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Jin H. Yan and John H. Downing

Tai Chi, an ancieni form of Chinese fitness exercise, affords its participants a variety of physical and psychological benefits. Research has suggested that individuals engaging in Tai Chi exercises improve cardiovascular fitness and motor control while reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Tai Chi is particularly suitable for seniors, who are often at risk for a variety of problems associated with aging (e.g.. arthritis, neurological dysfunction, and general decline of balance, coordination, and locomotor function). Because of its self-paced. nonstressful, and noncompetitive nature, and its ability to afford economy of lime, space, and equipment, Tai Chi presents an effective, functional alternative exercise form for the senior adult population. This article presents the background of Tai Chi practice and introduces several key elements and suggestions for teaching Tai Chi to senior participants. Finally, some selected resources for Tai Chi practice are listed.

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Joonkoo Yun and Deborah R. Shapiro

This study examined the psychometric properties of Ulrich’s (1988) Actual Physical Competence Scale for children with mental retardation. A total of 139 children with MR, 7 to 13 years of age participated. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that a multidimensional model of skill assessment captures the motor performance of those with MR more accurately than a unidimensional model. Indices of goodness of fit for the multidimensional model were GFI = .91, RMSEA = .09, (χ2/df) = 2.15, and CFI = .93. Test-retest reliability and internal consistency for the total test battery was ICC = .91 and α = .62, respectively. When evaluating movement skills of children with mental retardation, a multidimensional model incorporating both locomotor and object control skills is recommended.

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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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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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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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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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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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Peggy M. Roswal, Claudine Sherrill and Glenn M. Roswal

This study compared the effectiveness of data based and creative dance pedagogies in relation to motor skill performance and self-concept of mentally retarded students. Subjects (N=35) were moderately mentally retarded males and females, ages 11 to 16 years, in special education classes. Their mean age was 12.88 years in the data based group and 13.47 years in the creative dance group. Excluding testing, the study lasted 8 weeks. Each group received 40 lessons of 30 minutes each. Data based pedagogy was based on the work of Dunn, Morehouse, and Dalke (1979), and creative dance pedagogy was based primarily on the work of Riordan (Fitt & Riordan, 1980). Pretest and posttest data were collected through administration of the Data Based Dance Skills Placement Test, selected subtests of the Cratty Six-Category Gross Motor Test, and the Martinek-Zaichkowsky Self-Concept Scale. Multivariate analysis of covariance revealed no difference between pedagogies. The group means indicated improvement in dance skill performance but not in self-concept or body perception, balance, and gross and locomotor agility.