Sunday, 12 December 2010

Facebook, physical activity and comparisons!

This article is of interest to me as it combines physical activity, in this case, pedometer step counts and comparison.  The author used Facebook as a means of enabling participants to compare their step counts with those of others in a workplace group.  The intervention reports that the comparison opportunities led to the participants increasing their step counts.  Overall the paper investigates an area of interest to me and its useful for my research.  I do find it a little strange that given the subject of the paper that it makes no reference to Social Comparison Theory or any other theory in  contextualising the findings.  There are few papers which combine physical activity and social comparison and i think an opportunity was missed here!

You can read the full paper below;

Foster, D., Linehan, C., & Lawson, S. (2010). Motivating physical activity at work: using persuasive social media extensions for simple mobile devices.

Buunk BP, Collins RL, Taylor SE, VanYperen NW, & Dakof GA (1990). The affective consequences of social comparison: either direction has its ups and downs. Journal of personality and social psychology, 59 (6), 1238-49 PMID: 2283590

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Common cold, exercise and feeling fit!

Reported all over the place last week here in the UK.  Read the original paper!

Conclusions, Perceived physical fitness and frequency of aerobic exercise are important correlates of reduced days with URTI and severity of symptoms during the winter and fall common cold seasons.

Nieman, D., Henson, D., Austin, M., & Sha, W. Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults. British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology Conference 2010

I will be attending the Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology conference which is being held in London on 9/10th December 2010, full details are here. I get to sit on the DSEP committee as a representative as a result of being on the committee  of  PSYPAG, (Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group). Psypag are a great organisation for Psychology postgraduates and currently have several bursary scheme for UK postgraduate students, details here.  At the conference I will be manning the Psypag stand for at least one of the days so pop over and join the mailing list!

PsyPAG maintains a JISCmail list open to ALL psychology postgraduate students and is located here. This list is a fantastic resource for support and advice regarding your research, statistical advice or postgraduate issues.

You can also follow PsyPAG on Twitter and on Facebook.

Useful paper I found this week;

Silva, M., Vieira, P., Coutinho, S., Minderico, C., Matos, M., Sardinha, L., et al. (2010). Using self-determination theory to promote physical activity and weight control: a randomized controlled trial in women. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 33(2), 110-122

Monday, 16 August 2010

Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation for exercise

OK, so when was the last time you saw a public health campaign which tried to increase physical activity levels by targeting intrinsic motivations to exercise? I personally cant think of any I've seen!  Motivation for exercise can be defined as intrinsic or extrinsic.  Intrinsic motivations for exercise are behaviours that are performed for the satisfaction gained in the activity itself.  Deci and Ryan (1985) argue that intrinsic motivations are commonly those of competency, interest and enjoyment.  I exercise because it makes me feel good and I enjoy it, however most campaigns to increase PA are of the loose weight and keep healthy variety.   Deci and Ryan (2000) identified that activities which are pursued primarily for being enjoyable and interesting are known to be intrinsically motivating the reward is taking part in the activity itself!

 Extrinsic motivations for exercise include are those behaviours which are performed rewards that are external.  This would include outcomes such as getting fitter, improving appearance, weight loss or ‘toning up’.  This is taking part in an activity for reasons other than the activity itself (Taylor, Ntoumanis, Standage & Spray, 2010).  This where almost all public campaigns to increase physical activity are targeted with limited success.   Ryan et al., (1997) examined exercise adherence with regard to intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.  Although motivation to exercise includes both intrinsic and extrinsic elements Ryan et al., (1997) reported that body related (extrinsic) motivations were negatively related to hours per week exercise participation and workout length, whereas enjoyment and competence were positively to these measures.  It would appear that intrinsic motivation is a requirement of continued exercise adherence and may become even more important as the timeframe of the adherence behaviour continues.  Even motivations for PA such as aiming to lead a healthy lifestyle would be viewed as extrinsic as they are being pursued for reasons other than performing the activity itself.  This is important as the public messages to encourage the uptake of physical activity and exercise are generally aimed at extrinsic motivators, i.e. weight loss, to improve body image and to improve health status.  Very few public health messages try to convince the audience that physical activity is fun and perhaps an end in itself.  Sports participation has been shown to be more likely to be motivated by intrinsic motivators such as fun and enjoyment, whereas exercise is more often linked to extrinsic motivators such as weight loss, appearance and stress management and that this difference leads to different rates of adherence (Kilpatrick et al., 2005).  Most participants in sport and exercise are likely to be motivated both intrinsically and extrinsically to a greater or lesser degree.  Researchers argue that for long term adherence extrinsic motive must be replaced by intrinsic motives i.e. enjoyment and competency or individuals are unlikely to persist in behaviour (Brawley & Vallerand, 1984: Wankel, 1993).   Many exercise interventions appear to attempt to engage individuals only at a level which appeals to extrinsic motives only such as improving fitness or appearance; this in light of the previous research has implications the success of campaigns tartgeting only intrinsic motivations for exercise. 

Ryan, R., Frederick, C., Lepes, D., Rubio, N., & Sheldon, K. (1997). Intrinsic motivation and exercise adherence. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 28, 335-354.

Ryan, R., & Deci, E. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.

Taylor IM, Ntoumanis N, Standage M, & Spray CM (2010). Motivational predictors of physical education students' effort, exercise intentions, and leisure-time physical activity: a multilevel linear growth analysis. Journal of sport & exercise psychology, 32 (1), 99-120 PMID: 20167954

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Social Comparison theory - more resources

As I'm off to a conference this week.  Limited time to post, so as Social Comparison is one of the most frequently searched terms that Google directs to this site I thought I would update the links and resources I have come across. 

Mussweiler, T., Rüter, K., & Epstude, K. (2004). The Ups and Downs of Social Comparison: Mechanisms of Assimilation and Contrast. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(6), 832-844.

Suls, J., Martin, R., & Wheeler, L. (2002). Social comparison: Why, with whom, and with what effect? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(5), 159.

Buunk, B., Collins, R., Taylor, S., VanYperen, N., & Dakof, G. (1990). The affective consequences of social comparison: Either direction has its ups and downs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59(6), 1238-1249.

L. Festinger,L (1954). A theory of social comparison processes, Human Relations 1, 117–140

Buunk, A & Gibbons, F (2007). Social comparison: The end of a theory and the emergence of a field, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 102, 3–22.

Taylor, S., & Lobel, M. (1989). Social comparison activity under threat: Downward evaluation and upward contacts. Psychological Review, 96(4), 569-575.

Kruglanski, A., & Mayseless, O. (1990). Classic and current social comparison research: Expanding the perspective. Psychological Bulletin, 108(2), 195-208.

Buunk, B., & Mussweiler, T. (2001). New directions in social comparison research. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31(5), 467-475.

Buunk BP, Collins RL, Taylor SE, VanYperen NW, & Dakof GA (1990). The affective consequences of social comparison: either direction has its ups and downs. Journal of personality and social psychology, 59 (6), 1238-49 PMID: 2283590

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Exercise for overweight or obesity

This report is a systematic review of the evidence on Exercise for overweight or obesity.  It's in the form of a  Cochrane Report.  The Cochrane Collaboration is an international, independent, not-for-profit organisation of over 27,000 contributors from more than 100 countries, dedicated to making up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of health care readily available worldwide.  It is a thorough review of the evidence in the area of obesity and exercise and its about as good a review as you will find anywhere.  The report is long, detailed and extremely useful.  I refer to it frequently and i'm sure i will do in the future too!  The report can be found here.

Shaw K, Gennat H, O'Rourke P, & Del Mar C (2006). Exercise for overweight or obesity. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (4) PMID: 17054187

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Physical Activity and Obesity

This article examines the role of physical activity and obesity.  It gives a useful summary of the decline of physical activity and its relevance to obesity.  It also examines the role of PA in terms of weight management and weight loss.  Hills et al. (2006) has an excellent table to illustrate where declines in physical activity in daily life may come from.

Population-wide declines in physical activity (modified from Brownson et al., 2005)

• Leisure-time physical activity: level or slightly increasing
• Work-related activity: declining
• Transportation activity: declining
• Activity in the home: declining; and
• Sedentary activity: increasing; therefore, total physical activity is declining

Hills argues that the role of increased energy expenditure through  physical activity is the key to weight loss and long term weight maintenance.The paper is available in full here .  The relationship between decline in physical activity and weight management has been covered in several previous posts.  My own favourite is Obesity in Britain: gluttony or sloth? which examines the calorific intake in the UK diet over a 20 year period and established that it has declined.  They concluded that physical activity in everyday life had declined and that this was especially the case for children.

Hills, A., & Byrne, N. (2006). State of the science: a focus on physical activity. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 15, 40-48.

Brownson, R., Boehmer, T., & Luke, D. (2005). Declining rates of physical activity in the United States: what are the contributors? Annual review of public health, 26, 421.  (Abstract only)

Prentice, A., & Jebb, S. (1995). Obesity in Britain: gluttony or sloth? British medical journal, 311(7002), 437

Hills AP, & Byrne NM (2006). State of the science: a focus on physical activity. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 15 Suppl, 40-8 PMID: 16928660

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Qualitative exercise adherence studies - participants with back pain and knee pain

Slade et al. (2009) is a qualitative study on people with non-specific chronic low back pain and examines their exercise adherence.  It examines their experiences of exercise past and present and also how they felt during the research study programme.  Many of the findings are in line with expectations from people who have been unsuccessful at establishing long term exercise behaviour, low exercise self efficacy and feelings of fear and helplessness.  The participants also reported that they felt that they lacked sufficient expertise on gym equipment and all expressed a desire for better instruction and feedback of all exercises.  Its a good qualitative paper with exerts from focus group transcripts which really help to understand how some people with injuries and chronic conditions feel about exercise and physical activity.  The full paper can be found here.

Another qualitative paper from a similar population is  Hendry et al (2006) and examines the experience of people with Osteoarthiritis of the knee.  The themes of the focus groups are broadly similar and its good to read the two studies to compare the experiences of the two groups.  The Hendry study can be found here.

Slade SC, Molloy E, & Keating JL (2009). People with non-specific chronic low back pain who have participated in exercise programs have preferences about exercise: a qualitative study. The Australian journal of physiotherapy, 55 (2), 115-21 PMID: 19463082

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Spotlight on Inactivity

A report published yesterday in the UK by Professor Sir Liam Donaldson the UK Government's Chief Medical Officer, and the professional head of all medical staff in England, draws attention to the role of inactivity in the nations health.

The report states that "the benefits of regular physical activity to health, longevity, well being and protection from serious illness have long been established. They easily surpass the effectiveness of any drugs or other medical treatment. The challenge for everyone, young and old alike, is to build these benefits into their daily lives"".

Key points
• Inactivity affects 60–70% of the adult population: that is more people than obesity, alcohol misuse and smoking combined.

• The physical fitness of children is declining by up to 9% per decade.

• By increasing the risk of developing more than six major diseases, inactivity poses a significant risk to the population’s health.

• Physical activity tends to decline with age, but this decline is not inevitable.

• The potential benefits of physical activity to health are huge. If a medication existed which had a similar effect, it would be regarded as a ‘wonder drug’ or ‘miracle cure’.

Nice to see this being spelled out so clearly in the media, its getting a lot of publicity in the UK.  The report can be found here and the physical activity section starts on page 20.

Blair, S (2007). 61 Physical inactivity: the biggest public health problem of the 21st Century Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 10, 29-29 DOI: 10.1016/S1440-2440(07)70066-X

Monday, 15 March 2010

An investigation into the effect of motivational climate on participant enjoyment of children’s athletics sessions

I thought today for some light relief I would post my undergrad dissertation.  As I can actually read it and feel OK about it, i reckon its not too bad, it also got quite a good grade  It can be downloaded in full here.  Don't submit it as your own!  That's cheating!  Any questions email me!

The study was based on the using TARGET framework to influence motivational climate in children's coaching sessions, the abstract is below;

Grounded in Achievement Goal Theory (Maehr & Nicholls, 1980: Nicholls, 1984: Dweck, 1986: Ames, 1984) and with a Social Cognitive Perspective (Bandura, 1986) the study investigated the effects of motivational climate on enjoyment ratings of children's athletics sessions.   The rationale was to attempt to increase enjoyment by designing lesson plans which could utilize the reported benefits of a mastery motivational climate. It was postulated this may reduce drop out rates in children's physical activity classes.  The children n=16 (10 boys and 6 girls) mean age 9.87 took part in two sessions.  The researcher attempted to manipulate the motivational climate of the sessions using the TARGET framework, (Ames, 1992: Epstein, 1989) to design sessions with a mastery or performance motivational climate.  The enjoyment rating of the children was measured after each session.  The results indicated that the there was no significant difference in the enjoyment score rating of the two sessions.

Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84 (3), 261-271 DOI: 10.1037//0022-0663.84.3.261

Friday, 12 March 2010

Obesity, more and more reports and resources!

There are it seems more reports and strategies concerning obesity than just about anything else. The strange thing is I have yet to read a bad strategy or poorly presented report, most of the papers are excellent. Its the scale and complexity of the problem that seems to be defeating us. The best report on the causes remain in my view the UK Government Foresight report, available on this site.  There is also the recently published Scottish report Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland - A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight also on this site.  

The newer reports I have come across are the not so snappily titled, Prevention of Obesity in Europe – Consortium for the prevention of obesity through effective nutrition and physical activity actions report, Tackling the social and economic determinants of nutrition and physical activity for the prevention of obesity across Europe.  Again its a useful report and has great background and research reading for those who are interested.  My favourite find is the quite wonderful, F as in Fat: How obesity policies are failing in America  .  Again great report, unfortunately a rather sobering and depressing read.  I would like to see obesity policies from around the world so if you come across one, could you please send me a link! 

Now for some blatant advertising.  My old lecturer has updated one of her publications.  Its called the Psychology of Physical Activity: Determinants, Well-Being and Interventions its a great reference or text book.  I used it as an undergrad for four years and it was useful for virtually every essay I wrote.

Trust for America's  Health (2009). F as in Fat: How obesity policies are failing in America, 1-108

Obesity in Scotland - An epidemiological briefing (2007)

Can the Theory of Planned Behavior Predict the Maintenance of Physical Activity?

The theory of planned behavior (TPB) has been applied to many areas of research in physical activity with varying degrees of success I would argue.  This paper looks at the ability of TPB to predict participation in physical activity and explored the development of activity habits in a 12-week study. Gym members completed standard theory of planned behavior measures at baseline and follow-up.  The author argues that the results suggest  that perceived behavioral control was significantly predictive of intentions and actual behavior.   That stable exercise habits developed in the first 5 weeks of the study, and that successful prior performance enhanced perceptions of behavioral control.  As part of my current research I am running a 12 week circuit training class to study adherence.  The findings of the study regarding the 5 week period for exercise habits to develop are particularly interesting as in my study the findings for this element are broadly similar.  The article can be found here

Armitage, C. (2005). Can the Theory of Planned Behavior Predict the Maintenance of Physical Activity? Health Psychology, 24 (3), 235-245 DOI: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.3.235

Chatzisarantis, N., Hagger, M., & Smith, B. (2007). Influences of perceived autonomy support on physical activity within the theory of planned behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37(5), 934.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Bridging the intention behaviour gap: Planning, self-efficacy, and action control in the adoption and maintenance of physical exercise

In this paper from 2005 Sniehottaet al. examine why although some people develop an intention to change their health behaviour many do not follow through from intention to action. The gap between the intention and behaviour has been called the ‘‘intention–behaviour gap.’’ The authors examine factors which can be used to reduce the gap. They examine action planning, perceived self-efficacy, and self-regulatory strategies to investigate what effect these can have on reducing disparity between intention and behaviour. The study looked a participants who were cardiac rehabilitation patients their physical activity participation. The authors claim that "the results have implications for research on the intention–behaviour gap, and indicate that planning, maintenance self-efficacy and action control may be important volitional variables". Its well worth a read and examines what I think is a particularly interesting area in Exercise Psychology. The paper can be found here!

Sniehotta, F., Scholz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2005). Bridging the intention-behaviour gap: Planning, self-efficacy, and action control in the adoption and maintenance of physical exercise Psychology & Health, 20 (2), 143-160 DOI: 10.1080/08870440512331317670

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Let's Make Scotland More Active!

I thought i would post the Scottish Physical Activity strategy to demonstrate that a good strategy requires effective implementation. The document Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland
identified that Scotland was the third most obese country in the world after the USA and Mexico. This may actually be progress as until the report we were usually named as the second! Let's Make Scotland More Active is actually a very good strategy document. It was published in 2003 but progress has been slow with little improvement in PA rates since then. PA is measured in Scotland by the Scottish Health Survey which is now published annually. Since 2003 there has been much discussion about how to go about increasing PA participation, unfortunately politicians and the media seem to be unable to grasp the difference between sport, physical activity and physical education. Policies such as children having two hours of quality physical education per week have sometimes changed to two hours of PA which could include walking to school! The policies themselves remain useful, what is required is the political will to implement them and obviously more PA research!

The Scottish Government (2003). Let's Make Scotland More Active, Edinburgh, Scottish Government (February, 2003 )

Friday, 5 March 2010

Pleasant for some and unpleasant for others: Cognitive factors that influence affective responses to exercise

This article leads on from the post Exercise does not feel the same when you are overweight. It explores how exercise feels different for different people. The authors examine the idea that individuals choose to participate in behaviours which are pleasant and avoid those that are unpleasant. This is an important area of physical activity research. The study also examines the role of the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). The authors examine "the idea that knowing why someone feels the way he or she does during exercise...could be just as important as knowing 'how' he or she feels"and could provide significant theoretical and practical advances". The full article can be found here .

Rose, E., & Parfitt, G. (2010). Pleasant for some and unpleasant for others: a protocol analysis of the cognitive factors that influence affective responses to exercise International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-7-15

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Physical Activity and Mental Health

Babyak et al. (2000) examined the use of physical activity as a treatment for depression. Participants classified as clinically depressed were given, aerobic exercise, drugs or both as treatment. The exercise only group recovered as well as the other groups but had a lower relapse rate, perhaps caused by the participants feeling that they had a more active role in their treatment. The exercise group also a side effect of the participants getting fitter. There are many other studies associating participating in physical activity with increased feelings of well-being and other associated mental health benefits.

Details of the Babyak et al. (2000) study are here:

Other physical activity related sources NHS Health Scotland

Physical Activity and Mental Health: the role of physical activity in promoting mental wellbeing and preventing mental health problems, briefing document May 2008

Azar, D., Ball, K., Salmon, J., & Cleland, V. (2010). Physical activity correlates in young women with depressive symptoms: a qualitative study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7(1), 3.

Babyak M, Blumenthal JA, Herman S, Khatri P, Doraiswamy M, Moore K, Craighead WE, Baldewicz TT, & Krishnan KR (2000). Exercise treatment for major depression: maintenance of therapeutic benefit at 10 months. Psychosomatic medicine, 62 (5), 633-8 PMID: 11020092

Monday, 22 February 2010

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Prevention of obesity: a review of interventions

This article from 2006 reviews the effectiveness of interventions to prevent obesity. The authors reported a 'generally consistent finding that total physical activity decreases the risk of overweight and obesity'. Whilst, not unsurprising, it is at least reassuring to see that in print. The article is quite short at four pages but gives a good review of the available evidence. The article is available here. A useful companion is the UK report Tackling Obesities: Future Choices – Project report which offers a thorough look at the many causes and influences of obesity. The graphic models are especially useful and illustrate effectively the complexity of the problem.

Brown, T., Kelly, S., & Summerbell, C. (2007). Prevention of obesity: a review of interventions. Obesity Reviews, 8 (s1), 127-130 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2007.00331.x

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Exercise Adherence among Older Adults: Challenges and Strategies

This short paper gives a good review of the challenges facing researchers in the area of exercise adherence. Researchers aim to encourage people to exercise or take part in physical activity at a level sufficient to enable them to enjoy the associated health benefits. However as Dishman (1994) reports within six months of starting an exercise program the drop-out rate can be as high as 50%. My current research project involves an intervention which attempts to utilize Social Comparison Theory to increase adherence. Hopefully I will post some interim results here soon. Get the article here

Chao D, Foy CG, & Farmer D (2000). Exercise adherence among older adults: challenges and strategies. Controlled clinical trials, 21 (5 Suppl) PMID: 11018578

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Exercise does not feel the same when you are overweight

This paper from 2006 is useful for several reasons. Adherence rates for those who are overweight or obese are lower than those of the general population. This paper argues that exercise does not feel the same when you are overweight. The study had female participants run on a treadmill at two speeds, a self selected speed and that speed plus 10%, referred to as the 'imposed' speed. The authors reported that 'the overweight women showed higher oxygen uptake and perceived exertion than the normal weight women during both sessions. Although the two groups did not differ in ratings of pleasure displeasure during the session at self-selected speed, only the overweight women showed a significant decline when the speed was imposed'. This article is very useful in explaining possible reasons for the different adherence rates between the general population and those who are overweight or obese. Read it in full here .

Ekkekakis, P., & Lind, E. (2005). Exercise does not feel the same when you are overweight: the impact of self-selected and imposed intensity on affect and exertion International Journal of Obesity, 30 (4), 652-660 DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803052

Intrinsic motivation and exercise adherence

This journal article is a little old. Its from 1997, however as it's on adherence and recruits participants from university students (my present research recruits from university staff) it is well worth a read. Ryan et al., examined adherence to exercise classes at an aerobics and a Tae Kwon Do class. They reported that the Tae Kwon Do participants reported greater enjoyment of the class and had a higher adherence than the aerobics participants. The authors hypothesized that the aerobics participants would be more motivated by body related motives for taking part in physical activity, whereas they hypothesized that the Tae Kwon Do group would be more motivated by mastery motives. An Interesting study. You can read the paper in full here .

Ryan, R., Frederick, C., Lepes, D., Rubio, N., & Sheldon, K (1997). Intrinsic motivation and exercise adherence International Journal of Sport Psychology, 28, 335-354

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Effects of Self-Efficacy on Exercise - Email study

Self-efficacy is a major part of my PhD research. Bandura (1986) describes Self-efficacy as , "one's self-judgements of personal capabilities to initiate and successfully perform specified tasks at designated levels, expend greater effort, and persevere in the face of adversity". It's an important area in physical activity research as not many people will attempt an activity they don't think they are capable of, never mind stick to it. Luszczynska and Tryburcy (2008) examined the effects of an intervention to try and increase Self-efficacy beliefs regarding physical activity. Another interesting aspect of the study is that it was entirely carried out by email on-line. They also gave the participants access to their ongoing self efficacy scores and the means for the study. This is involves social comparison with other participants and is an aspect of my own research. The study used participants from a general population and also groups with diabetes and CVD. It can be read in full here . The authors report positive findings for the intervention.

Luszczynska, A., & Tryburcy, M. (2008). Effects of a Self-Efficacy Intervention on Exercise: The Moderating Role of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases Applied Psychology, 57 (4), 644-659 DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-0597.2008.00340.x

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Individual behaviour change strategies

I came across this excellent article today on Individual behaviour change strategies. It is published in the ACSM's Health and fitness journal. The article can be found here It covers how to tailor physical activity behaviour change strategies to make them effective. Its full of good advice and i can see me using the information in the future. I always get annoyed when we think that getting people through the door of a gym is the end of the journey! Thats the the start, my own area is exercise adherence and i am all too aware of the drop off in attendance that occurs with PA intervention. I think realistic expectations and advice are crucial at this time. This article has lots of good advice and i hope to put it to good use!

White, Siobhan M. B.S.; Mailey, Emily L. M.S.; McAuley, Edward (2010). Individual behaviour change strategies ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal, 14 (1), 8-15

Monday, 15 February 2010

Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence

This is a summary of the main findings from a systematic review carried out by Warburton, Nicol and Bredin (2007. The article can be found here!

Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence
Warburton, Nicol and Bredin (2007)

All cause mortality and cardiovascular disease
Recent investigations have that being physically active leads to reductions in the risk of death from any cause and from cardiovascular disease. For instance, being fit or active was associated with a greater than 50% reduction in risk.
Observational studies have provided compelling evidence that regular physical activity and a high fitness level are associated with a reduced risk of premature death from any cause and from cardiovascular disease in particular among asymptomatic men and women. Furthermore, a dose– response relation appears to exist, such that people who have the highest levels of physical activity and fitness are at lowest risk of premature death.

Several investigators have reported a reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes among high-risk people (e.g., those who are overweight) after lifestyle interventions. Modest weight loss through diet and exercise reduced the incidence of the disease among high-risk people by about 40%–60% over 3–4 years. Exercise interventions for patients with diabetes are beneficial in improving glucose homeostasis. Many studies have shown a strong association between exercise and reduced rates of death from any cause and from diabetes in particular.

Several seminal reviews have been published regarding the relation between cancer and routine physical activity. It appears that routine physical activity, whether as part of a job or as a leisure activity, is associated with reductions in the incidence of specific cancers, in particular colon and breast cancer.

Weight-bearing exercise, especially resistance exercise, appears to have the greatest effects on bone mineral density. There is compelling evidence that routine physical activity, especially weight-bearing and impact exercise, prevents bone loss associated with aging. Exercise training programs were found to prevent or reverse almost 1% of bone loss per year. Exercise training appears to significantly reduce the risk and number of falls.

How does physical activity do this?
Several biological mechanisms may be responsible for the reduction in the risk of chronic disease and premature death associated with routine physical activity. For instance, routine physical activity has been shown to improve body composition, enhance lipid lipoprotein profiles, improve glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity, reduce blood pressure and improve coronary blood flow.

Recent studies have shown that exercise training may cause marked reductions in C-reactive protein levels. Each of these factors may explain directly or indirectly the reduced incidence of chronic disease and premature death among people who engage in routine physical activity.

Monday, 8 February 2010

New qualitative exercise adherence study

I just came across this newly published exercise adherence study. Although it doesn't have any new references for me on adherence. It was interesting to read the comments from the transcripts included in the paper. People with diabetes talking about potentially losing legs through lack of exercise, stating that they lacked motivation! Well worth a read, get it here.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Are we eating too much or exercising too little?

Obesity in Britain: gluttony or sloth? Often when I talk to people regarding weight loss or physical activity I steer them towards this paper. It puts forward the case that we are actually consuming less calories than 20 years ago. The obesity crisis is caused largely by our lack of, or reduction of physical activity in the same period. Although counter arguments and papers exist, I like this as generally it causes people to stop and think about how much physical activity they do, and about the diminishing opportunity in everyday life to take part in physical activity. The paper can be found here.

Monday, 1 February 2010

How much does an effective PA intervention cost?

Müller-Riemenschneider, Reinhold and Willich (2009)examined the cost of an effective PA intervention. Few studies actually ever examine the cost of interventions. They managed to calculate that the average cost of effective intervention was 800 euros per year. This may initially seem quite high but compared with the associated health cost of obesity and inactivity it may be a bargain! Read the full text article in the BMJ here.