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12 news posts in Frontiers in Sports and Active Living

Image: Eric Arce for Outride

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12 Oct 2023

Cycling in school improves teenagers’ mental health, but wider social factors may impact benefits

by Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: Eric Arce for Outride Physical activity promotes mental well-being and finding activities that people are keen to engage in is key. For teenagers, cycling might be one of them – combining fun, competition, and transportation needs. Researchers in the US have examined if taking part in an in-school cycling program improves middle schoolers’ mental health and found positive effects. While they concluded that cycling programs may be a pathway to improved mental well-being of teenagers, they also noted that the conditions in which students are born and live in determine mental and physical well-being significantly. Physical activity has positive effects on mental health and yet, activity rates are declining. This is particularly worrying because the mental well-being of teenagers continues to deteriorate. In the US, one in six school children is diagnosed with some type of mental disorder. Riding bikes is a promising approach to introduce school-aged children to physical activity. Now, researchers in the US have investigated how adolescents’ psychosocial well-being changed after participating in a school-based cycling program. “Participation in a school cycling education program during the Covid-19 pandemic was associated with improved psychosocial well-being amongst middle schoolers in the US,” […]

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27 Sep 2023

Swimming lessons often discourage kids from just having fun in the pool

By Mischa Dijkstra, Frontiers science writer Researchers rated the teaching style of swimming teachers in the Netherlands, focusing on the degree to which the need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness of children were thwarted or supported on the whole. They concluded that there is an opportunity to improve swimming teaching styles, especially by focusing more on the need for autonomy in children. It is expected that this will improve the enjoyment of children and their willingness to continue once they have become competent swimmers. Learning to swim is not just potentially life-saving: it also provides a full-body workout that promotes cardiovascular and lung health. While in high-income countries most children learn to swim, few join a swimming club afterwards. Here, authors from the Netherlands showed that the way that swimming lessons are taught in the Netherlands can be improved. This could stimulate more children to keep up the activity. The results are published in Frontiers in Sports and Active Living. Lead author Carola Minkels, a doctoral student at the Department of Human Movement Sciences of the Free University Amsterdam, said: “Here we show that swimming lessons in the Netherlands poorly support the intrinsic motivation of children: their need for autonomy […]

Image courtesy of Dr Novak: Dario Novak and Marin Čilić, 2020 Olympic silver medalist

Featured news

07 Sep 2023

What makes a Grand Slam champion? Research finds three key guidelines for tennis coaches

by Dr Dario Novak, University of Zagreb Image courtesy of Dr Novak: Dario Novak and Marin Čilić, 2020 Olympic silver medalist To provide adequate support to young athletes, it is important to understand their development path. Over the years, researchers have recognized the significance of tracking all processes aimed at optimizing athletes’ progress and overall success. In a new study by Mario Oršolić, Dr Petar Barbaros, and Dr Dario Novak, 30 tennis players at different levels of success were interviewed, including 10 Grand Slam winners, to understand how they got into the sport and what drove their success. The research, published in Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, sought to deepen the understanding of specialization in tennis by exploring the experiences of tennis players at different levels of success. By analyzing their stories, the researchers aimed to contribute to a wider knowledge on the development of tennis players, as well as providing valuable insight for individual sports careers. They condensed their findings down to the following guidelines for coaches and players: It is important that the initial introduction into tennis for younger children is aimed at stimulating positive feelings and love for the sport; Specialization (targeted and more intensive training) […]

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21 Apr 2023

The right sports bra may increase your running performance by 7%

By Suzanna Burgelman, science writer Researchers are one step closer to understanding the influence of good running apparel on running performance and injury risk. A new study in Frontiers in Sports and Active Living found that greater breast support during running is associated with increased knee joint stiffness, altering the lower body biomechanics of female runners. Specifically, a low support bra was associated with a 2% increase in knee joint stiffness, and a high support bra with 5%. Overall, a well-designed sports bra could increase a female’s running performance by 7%. Running is one of the most accessible forms of exercise with an array of proven cardiovascular and musculoskeletal benefits, and an added bonus of increased mental health. Good quality running gear, such as the right pair of shoes, is vital to improve running performance and reduce injury risk. For women particularly, a well-designed sports bra protects from exercise-induced breast pain, which can be a significant barrier to practicing sports. Up to 72% of women experience breast pain while running. Previous research has shown that the increased breast support sports bras offer not only influences breast movement but can also positively influence running performance. Greater breast support has been linked […]


05 May 2022

How bees prove to be skilled mathematicians and 3 other amazing science stories you may have missed

By Colm Gorey, Science Communications Manager Image: At Frontiers, we bring some of the world’s best research to a global audience. But with tens of thousands of articles published each year, many often fly under the radar. Here are just four amazing papers you may have missed. What are the odds? Honeybees join humans as the only animals known to be able to tell the difference between odd and even numbers A study published to Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution has created quite a ‘buzz’ among academics after it was found honeybees possess maths skills beyond what was originally thought. Previous studies have shown honeybees can learn to order quantities, perform simple addition and subtraction, match symbols with quantities, and relate size and number concepts. However, this time around, the bees were tasked with solving a parity experiment which involves categorizing two sets of objects as ‘odd’ and ‘even’. The bees were split into two groups: one trained to associate even numbers with sugar water and odd numbers with quinine, a bitter-tasting liquid familiar to gin drinkers. The second group was trained in the reverse with odd numbers linked to sugar water, and even numbers with quinine. Amazingly – […]

Featured news

16 Apr 2021

‘Golden needle in the haystack’: Potential Paralympians face more challenges in being talent spotted

By Colm Gorey, Frontiers science writer/Dr Nima Dehghansai, York University and Paralympic Innovation Dr Nima Dehghansai. Image: Dr Nima Dehghansai Potential Paralympian superstars may slip through developmental cracks more often than athletes without a disability, according to new research. Dr Nima Dehghansai of York University in Canada was the corresponding author of a paper published to Frontiers in Sports and Active Living that reported a lack poor funding and representation is preventing some athletes who have a disability from becoming potential Paralympians.   Potential Paralympian athletes face a significantly greater challenge in being talent-spotted versus athletes who do not have disability, a new study has found. Writing in Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, the researchers identified issues such as poor representation among women athletes and a lack of resources among high-performance trainers means many potential medal winners can easily fall through the cracks. One of those researchers was Dr Nima Dehghansai of York University in Canada and Paralympic Innovation in Adelaide, Australia, who works in athlete development and talent identification with a specialization in Paralympic sports. 1/6. Our new paper examining the perspective of talent identification and development in Paralympic sport is out now! @rossapinder @bakerjyorku Below is a […]