Limiting Sedentary Time, Reducing Risk for Overuse Running Injuries, PE May Enhance Adolescents Math Performance and More from the Journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®

Limit Your Sedentary Time and Your Body Mass Index!

Despite the known detrimental health effects, we are spending more time in sedentary behaviors like using a computer or watching TV. Previous research has shown that breaking up sedentary time with active time may be beneficial for health markers like body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. In this study, the investigators wanted to see if the positive effects of breaking up prolonged periods of sedentary time could be due to increased energy expenditure.

Researchers analyzed information on time spent being sedentary compared to time spent performing activities of higher intensities. The study group included measurements on more than 1,400 women and men over six months. Scientists found that decreasing the number of prolonged sedentary bouts may have beneficial effects on lowering BMI and waist circumference. Limiting overall sedentary time and replacing it with activities of light (e.g. standing, walking slowly), moderate (walking at a brisk pace) or vigorous (jogging or playing tennis) intensity may have additional helpful effects on energy expenditure. Limiting sedentary time and replacing it with any other physical activity behavior is likely an important factor in weight maintenance.

For more information, view the abstract or contact the investigator.

Learning to Run More Softly Can Reduce Risk for Overuse Running Injuries

Scientists have found that almost 80 percent of all runners will experience an overuse running injury in any given year. Most are reoccurring injuries that runners had previously. One explanation for the high injury rates and reoccurrences are poor running mechanics. Runners who land each footstep with more force are more likely to sustain an overuse running injury than runners who land each foot step more softly.

In this study, researchers used real-time feedback to retrain a group of 18 runners who landed hard to land more softly, or in other words, with less force at impact. The retraining sessions consisted of the subjects running on a treadmill with a computer screen in front of them. The information on the screen provided real-time feedback on how hard they were landing. After only eight retraining sessions, the runners demonstrated a change in mechanics to run more softly. Furthermore, the changes were still present at the one-year follow up. This simple intervention can provide a powerful method of reducing injury rates in runners.

For more information, view the abstract or contact the investigator.

Quality PE for Adolescents May Enhance Their Math Performance!

Participation in physical activity has many benefits for the physical and mental health of young people. Encouraging teens to be more active also might improve their academic performance. Yet, there have been few high-quality experimental studies to evaluate these issues. In this study, investigators tested the effect of a school-based physical activity intervention, known as AMPED, on adolescents’ performance in mathematics. Teachers were provided with professional development and support to increase students’ moderate-vigorous activity and motivation levels in physical education (PE). A total of 1,173 boys and girls took part in the study. Math performance was assessed as part of national testing in grade seven, which was the year before the intervention began; math performance was measured again in grade nine. Activity levels in PE and students’ engagement in math lessons were also measured.

The AMPED intervention had a significant positive effect on students’ performance in math over the two-year study period. However, changes in PE and engagement in math were not associated with improvements in math. Although promising, these findings should be interpreted with caution, as students in the intervention group were not outperforming those in the control group at follow-up. Instead, they had merely caught up to the controls, having had lower scores at baseline.

For more information, view the abstract or contact the investigator.

Strength, Self-Care Ability and Death in Aging Adults…Get a Grip!

Loss of muscle strength during aging presents many health problems. Since muscle strength can be difficult to measure, handgrip strength often serves as an estimate for overall muscle strength. In this study, the investigators examined if decreased handgrip strength reduced self-care abilities, and in turn, if such problems with completing self-care tasks impacted time to death in adults aged at least 50 who were followed for almost a decade. A representative sample of 17,747 older U.S. adults were included.

The results revealed that strength loss, as measured by handgrip strength, hurt ability to self-care, and problems with completing self-care tasks increased the risk for death during aging. As we age, preserving muscle strength is important for maintaining good health. Practicing healthy behaviors as early as possible might help preserve strength. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about handgrip strength and how to remain strong. This may help you get a grip on your health!

For more information, view the abstract or contact the investigator.

Risky Movement Patterns After ACL Surgery–Implications for Long-term Knee Health

Surgery to repair a damaged anterior cruciate ligament in the knee (ACL surgery) is most common in young, active individuals. However, even after return to play, patients have an increased risk for early onset knee osteoarthritis as young adults. ACL surgery may disrupt movement patterns during everyday activities, causing abnormal joint loading and increasing wear and tear on the knee. Understanding how these movement patterns develop after ACL surgery may point the way to more effective treatments.

Investigators in this study used three-dimension motion analysis to measure knee and hip joint loading during walking and jogging in three groups of young adults (18-20 per group) that completed the motion analysis at three different time-frames after ACL surgery. The group measured at nine-24 months post-surgery showed abnormal joint loading similar to that seen early after surgery. In contrast, the group measured at two-five years post-surgery showed no abnormal joint loading; this finding suggested normal movement patterns had recovered. Interestingly, the group measured at five or more years post-surgery exhibited some concerning abnormal joint loading patterns ̶ patterns that could expose the knee to excessive wear and tear over time. Findings showed that abnormal movement patterns may occur in young adults during the later years after ACL surgery. Adding follow-up clinical care beyond standard post-surgical rehabilitation may be beneficial for ACL surgery patients. This would allow identification and management of the risky movement patterns, leading to better long-term knee health.

For more information, view the abstract or contact the investigator.

New Measures from Wrist-Worn Activity Monitors May Prevent Injuries in Runners

In large studies on health, wrist-worn research-quality devices are widely used to monitor daily activity including rest and sleep. Using these devices to monitor exercise training patterns in runners could help prevent injury and improve performance. In this study, 35 experienced male and female runners, averaging about 40 years of age, wore a device on their wrist 24 hours a day for seven days. Researchers used information obtained from the devices to develop new measures of running training. These measures accurately identified days when the runners trained and their training load. Researchers can use these measures in large studies to assess people’s running training patterns alongside their physical activity, rest and sleep. This will help establish the best rest and running patterns for injury prevention, health and performance.

For more information, view the abstract or contact the investigator.

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