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.