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Lauriece L. Zittel and Jeffrey A. McCubbin

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of an integrated physical education setting on the motor performance of preschool children with developmental delays. Subjects participated in segregated and integrated physical education classes and were observed practicing locomotor and object control skills. The quality of performance was analyzed to determine the number of critical elements present and the level of teacher or peer prompt required to initiate and complete each performance. A single-subject reversal design (A-B-A-B) was used. Four children with developmental delays were filmed within an 8-week school schedule while practicing two fundamental gross motor skills during segregated and integrated conditions. The results provide evidence that children with developmental delays are able to maintain their level of gross motor skill and independence within an integrated physical education setting. Although day-to-day variability was calculated for each subject, overall skill level remained stable and level of independence was not compromised in the integrated setting.

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Andresa R. Marinho-Buzelli, Ana Maria Forti Barela, Jose Angelo Barela, Melissa Leandro Celestino, Milos R. Popovic and Mary Verrier

Aquatic therapies are used to restore step initiation in people with locomotor disabilities. However, there is lack of evidence of underlining mechanisms of gait initiation in water. We investigated center of pressure (CoP), vertical and anterior-posterior impulse forces, and kinematics of the first step performed in water in comparison with overground walking. The peaks of anticipatory postural adjustment (APA) and the sections of CoP trajectories were longer in water than on land. Impulse forces were increased in water compared with land. Range of motion (ROM) of ankle joint increased in water while knee joint ROM did not change. We suggest that the aquatic environment may facilitate gait initiation training by allowing a longer step execution with greater stimuli and imposed resistance for the phases of gait initiation.

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Marcos Rodrigo Trindade Pinheiro Menuchi and Lilian Teresa Bucken Gobbi

Locomotion generates a visual movement pattern characterized as optic flow. To explore how the locomotor adjustments are affected by this pattern, an experimental paradigm was developed to eliminate optic flow during obstacle avoidance. The aim was to investigate the contribution of optic flow in obstacle avoidance by using a stroboscopic lamp. Ten young adults walked on an 8m pathway and stepped over obstacles at two heights. Visual sampling was determined by a stroboscopic lamp (static and dynamic visual sampling). Three-dimensional kinematics data showed that the visual information about self-motion provided by the optic flow was crucial for estimating the distance from and the height of the obstacle. Participants presented conservative behavior for obstacle avoidance under experimental visual sampling conditions, which suggests that optic flow favors the coupling of vision to adaptive behavior for obstacle avoidance.

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Megan A. Kirk and Ryan E. Rhodes

Preschoolers with developmental delay (DD) are at risk for poor fundamental movement skills (FMS), but a paucity of early FMS interventions exist. The purpose of this review was to critically appraise the existing interventions to establish direction for future trials targeting preschoolers with DD. A total of 11 studies met the inclusion criteria. Major findings were summarized based on common subtopics of overall intervention effect, locomotor skill outcomes, object-control outcomes, and gender differences. Trials ranged from 8 to 24 weeks and offered 540–1700 min of instruction. The majority of trials (n = 9) significantly improved FMS of preschoolers with DD, with a large intervention effect (η2 = 0.57–0.85). This review supports the utility of interventions to improve FMS of preschoolers with DD. Future researchers are encouraged to include more robust designs, a theoretical framework, and involvement of parents and teachers in the delivery of the intervention.

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Mikael Scohier, Dominique De Jaeger and Benedicte Schepens

The purpose of this study was to mechanically evoke a triceps surae stretch reflex during the swing phase of running, to study its within-the-step phase dependency. Seven participants ran on a treadmill at 2.8 m·s−1 wearing an exoskeleton capable of evoking a sudden ankle dorsiflexion. We measured the electromyographic activity of the soleus, medial and lateral gastrocnemii just after the perturbation to evaluate the triceps surae stretch reflex. Similar perturbations were also delivered at rest. Our results showed that the stretch reflex was suppressed during the swing phase of running, except in late swing where a late reflex response was observed. At rest, all triceps surae muscles showed an early reflex response to stretch. Our findings suggest that the triceps surae short/medium-latency stretch reflex cannot be evoked during swing phase and thus cannot contribute to the control of the locomotor pattern after aperturbation during this phase.

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Amelia Mays Woods, Kim C. Graber, David Newman Daum and Chris Gentry

This study examined physical activity (PA) variables related to recess PA patterns of kindergarten, first and second grade children, and the social preferences and individuals influencing their PA. Data collected (N = 147) used the System of Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP) instrument. Children were interviewed. Kindergarten boys spent a significantly higher percentage of time in MVPA (t = 3.137, d = .96, p < .008). Kindergarten girls spent significantly more time standing (t = 3.548, d = 1.07, p < .008). Second grade boys spent a significantly (t = 4.44, d = 1.98, p < .0125) more time in sport activities. Second grade girls spent significantly more time in sedentary (t = 4.399, d = 1.11, p < .0125) and locomotor (t = 3.533, d = .899, p < .0125) activities. Participants articulated the prominence of friends, engaging in games/activities, and playing on the playground equipment.

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Timo Tapio Jaakkola, Arja Sääkslahti, Sami Yli-Piipari, Mika Manninen, Anthony Watt and Jarmo Liukkonen

The purpose of the study was to analyze students’ motivation in relation to their participation in fitness testing classes. Participants were 134 Finnish Grade 5 and 8 students. Students completed the contextual motivation and perceived physical competence scales before the fitness testing class and the situational motivation questionnaire immediately after the class. During the fitness test class, abdominal muscle endurance was measured by curl-up test, lower body explosive strength and locomotor skills by the five leaps test, and speed and agility by the Figure 8 running test. For the fitness testing class, students reported higher scores for intrinsic motivation, identified motivation, and amotivation than in their general physical education program. The result of the path analysis showed physical fitness was positively related to perceived physical competence. In addition, perceived competence was found to be a positive predictor of situational intrinsic motivation, but not of other forms of situational motivation. Significant path coefficients in the model ranged from −.15 to .26.

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Jason D. Vescovi and Devon H. Frayne

Purpose:

To examine locomotor demands and metabolic-power characteristics of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) field hockey matches.

Methods:

Using a cross-sectional design, global positioning system (GPS) technology tracked Division I field hockey players from 6 teams during 1 regular-season match (68 player observations). An ANOVA compared locomotor demands and metabolic-power characteristics among positions. Paired t tests compared dependent variables between halves.

Results:

Defenders played 5−6 min more than midfielders, whereas midfielders played 6−7 min more than forwards. Defenders covered less relative distance (98 m/min) than forwards and midfielders (110−111 m/min), as well as more low-intensity running than forwards and less high-intensity running than midfielders. Lower mean metabolic power (9.3 W/kg) was observed for defenders than forwards and midfielders (10.4 W/kg). There was no difference in playing time between halves; however, all 3 positions had a reduction in relative distance (7−9%) and mean metabolic power (8−9%) during the second half.

Conclusions:

Despite more playing time, defenders covered less relative distance and had lower mean metabolic power than other positions. Moderate-intensity, high-intensity, and sprint distance were similar between positions, highlighting the greater relative demands on forwards because they tended to have the least amount of playing time. The reduction of key metrics during the second half was similar among positions and warrants further investigation. These initial results can be used to design position-specific drills or create small-sided games that replicate match demands for NCAA athletes, thus helping establish strategies for developing physiological ability of players at this level.

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Atsumichi Tachibana, Futoshi Mori, Carol A. Boliek, Katsumi Nakajima, Chijiko Takasu and Shigemi Mori

This study investigated developmental aspects of the acquisition of operant-trained bipedal (Bp) standing and Bp walking in the normally quadrupedal (Qp) juvenile Japanese monkey (M. fuscata). Four male monkeys (age: 1.6 to 2.4 years, body weight: 3.3 to 4.6 kg) were initially operantly trained to stand upright on a smooth floor and a stationary treadmill belt (width = 60 cm, walking length = 150 cm). They were then trained to walk bipedally on the moving treadmill belt (speed: 0.4–0.7 m/s). A regular training program (5 days/week; 30–60 min/day) was given to each monkey for the first 40 to 60 days, followed by less intensive training. After the beginning of locomotor training, upright postural stability and Bp walking capability were assessed kinematically for 592, 534, 526, and 537 days on monkeys A, B, C, and D, respectively. Left side- and back-views of the walking monkey were photographed (10 frames/s) and videotaped (250 frames/s). Stick figures of the head, body, and hindlimbs were drawn with reference to ink-marks positioned in front of the ear and over the pivot points of hindlimb joints. All kinematic data were digitized and analyzed using image-analyzing software. After sufficient physical growth and locomotor training, all the monkeys gradually acquired: (a) a more upright and a more stable posture with a constant body axis orientation during Bp locomotion; (b) a more stable and a stronger functional coupling between the body and hindlimb movements with a less anterior (A)-posterior (P) fluctuation of a body axis; (c) a smaller leftward (Lt)-rightward (Rt) displacement of the midline pelvic position, allowing the monkey to walk along a straight course; (d) a more coordinated relationship among hip-knee, knee-ankle, and ankle-metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints; and finally (e) the acquisition of well-coordinated Bp walking even at high treadmill belt speeds up to 1.5 m/s. All of these results demonstrated the capability of the physically developing monkey to integrate the neural and musculoskeletal mechanisms required for sufficient coordination of upper (head, neck, trunk) and lower (hindlimbs) motor segments so that Bp standing and Bp walking could be elaborated.

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David I. Anderson, Audun Dahl, Joseph J. Campos, Kiren Chand, Minxuan He and Ichiro Uchiyama

This report describes a novel test of the prediction that locomotion-induced changes in an infant’s functional utilization of peripheral lamellar optic flow (PLOF) for postural stability contributes to avoidance of the deep side of a visual cliff. To test the prediction, a corridor, with either low-textured or high-textured walls, was constructed to run the length of a visual cliff. The infants, 9.5-month-olds with varying amounts of hands-and-knees crawling experience, were randomly assigned to the low-texture (n = 30) or the high-texture condition (n = 32). Consistent with predictions, the findings revealed significant interactions between crawling experience and texture condition for the probability of crossing and the latency to venture onto the deep side of the cliff. Most notably, more experienced crawlers, but not less experienced crawlers, were significantly more likely to cross the visual cliff to the parents and ventured onto the cliff faster in the high-texture condition than in the low-texture condition. The availability of PLOF thus had an effect on infants’ crossing behavior on the visual cliff. We interpret these findings as evidence for a three-step process in which locomotor-induced changes in visual proprioception play a central role in the development of wariness of heights.