantes, Sara D’Haese, Rocio Izquierdo-Gomez, Carmen Padilla-Moledo, Jorge R. Fernandez-Santos, Greet Cardon and Oscar Luis Veiga

Background:

The aim was to investigate the association of (i) parental, sibling, and friend coparticipation in physical activity (PA); and (ii) independent mobility (IM) for walking, cycling, and taking public transport with objectively measured nonschool PA on week- and weekend days in different school grades.

Methods:

A total of 1376 Spanish youngsters (50.8% boys; mean age 11.96 ± 2.48 years) participated in the study. Participants reported the frequency of their parental, sibling, and best friend coparticipation in PA with them and their IM for walking, cycling, and taking public transport. PA was objectively measured by accelerometry.

Results:

Coparticipation in PA and IM were more frequently related to nonschool PA among adolescents than among children. Friend coparticipation in PA was positively associated with higher levels of nonschool PA in adolescents. IM for walking and IM for cycling in adolescents were related to nonschool PA on weekdays.

Conclusions:

Our results highlight the need for age-focused interventions and the integration of family and friends to promote PA in youth.

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Michael P. Corcoran, Miriam E. Nelson, Jennifer M. Sacheck, Kieran F. Reid, Dylan Kirn, Roger A. Fielding, Kenneth K.H. Chui and Sara C. Folta

For adults aged 65 years and older, physical function is a strong predictor of subsequent disability and loss of independence ( Hirvensalo, Rantanen, & Heikkinen, 2000 ; Newman et al., 2006 ). Older adults with mobility disability have higher rates of hospitalization, depression, morbidity, and

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Simon C. Darnell

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Lee Burton, Kyle Kiesel and Gray Cook

Column-editor : Carl G. Mattacola

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Christie L. Ward, Rudy J. Valentine and Ellen M. Evans

Adiposity, lean mass, and physical activity (PA) are known to influence physical function in older adults, although the independent influences are not completely characterized. Older adults (N = 156, M age = 68.9 ± 6.7 yr, 85 men) were assessed for body composition via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, PA by accelerometer, and physical function via timed up-and-go (UP&GO), 30-s chair stand, 6-min walk (6-min WALK), and Star-Excursion Balance Test. In the absence of percentage-body-fat by PA interactions (p > .05), main effects existed such that a higher percentage body fat was associated with poorer performance in UP&GO, 30-s chair stand, and 6-min WALK (p < .05). No significant main effects were found for PA and functional performance. Adiposity explains 4.6–11.4% in physical functional variance (p < .05). Preventing increases in adiposity with age may help older adults maintain functional independence.

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Roberta E. Rikli and C. Jessie Jones

With the projected growth in the older adult population, preventing or delaying physical disability in later years has become a national goal. Evidence suggests that physiological decline, especially that associated with physical inactivity, is modifiable through proper assessment and activity intervention. However, a major limitation in reducing loss of function in later years is the lack of suitable assessment tools. Especially lacking are tests that can measure physical performance on a continuum across the wide range of functioning in the independent, community-residing older adult population. Of special concern is the ability to assess underlying physical parameters associated with common activities of daily living. Additional tools are needed for measuring physical performance in older adults, especially tools that meet established guidelines in terms of reliability, validity, discrimination power, and performance evaluation standards.

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Claire Peel and Diane Ballard

The primary purpose of this study was to determine the reproducibility of the 6-min-walk test (6MWT) in older women. A secondary purpose was to document heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) in response to the 6MWT. Twenty-eight women with an average age of 80.0 years (±5.2) participated. They performed 2 trials of the 6MWT on 3 separate days, for a total of 6 trials. Heart rate, BP, RPE, and the total distance walked were recorded for each trial. The results indicated a significant increase from Trial 1 to Trial 2, with no differences between Trials 2–6, F(5, 131) = 7.02, p = .000. HR and BP were consistent across the 6 trials, and RPE was higher for the second trial on the second day of testing, F(5, 131) = 2.72, p = .023. The intraclass correlation coefficient for distance walked was .94. After the initial trial, performance on the 6MWT appears to be stable in older women.

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Priscilla G. MacRae, John F. Schnelle, Sandra F. Simmons and Joseph G. Ouslander

The purpose of this study was to describe the physical activity levels of ambulatory nursing home residents (N = 95) and identify factors that predicted these activity levels. The residents’ physical activity levels (standing, walking, and wheelchair propulsion), as measured by time-sampled observations and Caltrac motion sensors, indicated that restraint use was the major predictor of low physical activity. Both the physically restrained and the physically unrestrained groups, however, were inactive, with 93.8% and 83.5% of the observations, respectively, representing either lying or sitting. In the unrestrained group, scores measuring the resident’s fall risk, self-selected walking speed, upper and lower body strength, and body mass index were significant predictors of physical activity level. In the restrained group, scores measuring the resident’s fall risk and upper body strength were significant predictors of activity level.

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Marie-Louise Bird, Keith Hill, Madeleine Ball and Andrew D. Williams

This research explored the balance benefits to untrained older adults of participating in community-based resistance and flexibility programs. In a blinded randomized crossover trial, 32 older adults (M = 66.9 yr) participated in a resistance-exercise program and a flexibility-exercise program for 16 weeks each. Sway velocity and mediolateral sway range were recorded. Timed up-and-go, 10 times sit-to-stand, and step test were also assessed, and lower limb strength was measured. Significant improvements in sway velocity, as well as timed up-and-go, 10 times sit-to-stand, and step test, were seen with both interventions, with no significant differences between the 2 groups. Resistance training resulted in significant increases in strength that were not evident in the flexibility intervention. Balance performance was significantly improved after both resistance training and standing flexibility training; however, further investigation is required to determine the mechanisms responsible for the improvement.