Effects of playing sports together on the physical competence of children with and without disabilities
The present study examined whether the physical competence of children with and without disabilities could be improved if they participated in a sports activity program intended for children to enjoy soccer together, regardless of disabilities. The participants included nine children with intellectual disabilities enrolled in a special support class and 12 children without intellectual disabilities enrolled in a standard class. A questionnaire survey of the children’s physical competence was conducted before and after their participation (pre and post) in the soccer games. ANOVA was performed on the athletic ability scale scores using a linear mixed model of group (children with disabilities and children without disabilities) × time (pre and post). The interaction of the feeling of control, one of the subscales of the questionnaire, was marginally significant. The simple main effect test following the Bonferroni method showed that, on the pre-participation questionnaire, the scores of the children with disabilities were significantly lower than those of the children without disabilities. However, the post-participation scores of the children with disabilities were significantly higher than their pre-participation scores. These results suggest that the feeling of control of children with disabilities may improve so as to be at par with that of children without disabilities when children with disabilities participate in a team sports activity involving children with and without disabilities.
Health-related quality of life and body composition of long-term judoka
The present study examined whether the long-term practice of judo is associated with maintenance of and improvement in health, specifically the quality of life (QOL) and health condition of individuals who had practiced judo for a long time. Their quality of life was assessed through questionnaires, and their health, through measurements of their body composition. Two surveys of judoka who had practiced judo for long time resulted in 250 usable quality of life questionnaires. In addition, the body composition measurement survey resulted in useable data from 323 respondents. Analysis of the data showed that the health-related quality of life of long-term judoka was higher than the national standard value. A comparison of the participants’ health-related quality of life by age, years of experience as a judoka, and training frequency revealed that the health-related quality of life in the older respondents, those with more years of experience, and those with a greater frequency of training was significantly higher. Analysis of the body composition measures of these long-term judo practitioners indicated that their fat free mass index (FFMI) and body mass index (BMI) were higher than had been reported in previous studies, and their fat mass index (FMI) was unchanged. Previous studies had suggested that because a high lean body mass is associated with maintaining and improving health, long-term judo practitioners must have healthy bodies. The results from the present study suggest that these long-term judo practitioners were healthy. It is possible that life-long practice of judo may to contribute maintaining and improving individuals’ health.
Comparison of kinematics and muscle activity in prone and dorsal underwater dolphin kicks
The purpose of the present study was to examine differences in kinematics and muscle activity between prone and dorsal underwater dolphin kicks. The participants, 8 male collegiate swimmers, performed trials in which they did 15-m underwater dolphin kick swims in the prone and dorsal positions at maximum effort. During the swim trials, 2-D motion analysis was conducted, and surface electromyography (EMG) was measured from 8 muscles in each swimmer’s trunk, thigh, and lower leg in order to obtain data for kinematic and muscle activity analyses. No significant differences were found in average swimming speed, kick frequency, kick amplitude, or Strouhal number between the two kick positions. However, the range of motion of the shoulder joint and the maximum angle of plantar flexion of the ankles were significantly larger, and the range of motion in the trunk was significantly smaller when the participants swam in the dorsal position than when in the prone position. In addition, although no significant difference was found in muscle activity pattern between the two positions, the average EMG of the rectus abdominis and external oblique muscles was significantly higher in the dorsal position than in the prone position. These results suggest that in dorsal underwater dolphin kicks, the upper limbs should be pushed down by the shoulder and hip joints during upward kicking, and the abdominal muscles should be more active during downward kicking.