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Concept: Physical fitness


There is consistent evidence supporting the ergogenic effects of caffeine for endurance based exercise. However, whether caffeine ingested through coffee has the same effects is still subject to debate. The primary aim of the study was to investigate the performance enhancing effects of caffeine and coffee using a time trial performance test, while also investigating the metabolic effects of caffeine and coffee. In a single-blind, crossover, randomised counter-balanced study design, eight trained male cyclists/triathletes (Mean±SD: Age 41±7y, Height 1.80±0.04 m, Weight 78.9±4.1 kg, VO2 max 58±3 ml•kg(-1)•min(-1)) completed 30 min of steady-state (SS) cycling at approximately 55% VO2max followed by a 45 min energy based target time trial (TT). One hour prior to exercise each athlete consumed drinks consisting of caffeine (5 mg CAF/kg BW), instant coffee (5 mg CAF/kg BW), instant decaffeinated coffee or placebo. The set workloads produced similar relative exercise intensities during the SS for all drinks, with no observed difference in carbohydrate or fat oxidation. Performance times during the TT were significantly faster (∼5.0%) for both caffeine and coffee when compared to placebo and decaf (38.35±1.53, 38.27±1.80, 40.23±1.98, 40.31±1.22 min respectively, p<0.05). The significantly faster performance times were similar for both caffeine and coffee. Average power for caffeine and coffee during the TT was significantly greater when compared to placebo and decaf (294±21 W, 291±22 W, 277±14 W, 276±23 W respectively, p<0.05). No significant differences were observed between placebo and decaf during the TT. The present study illustrates that both caffeine (5 mg/kg/BW) and coffee (5 mg/kg/BW) consumed 1 h prior to exercise can improve endurance exercise performance.

Concepts: Time, Coffee, Caffeine, Exercise physiology, VO2 max, Physical fitness, Decaffeination


Today¿s cell phones increase opportunities for activities traditionally defined as sedentary behaviors (e.g., surfing the internet, playing video games). People who participate in large amounts of sedentary behaviors, relative to those who do not, tend to be less physically active, less physically fit, and at greater risk for health problems. However, cell phone use does not have to be a sedentary behavior as these devices are portable. It can occur while standing or during mild-to-moderate intensity physical activity. Thus, the relationship between cell phone use, physical and sedentary activity, and physical fitness is unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate these relationships among a sample of healthy college students.

Concepts: Obesity, Physical exercise, Exercise, Mobile phone, Internet, Cardiorespiratory fitness, Physical fitness, Cellular network


A healthy lifestyle is an important focus in today’s society. The physical benefits of regular exercise are abundantly clear, but physical fitness is also associated with better cognitive performance. How these two factors together relate to characteristics of the brain is still incompletely understood. By applying mathematical concepts from ‘network theory’, insights in the organization and dynamics of brain functioning can be obtained. We test the hypothesis that neural network organization mediates the association between cardio respiratory fitness (i.e. VO2 max) and cognitive functioning. A healthy cohort was studied (n = 219, 113 women, age range 41-44 years). Subjects underwent resting-state eyes-closed magneto-encephalography (MEG). Five artifact-free epochs were analyzed and averaged in six frequency bands (delta-gamma). The phase lag index (PLI) was used as a measure of functional connectivity between all sensors. Modularity analysis was performed, and both within and between-module connectivity of each sensor was calculated. Subjects underwent a maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) measurement as an indicator of cardio respiratory fitness. All subjects were tested with a commonly used Dutch intelligence test. Intelligence quotient (IQ) was related to VO2 max. In addition, VO2 max was negatively associated with upper alpha and beta band modularity. Particularly increased intermodular connectivity in the beta band was associated with higher VO2 max and IQ, further indicating a benefit of more global network integration as opposed to local connections. Within-module connectivity showed a spatially varied pattern of correlation, while average connectivity did not show significant results. Mediation analysis was not significant. The occurrence of less modularity in the resting-state is associated with better cardio respiratory fitness, while having increased intermodular connectivity, as opposed to within-module connections, is related to better physical and mental fitness.

Concepts: Brain, Cognition, Intelligence quotient, Exercise physiology, Cooper test, Cardiorespiratory fitness, VO2 max, Physical fitness


Moderate-intensity exercise has attracted considerable attention because of its safety and many health benefits. Tai Chi, a form of mind-body exercise that originated in ancient China, has been gaining popularity. Practicing Tai Chi may improve overall health and well-being; however, to our knowledge, no study has evaluated its relationship with mortality. We assessed the associations of regular exercise and specifically participation in Tai Chi, walking, and jogging with total and cause-specific mortality among 61,477 Chinese men in the Shanghai Men’s Health Study (2002-2009). Information on exercise habits was obtained at baseline using a validated physical activity questionnaire. Deaths were ascertained through biennial home visits and linkage with a vital statistics registry. During a mean follow-up of 5.48 years, 2,421 deaths were identified. After adjustment for potential confounders, men who exercised regularly had a hazard ratio for total mortality of 0.80 (95% confidence interval: 0.74, 0.87) compared with men who did not exercise. The corresponding hazard ratios were 0.80 (95% confidence interval: 0.72, 0.89) for practicing Tai Chi, 0.77 (95% confidence interval: 0.69, 0.86) for walking, and 0.73 (95% confidence interval: 0.59, 0.90) for jogging. Similar inverse associations were also found for cancer and cardiovascular mortality. The present study provides the first evidence that, like walking and jogging, practicing Tai Chi is associated with reduced mortality.

Concepts: Statistics, Obesity, Cardiovascular disease, Physical exercise, Exercise, Interval finite element, Normal distribution, Physical fitness


The global epidemic of obesity and physical inactivity may have detrimental implications for young people’s cognitive function and academic achievement. This prospective study investigated whether childhood motor function predicts later academic achievement via physical activity, fitness, and obesity. The study sample included 8,061 children from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986, which contains data about parent-reported motor function at age 8 y and self-reported physical activity, predicted cardiorespiratory fitness (cycle ergometer test), obesity (body weight and height), and academic achievement (grades) at age 16 y. Structural equation models with unstandardized (B) and standardized (β) coefficients were used to test whether, and to what extent, physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and obesity at age 16 mediated the association between childhood motor function and adolescents' academic achievement. Physical activity was associated with a higher grade-point average, and obesity was associated with a lower grade-point average in adolescence. Furthermore, compromised motor function in childhood had a negative indirect effect on adolescents' academic achievement via physical inactivity (B = -0.023, 95% confidence interval = -0.031, -0.015) and obesity (B = -0.025, 95% confidence interval = -0.039, -0.011), but not via cardiorespiratory fitness. These results suggest that physical activity and obesity may mediate the association between childhood motor function and adolescents' academic achievement. Compromised motor function in childhood may represent an important factor driving the effects of obesity and physical inactivity on academic underachievement.

Concepts: Obesity, Overweight, Interval finite element, Adolescence, Confidence interval, Prediction interval, Physical fitness, Structural equation modeling


BACKGROUND: Aerobic capacity (VO2max) is highly dependent upon body composition of an individual and body composition varies with ethnicity. The purpose of this study was to check the concurrent validity of the non-exercise prediction equation developed by Jackson and colleagues (1990) using percentage body fat as a variable in Asian Indian adults. METHODS: One hundred twenty college-aged participants (60 male, 60 female, mean age 22.02 +/- 2.29 yrs) successfully completed a maximal graded exercise test (GXT) on a motorized treadmill to assess VO2max. VO2max was then estimated by the non-exercise prediction equation developed by Jackson and colleagues (1990) using percentage body fat. Percentage body fat was calculated by three different models (Sandhu et al’s fat mass equation, Durnin-womersley’s 4 site percentage body fat and Jackson & Pollock’s 4 site percentage body fat) and was used in the above equation. The results of VO2max obtained using “gold standard” treadmill methods were then compared with the three results of VO2max obtained by Jackson et al’s equation (using three different models to calculate percentage body fat) and it was determined which equation is best suited to determine percentage body fat and in turn VO2 max for Indian population. RESULTS: Jackson et al’s prediction equation overpredicts VO2max in Asian Indian subjects who have a lower VO2max (33.41 +/- 14.39 ml/kg/min) than those reported in other age matched populations. percentage body fats calculated by the three equations were significantly different and the correlation coefficient ® between VO2max calculated by Jackson and colleagues (1990) using Sandhu et al’s equation for percentage body fat with VO2 max calculated using treadmill (gold standard) (r = .817) was found slightly more significantly correlated than the other two equations and was not statistically different from the measured value. CONCLUSIONS: This study proves that VO2max equation using Sandhu et al’s model for percentage body fat yields more accurate results than other studied equations in healthy college-aged participants in India.

Concepts: Fat, Body fat percentage, Exercise physiology, Cooper test, VO2 max, Physical fitness


To evaluate the clinical effectiveness of weight management interventions in adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) and obesity using recommendations from current clinical guidelines for the first line management of obesity in adults. Full papers on lifestyle modification interventions published between 1982 to 2011 were sought by searching the Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and CINAHL databases. Studies were evaluated based on 1) intervention components, 2) methodology, 3) attrition rate 4) reported weight loss and 5) duration of follow up. Twenty two studies met the inclusion criteria. The interventions were classified according to inclusion of the following components: behaviour change alone, behaviour change plus physical activity, dietary advice or physical activity alone, dietary plus physical activity advice and multi-component (all three components). The majority of the studies had the same methodological limitations: no sample size justification, small heterogeneous samples, no information on randomisation methodologies. Eight studies were classified as multi-component interventions, of which one study used a 600 kilocalorie (2510 kilojoule) daily energy deficit diet. Study durations were mostly below the duration recommended in clinical guidelines and varied widely. No study included an exercise program promoting 225–300 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity per week but the majority of the studies used the same behaviour change techniques. Three studies reported clinically significant weight loss (>= 5%) at six months post intervention. Current data indicate weight management interventions in those with ID differ from recommended practice and further studies to examine the effectiveness of multi-component weight management interventions for adults with ID and obesity are justified.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Physical exercise, Overweight, Weight loss, Methodology, Dieting, Physical fitness


Acute physical activity has been repeatedly shown to improve various cognitive functions. However, there have been no investigations comparing the effects of exercise during verbal encoding versus exercise prior to encoding on long-term memory performance. In this current psychoneuroendocrinological study we aim to test whether light to moderate ergometric bicycling during vocabulary encoding enhances subsequent recall compared to encoding during physical rest and encoding after being physically active. Furthermore, we examined the kinetics of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in serum which has been previously shown to correlate with learning performance. We also controlled for the BDNF val66met polymorphism. We found better vocabulary test performance for subjects that were physically active during the encoding phase compared to sedentary subjects. Post-hoc tests revealed that this effect was particularly present in initially low performers. BDNF in serum and BDNF genotype failed to account for the current result. Our data indicates that light to moderate simultaneous physical activity during encoding, but not prior to encoding, is beneficial for subsequent recall of new items.

Concepts: Obesity, Physical exercise, Exercise, Overweight, Cycling, Neurotrophin, Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, Physical fitness


[Purpose] This study was conducted to identify the effects of walking on the body composition, health-related physical fitness, and serum lipids as part of efforts to encourage middle-aged people to participate in walking as a regular and sustainable exercise. [Methods] This study was conducted as a pretest-posttest control group study. The study period was for 12 weeks from January to March 2010. The participants were 43 middle-aged women (age range: 40-55 years) with body fat rates over 30%. Subjects in the experiment group participated in the walking exercise (n = 38), the control group did not participate in the exercise (n = 23). [Results] In the exercise group, statistically significant reductions in weight and body fat were observed among the body composition measurement variables, and statistically significant increases in flexibility and cardiopulmonary endurance were observed among the physical fitness measurement variables. TC, TG, and LDL-C levels in the serum lipid measurement variables showed a statistically significant reduction in the exercise group. [Conclusion] The results of this study showed that 12 weeks of walking exercise influenced middle-aged women in a positive way by effecting changes in their body composition, physical fitness, and serum lipids. We believe that these positive changes result in positive effects on the factors for prevention of various adult diseases that can occur in middle-aged women.

Concepts: Statistics, Middle age, Effect, Obesity, Statistical significance, Exercise, Fat, Physical fitness


Sedentary behaviour (too much sitting, as distinct from too little exercise) has emerged as a potentially significant public health issue. Analytically, researchers have reported ‘independent’ associations between sedentary behaviour (SB) and a number of health outcomes by adjusting for physical activity (PA) (and other confounders), and conclude that SB is associated with the outcome even in those who are physically active. However, the logical rationale for why adjustments for PA are required is often not delineated, and as a consequence, PA has been conceptualised as a confounder, an intermediary, and an effect measure modifier-sometimes simultaneously-in studies of SB and health outcomes. This paper discusses the analytical assumptions underlying adjustment for PA in studies of SB and a given outcome, and considers the implications for associations between SB and health.

Concepts: Public health, Obesity, Physical exercise, Exercise, Overweight, Weight loss, Rhabdomyolysis, Physical fitness