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Daniela Mirandola, Guido Miccinesi, Maria Grazia Muraca, Eleonora Sgambati, Marco Monaci and Mirca Marini

Background:

Physical activity interventions are known to be effective in improving the physical and psychological complaints of breast cancer survivors.

Purpose:

To investigate the impact of a specific exercise training program on upper limb mobility and quality of life in breast cancer survivors.

Methods:

The study included 55 women recruited at the Cancer Rehabilitation Centre in Florence after the completion of breast cancer treatment and rehabilitative physiotherapy. All participants underwent an 8-week specific exercise training to improve upper limb mobility function and quality of life. Anthropometric parameters were measured, and each subject underwent a battery of fitness tests to assess shoulder-arm mobility, range of motion, and back flexibility before and after specific exercise program. All participants filled out the Short Form-12 and numerical rating scale questionnaires to assess the quality of life and to quantify back and shoulder pain intensity.

Results:

The evaluation of shoulder-arm mobility and self-reported questionnaire data revealed a statistically significant improvement after completion of our specific exercise program.

Conclusion:

An organized specific program of adapted physical activity can be effective in reducing the main adverse effects of surgery and oncological therapy, and may significantly improve shoulder-arm mobility and quality of life in breast cancer survivors.

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Roger Ramsbottom, Anne Ambler, Janie Potter, Barbara Jordan, Alan Nevill and Carol Williams

Where strength training has been used in conjunction with functional-task training in older people, not only have there been improvements in leg strength but also improved function has been measured (e.g., Skelton & McLaughlin, 1996). Many studies use participants from care homes rather than community dwellers. We investigated changes in leg power, balance, and functional mobility in community-dwelling sedentary men and women over 70 years of age (n = 6 for training group [TR]; n = 10 for control group [CN]). Progressive training took place over 24 weeks using seated and nonseated exercise. For TR, leg power increased 40%, from 108 ± 40 to 141 ± 53 W (p < .01); dynamic balance increased 48%, from 22.3 ± 7.9 to 33.1 ± 6.1 cm (p < .01; functional reach); and functional mobility increased 12%, from 7.46 ± 1.32 to 6.54 ± 1.41 s (p < .05; timed walk). CN showed no significant change. In conclusion, a community-based exercise program led to large improvements in leg-extensor power, dynamic balance, and functional mobility.

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Valérie Martin-Lemoyne, Dany H. Gagnon, François Routhier, Lise Poissant, Michel Tousignant, Hélène Corriveau and Claude Vincent

Biomechanical evidence is needed to determine to what extent the use of a mobility assistance dog (ADMob) may minimize mechanical loads and muscular demands at the upper limbs among manual wheelchair users. This study quantified and compared upper limb efforts when propelling up a ramp with and without an ADMob among manual wheelchair users. Ten manual wheelchair users with a spinal cord injury who own an ADMob ascended a ramp with and without their ADMob. The movements of the wheelchair and upper limbs were captured and the forces applied at the pushrims were recorded to compute shoulder mechanical loading. Muscular demand of the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, biceps, and the triceps was normalized against the maximum electromyographic values. The traction provided by the ADMob significantly reduced the total force applied at the pushrim and its tangential component while the mechanical effectiveness remained similar. The traction provided by the ADMob also resulted in a significant reduction in shoulder flexion, internal rotation, and adduction moments. The muscular demands of the anterior deltoid, pectoralis major, biceps, and triceps were significantly reduced by the traction provided by the ADMob. The use of ADMob represents a promising mobility assistive technology alternative to minimize upper limb mechanical loads and muscular demands and optimize performance during wheelchair ramp ascent.

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Daisuke Uritani, Takahiko Fukumoto, Daisuke Matsumoto and Masayuki Shima

Evaluating toe flexor strength may be an important method for predicting and preventing walking dysfunction and falls, particularly among older adults. In this study, toe grip strength (TGS), the functional reach (FR, a measure of dynamic balance) test, the timed up and go (TUG) test (a measure of functional ability), isometric knee extension strength (IKES), sex, age, weight, and height were analyzed among 665 healthy Japanese older adults. Statistical analyses were used to assess the relationships between TGS and FR or TUG and to investigate whether TGS was independently associated with FR or TUG. Our results indicate that, among both men and women, TGS was associated with TUG, independent of age, height, weight, and IKES, but TGS was not associated with FR. These results may facilitate the development of strategies for improving functional mobility through physical therapy.

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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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Lee Burton, Kyle Kiesel and Gray Cook

Column-editor : Carl G. Mattacola

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Simon C. Darnell

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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.