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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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Marlene K. Tappe and Charlene Burgeson

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Darren Dale, Charles B. Corbin and Thomas F. Cuddihy

This study examined the physical activity participation of students in a large southwestern high school 1–3 years after they had been exposed to a 9th-grade conceptual physical education program. Comparisons were made to students exposed to traditional physical education. Students were assessed using physical activity questions from the 1995 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Students from the conceptual program met adolescent guidelines for physical activity, especially those who participated in the program in its first year of operation. Females were significantly less likely to report sedentary behaviors if they had been exposed to the conceptual, rather than traditional, high school physical education program.

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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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Bruno Manfredini Baroni, Jeam Marcel Geremia, Rodrigo Rodrigues, Marcelo Krás Borges, Azim Jinha, Walter Herzog and Marco Aurélio Vaz

It is not known if a physically active lifestyle, without systematic training, is sufficient to combat age-related muscle and strength loss. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate if the maintenance of a physically active lifestyle prevents muscle impairments due to aging. To address this issue, we evaluated 33 healthy men with similar physical activity levels (IPAQ = 2) across a large range of ages. Functional (torque-angle and torque-velocity relations) and morphological (vastus lateralis muscle architecture) properties of the knee extensor muscles were assessed and compared between three age groups: young adults (30 ± 6 y), middle-aged subjects (50 ± 7 y) and elderly subjects (69 ± 5 y). Isometric peak torques were significantly lower (30% to 36%) in elderly group subjects compared with the young adults. Concentric peak torques were significantly lower in the middle aged (18% to 32%) and elderly group (40% to 53%) compared with the young adults. Vastus lateralis thickness and fascicles lengths were significantly smaller in the elderly group subjects (15.8 ± 3.9 mm; 99.1 ± 25.8 mm) compared with the young adults (19.8 ± 3.6 mm; 152.1 ± 42.0 mm). These findings suggest that a physically active lifestyle, without systematic training, is not sufficient to avoid loss of strength and muscle mass with aging.

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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.