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Mary Ann Kluge

This phenomenological study explored the nature and meaning of being physically active from the standpoint of 15 women age 65 and older. The analysis presents a multitextured description of how 15 women maintained a physically active lifestyle for most of their lives. It provides information about why 15 older women value being physically active and how they negotiated a physically active lifestyle throughout their lives. Findings suggest that continuity of a physically active lifestyle was not a luxury these women experienced over the life course. Being physically active was affected by gender socialization, ageist attitudes, and physical challenges. Nonetheless, these long-lived, physically active women hung on to a concept of themselves as physically active; they demonstrated that active is an attitude and moving is a consequence. They have learned to improvise and, now more than ever, have taken control of their lives by being planful about being physically active.

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Colleen M. Doyle

Background:

Many Americans do not meet current minimum physical activity recommendations. Although the choice to be physically active is made by individuals, that choice is affected by the social and physical environments in which people live, work, play and learn. Creating environments that are more supportive of physical activity will require policies, practices and programs that individuals may not be able to influence on their own; such changes will require comprehensive, coordinated and collaborative action by a variety of organizational sectors at national, state and local levels. Because of their core—and frequently unique—competencies, many non-profit organizations are poised to be active players in promoting important changes in policy and community environments that can facilitate lifelong physical activity for all Americans.

Methods:

Review of mission statements and strategic plans of a variety of non-profit organizations reveal key characteristics and competencies that can be leveraged, frequently across multiple levels and sectors, to promote physical activity.

Key recommendations:

Nonprofit organizations should leverage their unique capabilities, particularly in the areas of advocacy, strategic collaborations and outreach to their membership, volunteer and/or constituent bases to promote policy and environmental changes in support of physical activity.

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Melinda A. Solmon

efforts to promote physically active lifestyles. Despite concerns about inactive lifestyles, and even with a growing body of evidence that physical activity promotes cognitive function ( Donnelly & Lambourne, 2011 ) and children who are physically fit have higher levels of academic achievement ( Chomitz

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Marijke Hopman-Rock, Floris W. Kraaimaat and Johannes W.J. Bijlsma

The relationship between the frequency (chronic, episodic, and sporadic) of arthritic pain in the hip and/or knee, other illness-related variables, physical disability, and a physically active lifestyle was analyzed in community-living subjects aged 55 to 74 years (N = 306). We tested the hypothesis that a physically active lifestyle is a mediating variable in the relationship between pain frequency and physical disability. Physical activity was measured with a structured interview method, and physical disability was measured with the Sickness Impact Profile. A stepwise regression model with demographic data, pain frequency, illness-related variables (such as radiological osteoarthritis and pain severity), and lifestyle variables explained 45% of the variance in physical disability; lifestyle variables explained 7% of the variance in physical disability. Our results support the hypothesis that a physically active lifestyle (in particular, sport activity) is a mediator in the relation between the frequency of pain and physical disability.

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Florian Van Halewyck, Ann Lavrysen, Oron Levin, Digby Elliott and Werner F. Helsen

Older adults traditionally adapt their discrete aiming movements, thereby traveling a larger proportion of the movement under closed-loop control. As the beneficial impact of a physically active lifestyle in older age has been described for several aspects of motor control, we compared the aiming performance of young controls to active and sedentary older adults. To additionally determine the contribution of visual feedback, aiming movements were executed with and without saccades. Results showed only sedentary older adults adopted the typical movement changes, highlighting the impact of a physically active lifestyle on manual aiming in older age. In an attempt to reveal the mechanism underlying the movement changes, evidence for an age-related decline in force control was found, which in turn resulted in an adapted aiming strategy. Finally, prohibiting saccades did not affect older adults’ performance to a greater extent, suggesting they do not rely more on visual feedback than young controls.

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Eva-Carin Lindgren, Ulla Tebelius and Bengt Fridlund

Sport participation or regular physical activity is often seen as a factor, which leads to better health and well being. Sport also has a social function, as most of the activities are performed together with other people. However, while club sports in Sweden have a stimulating effect on young men, there is a risk that they do not provide enough scope for young women. In particular, early specialization and a high level of seriousness do not suit all young sportswomen. The purpose of this study was to develop a theoretical understanding of the ways in which sport has influenced young women’s lifestyles in terms of their attitudes to physical activity in adult life. The data were collected using strategic interviews and analyzed using the grounded theory method. Based upon the results, young women’s physically active lifestyles varied depending on how they valued their sport in combination with how they handled their sport. Sport was regarded as having a positive effect on health and well being. This led to the young women studied intending to pursue a physically active lifestyle also in adult life. They enjoyed participating in sport, but not particularly sport with a high level of seriousness or a high level of vigor, which is what characterizes most club sports today.

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Ines Pfeffer

Targeted communication about health behaviors seems to be more effective than mass communication in which undifferentiated audiences receive identical messages. Regulatory focus is psychological variable that can be used to build two target groups: promotion-focused or prevention-focused people. It is hypothesized that targeting messages to an individual’s regulatory focus creates regulatory fit and is more successful to promote a physically active lifestyle than nonfit messages. Two different print messages promoting a physically active lifestyle derived from regulatory focus theory (promotion message vs. prevention message) were randomly assigned to N = 98 participants after measuring their regulatory focus. It was examined whether regulatory fit between the regulatory focus and the assigned print message would lead to more positive evaluations in the dependent variables inclination toward the message (preference for the message), intention to perform the behavior, prospective and retrospective feelings associated with the behavior (positive and negative), and perceived value of the behavior directly after reading the message. Hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed that regulatory fit led to stronger intentions in the prevention-message condition and more prospective positive and retrospective positive feelings associated with the behavior in the promotion-message condition in contrast to the nonfit conditions. Prospective positive feelings associated with the behavior mediated the effect of regulatory fit on intention. The results partly provided support for the regulatory fit concept. Matching print messages to the regulatory focus of individuals seems to be a useful approach to enhance physical activity motivation. Future studies should include an objective measure of physical activity behavior.

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Catrine Tudor-Locke and Elroy J. Aguiar

Step counting is now a widespread and acceptable approach to self-monitoring physical activity courtesy of the recent surge in wearable technologies. Nonetheless, there remains no recommendation for steps/day in federal physical activity guidelines. The authors review current scientific literature to consider evidence regarding the volume, dose (frequency, intensity, duration, timing), and dose-response relationships for step-based metrics, including steps/day (volume), cadence (steps/min; intensity), peak 30-min cadence (steps/min; composite index of frequency, intensity, and duration), and zero cadence (proxy for sedentary behavior). Preliminary evidence suggests that communicating federal physical activity guidelines using step-based metrics could facilitate individuals’ ability to comprehend and achieve a physically active lifestyle.

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Samara Boisen, Chris Krägeloh, Daniel Shepherd, Clare Ryan, Jonathan Masters, Sue Osborne, Rod D. MacLeod, Marion Gray and Justin W. Keogh

Men with prostate cancer experience many side effects and symptoms that may be improved by a physically active lifestyle. It was hypothesized that older men with prostate cancer who were physically active would report significantly higher levels of quality of life (QOL) as assessed by the WHOQOL-BREF and the WHOQOL-OLD. Of the 348 prostate cancer survivors who were invited to participate in the present postal survey, 137 men returned the questionnaires. Those who were physically active had significantly lower prostate specific antigen (PSA) scores and higher social participation than those insufficiently active. These findings offer some support for the benefits of physical activity (PA) within the prostate cancer population in managing the adverse side effects of their treatments on aspects of their QOL. Future research should more closely examine what types of PA best promote improvements in varying aspects of QOL and psychological well-being for prostate cancer survivors.