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Physical Activity and Sports as Determinants of Health at All Ages from a Biological, Psychosocial, and Environmental Perspective

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Sport and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2023) | Viewed by 15591

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Guest Editor
Department of Translational Biomedicine and Neuroscience (DiBraiN), University of Study of Bari, 70124 Bari, Italy
Interests: physical activity; fitness; exercise physiology; health promotion; body composition; human performance; special education; nutrition; tactical populations; sport psychology; strength and conditioning; combat sport; data analysis; research methodology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Physical activity is known to provide a wide range of health benefits that can protect individuals from diseases and enhance their mental and physical health. Regular physical activity can prevent and manage a range of chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, and improve musculoskeletal health, weight management, motor skill development in children, and mental health problems. The pervasiveness of social, environmental, and behavioral determinants of health determines the exposure to risk factors that differ and evolve across the lifespan including exposure to literacy, physical activity and lifestyle habits, environmental and occupational exposure, and diseases. For instance, the excessive use of technology and the internet has encouraged the development of sedentariness and related disorders at all ages; it has also led to the emergence of deviant behaviour such as cyberbullying, which can be defined as a lifespan phenomenon and can also affect the workplace as well as the school environment. The negative consequences for the victims involved are lower self-esteem, greater loneliness, depression, and anxiety. School and workplace interventions that foster resilience, coping, and well-being are particularly important during lifespan as protective and preventive factors against the consequences of (cyber)bullying. Sports-based interventions in educational settings are very effective in preventing this phenomenon. Novel discoveries and methods relating to biological, psychosocial, and environmental components are particularly welcome. This new Special Issue on promoting health for population is characterized by advanced research methods, such as prospective longitudinal designs, random controlled trials, cross-sectional studies, meta-analyses and systematic reviews, innovative technologies, and the application of these methods and technologies in healthy specific population groups, including clinical and special populations as well as communities stratified by socioeconomic criteria. Papers addressing these topics are invited for this Special Issue, especially those combining a high academic standard coupled with a practical focus on providing optimal solutions for promoting health for all ages.

Dr. Gianpiero Greco
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • health promotion
  • psychological well-being
  • school achievement
  • body composition
  • special groups
  • adapted sports
  • tactical population
  • combat sports
  • stress
  • fatigue
  • special educational needs
  • social exclusion among peers
  • sustainable school environment
  • bullying
  • cyberbullying
  • internet addiction

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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11 pages, 387 KiB  
Article
What Drives Portuguese Women to Be Physically Active? Associations between Motives and Well-Being Indicators
by Alicia Silva, Raul Antunes, Diogo Monteiro, Miguel Jacinto, Rui Matos and Filipe Rodrigues
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3352; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043352 - 14 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1492
Abstract
Motives and self-esteem play crucial roles in shaping personal behavior and emotions and have been shown to impact well-being. However, the association between these constructs has been overlooked in women who seem to be more externally driven to engage in exercise. The present [...] Read more.
Motives and self-esteem play crucial roles in shaping personal behavior and emotions and have been shown to impact well-being. However, the association between these constructs has been overlooked in women who seem to be more externally driven to engage in exercise. The present study was carried out with the objective of analyzing the associations between motives for physical exercise, positive and negative activations, and self-esteem of Portuguese women exercising at gyms and fitness centers. The sample consists of 206 women aged between 16 and 68 years old (M = 35.77; SD = 11.47). Participants answered a short sociodemographic questionnaire, the Goal Content for Exercise Questionnaire, the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, and the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale. The results showed that the health motive had the highest predictive value (β = 0.24; p < 0.01) on self-esteem and demonstrated a positive and significant correlation with positive activation and self-esteem (p < 0.01). On the other hand, the social recognition motive had the lowest predictive value on self-esteem (β = −0.04; p > 0.05) and demonstrated a non-significant correlation with positive activation and self-esteem (p > 0.05). Looking at the coefficients in the hierarchical regression model, it can be seen that the health motive and positive activation were positively and significantly correlated with self-esteem. This study points to the need to raise awareness about the motives of exercise related to the physical and mental health of Portuguese women. Portuguese women that exercise for health motives display greater perceived self-esteem which is an indication of a greater sense of well-being. While the results are limited to Portuguese women, exercise physiologists assessing exercise motives could provide information on how to prescribe exercise as a means to increase self-esteem, considering the positive activation resulting from this behavior. Full article
14 pages, 1506 KiB  
Article
Physical Changes of Preschool Children during COVID-19 School Closures in Fujian, China
by Guobo Li, Le Yang, Xingyan Xu, Mingjun Chen, Yingying Cai, Yeying Wen, Xiaoxu Xie, Xinyue Lu, Suping Luo, Shaowei Lin, Huangyuan Li and Siying Wu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(20), 13699; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192013699 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1996
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic may constitute an “obesogenic lifestyle” that results in exacerbating childhood obesity. However, studies investigating regional sociodemographic factors including different age groups or sexes in children with obesity are lacking. We aimed to clarify the high obesity prevalence populations of preschool [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic may constitute an “obesogenic lifestyle” that results in exacerbating childhood obesity. However, studies investigating regional sociodemographic factors including different age groups or sexes in children with obesity are lacking. We aimed to clarify the high obesity prevalence populations of preschool children to provide a regional basis for children’s health policy during the COVID-19 school closures. From May to September 2019, a total of 29,518 preschool children were included in a large sample, multicenter cross-sectional study to explore physical status in Fujian Province by stratified cluster random sampling. In October 2019 and October 2020, we also conducted a cross-sectional study exploring physical development including changes in height, weight, and BMI of 1688 preschool children in Fuzhou before and after the COVID-19 school closures. Student’ s t-test, Mann–Whitney U test, or chi-square test was used to assess differences in physical development and overweight and obesity rates among preschool children before and after school closures. For regional factors, the weight of urban preschool children of all ages became higher after the outbreak (p (age 3–4) = 0.009; p (age 4–5) < 0.001; p (age 5–6) = 0.002). For sex factors, overweight and obesity in boys had a greater prevalence than in girls before and after the outbreak. In four age groups, overweight and obesity rates in the 5-year-old group (15.5% and 9.9%) were higher than before (11.4% and 6.0%). The weight and BMI of 4- to 5-year-old children also increased faster than before (p < 0.001). The COVID-19 pandemic has promoted the epidemic of childhood obesity. Living in urban/coastal (economically developed) areas, boys, and aged 4–6 years old may be a susceptible population to obesity development after the outbreak. Full article
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14 pages, 1214 KiB  
Article
Alcohol, Tobacco and Cannabis Consumption on Physical Activity and Physical and Social Self-Concept in Secondary School Students: An Explanatory Model Regarding Gender
by Eduardo Melguizo-Ibáñez, Félix Zurita-Ortega, Gabriel González-Valero, Pilar Puertas-Molero, Georgian Badicu, Gianpiero Greco, Stefania Cataldi and Francesco Fischetti
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(16), 10243; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191610243 - 18 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1573
Abstract
Nowadays, the adolescent population consumes substances that are harmful to health at an earlier age. Therefore, the present research aimed to (i) develop an explanatory model of tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis consumption on physical self-concept, social self-concept, and physical activity practice and (ii) [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the adolescent population consumes substances that are harmful to health at an earlier age. Therefore, the present research aimed to (i) develop an explanatory model of tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis consumption on physical self-concept, social self-concept, and physical activity practice and (ii) contrast the model through a multi-group analysis according to the gender of the participants. For this purpose, descriptive, comparative, and cross-sectional research was carried out on adolescent students (M = 13.91; SD = 1.31, years), using the Self-Concept Form 5 Questionnaire, the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (PAQ-A), and the State Survey on Drug Use in Secondary Education (ETUDES) for data collection. Findings revealed that the consumption of harmful substances has a positive impact on the social area and the practice of physical exercise, showing a negative relationship between the latter variable and the social and physical area of self-concept. Full article
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11 pages, 2473 KiB  
Article
Effects of the Task Complexity on the Single Movement Response Time of Upper and Lower Limbs in Police Officers
by Dunja Janković, Aleksandar Čvorović, Milivoj Dopsaj, Iva Prćić and Filip Kukić
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8695; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148695 - 17 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1991
Abstract
Police officers occasionally encounter belligerents resisting or even physically assaulting them without or with objects. The self-defense or legal utilization of use of force to disable the offender from harming an officer or others may depend on a single movement speed of hands [...] Read more.
Police officers occasionally encounter belligerents resisting or even physically assaulting them without or with objects. The self-defense or legal utilization of use of force to disable the offender from harming an officer or others may depend on a single movement speed of hands and legs. This study investigated the effects of task complexity on a single movement response time of the upper and lower limbs in police officers. The sample consisted of 32 male police officers aged between 23 and 50 years. They performed a single movement as fast as possible with their upper and lower limb in three incrementally more complex tasks. In the first task, participants acted on a light signal and with their dominant limb they had to turn off the signal as fast as possible. In the second task, on the light signal, participants could turn off the light with free choice of the upper limb in a hand task or lower limb in a leg task. In the third task, participants had to turn the light off with the right limb if the light turned red and with the left limb if the light turned blue. The BlazePod device was used to assess the movement response time. The results show that there was a significant effect of task complexity on the single movement response time of the hand (F = 24.5, p < 0.001) and leg (F = 46.2, p < 0.001). The training of police officers should utilize specific and situational tasks to improve movement response time by improving the redundancy in decision-making processes during work-specific tasks of different complexity. Full article
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11 pages, 384 KiB  
Article
Within-Week Variations and Relationships between Internal and External Intensities Occurring in Male Professional Volleyball Training Sessions
by Ricardo Franco Lima, Francisco Tomás González Férnandez, Ana Filipa Silva, Lorenzo Laporta, Henrique de Oliveira Castro, Sérgio Matos, Georgian Badicu, Gonçalo Arezes Pereira, Gustavo De Conti Teixeira Costa and Filipe Manuel Clemente
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8691; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148691 - 17 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1486
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to test the within-week variations of the internal and external training intensity outcomes organized by days of the week. An 8-month observational period was conducted during the 2020–2021 season. The training sessions and matches of an elite [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study was to test the within-week variations of the internal and external training intensity outcomes organized by days of the week. An 8-month observational period was conducted during the 2020–2021 season. The training sessions and matches of an elite volleyball team were monitored daily. The data comes from 14 players (two setters, five middle blockers, five outside hitters, and two opposites) of an elite team from the Portuguese 1st League (age: 21.7 ± 4.19 years of age; experience: 6.2 ± 3.8 years; body mass: 85.7 ± 8.69 kg; height: 192.4 ± 6.25 cm; BMI: 23.1 ± 1.40 kg/m2). The CR10 Borg scale was applied daily to measure the training intensity. The rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and the session-RPE were extracted as the internal outcomes. The external intensity was measured using an inertial measurement unit (IMU). The number of jumps, height average of jumps (JHA), minimum jump (MJ), maximal jump (MXJ), range jump (RJ), number of jumps (NJ), and training session density (D) were extracted as external intensity outcomes. The results showed that there was a difference between RPE and S-RPE (F (1.98) = 6.31, p = 0.01, η2 = 0.36, and F (1.73) = 28.30, p = 0.001, η2 = 0.72), as well as JHA and NJ (F (2.14) = 4.76, p = 0.02, η2 = 0.30, and F (1.77) = 4.77, p = 0.02, η2 = 0.30) within the microcycle. When analyzing the correlations between internal and external intensity, it was observed that there was a negative correlation between the Maximum Jump (4, 3, and 1 days before the Match day) (r2 = 0.34, r2 = 0.40, r2 = 0.41, respectively) and the Range Jump (3 and 1 days before the Match day (r2 = 0.33, r2 = 0.38, respectively) with the RPE (4 days before the Match day) and Maximum Jump (5, 4, 3, and 1 days before the Match day (r2 = 0.35, r2 = 0.39, r2 = 0.44, r2 = 0.34, respectively) and Range Jump (5, 4, 3, and 1 days before the Match day) (r2 = 0.34, r2 = 0.35, r2 = 0.40 and r2 = 0.36, respectively) with S_RPE (4 days before the Match day). Such findings show that higher internal intensities are correlated with lower external intensities in sessions further away from the game day. Such results could be an important tool for coaches to reflect, plan, monitor, and execute the training unit according to the temporal distance to the competition. Full article
14 pages, 522 KiB  
Article
Effects of Nordic Walking Training on Anthropometric, Body Composition and Functional Parameters in the Middle-Aged Population
by Alessia Grigoletto, Mario Mauro, Alberto Oppio, Gianpiero Greco, Francesco Fischetti, Stefania Cataldi and Stefania Toselli
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(12), 7433; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127433 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2788
Abstract
Nordic walking (NW) is an easy physical exercise that is usually proposed for clinical populations and for the elderly. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of a period of NW training in a non-clinical middle-aged population on anthropometric, [...] Read more.
Nordic walking (NW) is an easy physical exercise that is usually proposed for clinical populations and for the elderly. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of a period of NW training in a non-clinical middle-aged population on anthropometric, body composition and functional parameters. A pre-test/post-test study design was conducted on 77 participants: 56 women (72.7%, age 55.53 ± 9.73 years) and 21 men (27.3%, age 60.51 ± 8.15 years). The measurements were carried out with physical tests at the baseline and at the follow up. Participants did two weekly NW training sessions of about 60 min each. A questionnaire was administered to evaluate their feelings after the training period. Paired Students’ test was carried out to evaluate the pre–post differences, and the analysis of variance was performed to evaluate the questionnaire. Participants had significantly less stress and anxiety after the NW training. Body fat parameters showed a significant decrease, especially for women. Phase angle and strength of lower body presented a significant increase in both sexes after the training period. In conclusion, NW shows many potential benefits also for the nonclinical population and could be an important exercise to remain active and to maintain a good health condition. Full article
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Review

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13 pages, 1148 KiB  
Review
The Role of Nutrition and Forest-Bathing in the Physical Rehabilitation of Physically Inactive Patients: From the Molecular Aspects to New Nature-Inspired Techniques
by Steven Baker, Melinda Gilhen-Baker and Giovanni N. Roviello
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(1), 793; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20010793 - 31 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2958
Abstract
Physical rehabilitation plays a fundamental role in the management of individuals with disabilities associated with age-related muscle loss or affected by catastrophic conditions such as trauma, surgery, cancer or other severe pathologies. These events have in common an extended period of physical inactivity. [...] Read more.
Physical rehabilitation plays a fundamental role in the management of individuals with disabilities associated with age-related muscle loss or affected by catastrophic conditions such as trauma, surgery, cancer or other severe pathologies. These events have in common an extended period of physical inactivity. Patients who undergo prolonged bed rest often present with a number of complications; for example, muscle loss that can exacerbate existing conditions determined by sarcopenia, which in turn greatly limits physical functions. The main scope of this work is to summarize certain key strategies for the physiotherapeutic management of physically inactive patients, regardless of the reason behind their prolonged bed rest, with a particular focus on physical rehabilitation, nutrition and forest-bathing. The importance of correct nutrition in counter-acting the loss of muscle mass and consequent function is explored alongside a description of the main nutrients that are needed for muscle regeneration. From a biomolecular perspective, some specific molecular mechanisms associated with physical rehabilitation are also reported not only in the context of physical therapy, but also within nature-inspired techniques, such as forest-bathing as well as body self-healing. Combining a targeted physiotherapeutic approach with an appropriate diet as well as nature-based therapy could thus help with the recovery of bed ridden patients. Full article
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