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Lucas J. Carr, Shira Dunsinger and Bess H. Marcus

Background:

Long-term physical activity surveillance has not been conducted among Latinas. This study explored the variability of daily physical activity habits of inactive adult Latinas participating in a 12-month physical activity intervention.

Methods:

We collected objective physical activity data (pedometer) from 139 Spanish speaking Latinas (age = 41.6 ± 10.1 years; BMI = 29.6 ± 4.3 kg/m2) enrolled in a 12-month physical activity intervention. Total and aerobic steps (>100 steps/minute) were computed by year, season, month, day of week, time of day, and hour.

Results:

Participants walked an average of 6509 steps/day of which 1303 (20%) were aerobic steps. Significant physical activity differences were observed for subgroups including generational status, education, employment, income, marital status and health literacy. Significant and similar differences were observed for both total steps and aerobic steps for day of the week (weekdays > weekends) and season (summer > spring > fall > winter). Opposing trends were observed over the course of the day for total steps (early afternoon > late morning > late afternoon > early morning > evening) and aerobic steps (early morning > evening > late morning > late afternoon > early afternoon).

Conclusions:

Both seasonality and week day predicted physical activity habits of Latinas. This is the first long-term study to track daily physical activity habits of Latinas. These data have potential to inform the design of future physical activity interventions targeting Latinas.

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Edited by Thomas Rowland

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Hairul A. Hashim, Golok Freddy and Ali Rosmatunisah

Background:

The current study was undertaken to examine the associations between self-determination, exercise habit, anxiety, depression, stress, and academic achievement among adolescents aged 13 and 14 years in eastern Malaysia.

Methods:

The sample consisted of 750 secondary school students (mean age = 13.4 years, SD = 0.49). Participants completed self-report measures of exercise behavioral regulation, negative affect, and exercise habit strength. Midyear exam results were used as an indicator of academic performance. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data.

Results:

The results of structural equation modeling revealed a close model fit for the hypothesized model, which indicates that higher levels of self-determination were positively associated with habituated exercise behavior. In turn, exercise habit strength fostered academic achievement and buffered the debilitative effect of stress, depression, and anxiety on student academic performance. The analysis of model invariance revealed a nonsignificant difference between male and female subjects.

Conclusion:

The findings support the notion that habituated exercise fosters academic performance. In addition, we found that habituated exercise buffers the combined effects of stress, anxiety and depression on academic performance. The finding also supports the roles of self-determination in promoting exercise habituation.

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Amanda L. Rebar, Steriani Elavsky, Jaclyn P. Maher, Shawna E. Doerksen and David E. Conroy

Physical activity is regulated by controlled processes, such as intentions, and automatic processes, such as habits. Intentions relate to physical activity more strongly for people with weak habits than for people with strong habits, but people’s intentions vary day by day. Physical activity may be regulated by habits unless daily physical activity intentions are strong. University students (N = 128) self-reported their physical activity habit strength and subsequently self-reported daily physical activity intentions and wore an accelerometer for 14 days. On days when people had intentions that were weaker than typical for them, habit strength was positively related to physical activity, but on days when people had typical or stronger intentions than was typical for them, habit strength was unrelated to daily physical activity. Efforts to promote physical activity may need to account for habits and the dynamics of intentions.

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Michael L. Booth, Adrian Bauman and Neville Owen

In a cross-sectional survey, older Australians (N = 402) were asked to report their physical activity habits and the 3 main barriers to more physical activity. Active and inactive men and women differed only in how many reported being sufficiently active or that their health was too poor to be more active. Six barriers were reported by more than 10% of inactive men and women: “already active enough,” “have an injury or disability,” “poor health,” “too old,” “don't have enough time,” and “I'm not the sporty type.” Insufficient time was identified by significantly fewer respondents as age increased. More respondents 65–70+ years old identified poor health as a barrier than did those 60–64. The proportion who had an injury or disability decreased from 60–64 to 65–69 and increased markedly among those 70+. Programs for older adults should take into account the age of the target group and the limitations imposed by poor health or disability.

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Maea Hohepa, Grant Schofield, Gregory S. Kolt, Robert Scragg and Nick Garrett

Background:

Few studies have examined high school students’ physical activity habits using objective measures. The purpose of this study was to describe pedometer-determined habitual physical activity levels of youth.

Methods:

236 high school students (age 12–18 years) wore sealed pedometers for 5 consecutive days. Data were analyzed using generalizing estimating equations.

Results:

Mean steps/d (± SE) differed significantly by sex (males, 10,849 ± 381; females, 9652 ± 289), age (junior students [years 9–11], 11,079 ± 330; senior students [years 12 and 13], 9422 ± 334), time of week (weekday, 12,259 ± 287; weekend day, 8241 ± 329), and mode of transportation to and from school (walkers, 13,308 ± 483; car transit users, 10,986 ± 435). Only 14.5% of students achieved at least 10,000 steps on every day during the monitoring period.

Conclusion:

Daily step counts differed substantially by age, sex, time of week, and transportation mode to school.

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Christopher J. Armitage and Christine A. Sprigg

There is a dearth of research examining physical activity in children aged 6–10 years with low socioeconomic status, despite the fact there is good reason to suspect this is a critical period when physical activity habits are created. Physical activity and theory of planned behavior variables were measured at three time points, and children (N = 77) randomized to the experimental condition were additionally asked to form an implementation intention. Intention was a potent mediator of the past behavior–future behavior relationship and the implementation intention intervention significantly increased physical activity compared with the control condition. The findings suggest that physical activity can be increased in children aged 6–10 years with low socioeconomic status and that implementation intentions might enhance the effectiveness of children’s physical activity programs.

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SarahJane Cullen, Eimear Dolan, Kate O Brien, Adrian McGoldrick and Giles Warrington

Balance and anaerobic performance are key attributes related to horse-racing performance, but research on the impact of making weight for racing on these parameters remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of rapid weight loss in preparation for racing on balance and anaerobic performance in a group of jockeys.

Methods:

Twelve apprentice male jockeys and 12 age- and gender-matched controls completed 2 trials separated by 48 h. In both trials, body mass, hydration status, balance, and anaerobic performance were assessed. Between the trials, the jockeys reduced body mass by 4% using weight-loss methods typically adopted in preparation for racing, while controls maintained body mass through typical daily dietary and physical activity habits.

Results:

Apprentice jockeys decreased mean body mass by 4.2% ± 0.3% (P < .001) with a subsequent increase in dehydration (P < .001). The controls maintained body mass and a euhydrated state. No differences in balance, on the left or right side, or in peak power, mean power, or fatigue index were reported between the trials in either group.

Conclusion:

Results from this study indicate that a 4% reduction in body mass in 48 h through the typical methods employed for racing, in association with an increase in dehydration, resulted in no impairments in balance or anaerobic performance. Further research is required to evaluate performance in a sport-specific setting and to investigate the specific physiological mechanisms involved.

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Eimear Dolan, SarahJane Cullen, Adrian McGoldrick and Giles D. Warrington

Purpose:

To examine the impact of making weight on aerobic work capacity and cognitive processes in a group of professional jockeys.

Methods:

Nine male jockeys and 9 age-, gender-, and BMI-matched controls were recruited to take part in two experimental trials, conducted 48 hr apart. The jockeys were asked to reduce their body mass by 4% in the 48 hr between trials, and controls maintained usual dietary and physical activity habits between trials. Aerobic work capacity was assessed by performance during an incremental cycle ergometer test. Motor response, decision making, executive function, and working memory were assessed using a computerized cognitive test battery.

Results:

The jockey group significantly reduced their body mass by 3.6 ± 0.9% (p < .01). Mean urine specific gravity (Usg) readings increased from 1.019 ± 0.004–1.028 ± 0.005 (p < .01) following this reduction in body mass. Peak work capacity was significantly reduced between trials in the jockey group (213 ± 27 vs. 186 ± 23 W, p < .01), although VO2peak (46.4 ± 3.7 vs. 47.2 ± 6.3 ml·kg·min-1) remained unchanged. No changes were identified for any cognitive variable in the jockey group between trials.

Conclusion:

Simulation of race day preparation, by allocating a weight that is 4% below baseline body mass caused all jockeys to report for repeat testing in a dehydrated state, and a reduction in aerobic work capacity, both of which may impact on racing performance.

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Raquel Burrows, Paulina Correa-Burrows, Yasna Orellana, Atilio Almagiá, Pablo Lizana and Daniza Ivanovic

Background:

This study was carried out to examine the association between systematic physical activity and academic performance in school kids after controlling for potential sociodemographic and educational confounders.

Methods:

In a random sample of 1271 students from urban Santiago, attending 5th and 9th grade, who took the 2009 System for the Assessment of Educational Quality (SIMCE) tests, we measured physical activity habits, anthropometric characteristics, and socioeconomic status. Academic performance was measured by the standardized SIMCE tests. Logistic regressions assessed the relationship between the allocation of time to weekly scheduled exercise, potential confounding factors, and individual academic performance.

Results:

About 80% of students reported less than 2 hours of weekly scheduled exercise, while 10.6% and 10.2% reported 2 to 4 hours/week and more than 4 hours/week, respectively. Devoting more than 4 hours/week to scheduled exercise significantly increased (P < .01) the odds of having SIMCE composite z-scores ≥ 50th percentile (OR: 2.3, 95% CI: 1.4 to 3.6) and ≥ 75th percentile (OR: 2.1, 95% CI: 1.3–3.3).

Conclusions:

Better academic performance was associated with a higher allocation of time to scheduled exercise in school-age children.