The Effects of a University Fitness Programme on Health Related Variables in Previously Sedentary Males

Grant, Stanley (1989) The Effects of a University Fitness Programme on Health Related Variables in Previously Sedentary Males. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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There is an increasing body of evidence which suggests that regular physical activity and fairly high levels of aerobic fitness provide a degree of protection against coronary heart disease. In addition, appropriate exercise may reduce the incidence of low back pain by improving local muscular endurance and flexibility in certain areas. This study reports on the effects of a 10 week university fitness programme (which consisted of 20 minutes of aerobic activity, 5 minutes of muscle conditioning exercises and 5 minutes of flexibility exercises three times per week) on health related fitness variables. Twenty one exercisers, age 37.0+/-10.24 years (range 21-58) and 22 controls, age 38. 6+/-7. 85 years (range 17-54) volunteered to take part in the study. Assessment was carried out before training commenced and 10 weeks later at the conclusion of training. Two sample t-tests were used to determine if the exercise group demonstrated a greater average improvement than the control group. Ninety five percent confidence intervals (95% Cl) indicate the average range of improvement. The exercise group showed a greater average improvement over the controls from test 1 to test 2 in the following: Resting heart rate 95% Cl (-2.4,-12.8) beats/minute; Steady state heart rate 95% Cl (-7.8, -16.2) beats/minute; Predicted Vo2 Max 95% Cl (3.2, 6.7) ml kg-1 min-1; Sit ups 95% Cl (3.1, 7.0,); Flexibiliity 95% Cl (3.3, 6.9) centimetres. A paired t-test showed that total cholesterol and high density lipoprotein demonstrated a significant improvement for both the exercise and control groups. However, there was no significant difference between the exercise and control group changes. In the exercise group total cholesterol fell from 6.5+/-1.2 to 5. 6+/-1.1 mmol/litre and high density lipoprotein rose from 1.12+/-0.22 to 1.29+/-0.24 mmol/litre. The control group total cholesterol fell from 6.2+/-1.20 to 5.5+/-0.84 mmol/litre and high density lipoprotein rose from 1.16+/-0.2 to 1.26+/-0.27 mmol/litre. There were no significant changes in the exercise group or the control group in body weight, bicep skinfold, tricep skinfold, suprailiac skinfold, total skinfold, percentage body fat, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, composition of the diet, energy intake of the diet or triglycerides. This study demonstrated one of the accepted indications of an improvement in aerobic fitness, a sub maximal bradycardia. A decrease in heart rate at a given sub maximal workload increases the efficiency of the heart and reduces the possibilty of ischaemia. Although aerobic fitness in the exercise group improved, there was no beneficial effect on body weight, body fat, blood pressure, or the lipid profile. Diet did not change and energy expenditure increased. It is therefore rather surprising that there was no measured significant change in body composition. By contrast, the absence of an effect on blood pressure when baseline levels were within normal range agrees with previous studies which have shown that "normal" blood pressure will show a small decrease or is unlikely to change as a result of aerobic exercise. Both groups showed a significant decrease in total cholesterol and a significant increase in high density lipoprotein but no significant difference between groups. Clearly, there is some underlying factor other than exercise which has caused these changes. Triglycerides were within normal range and previous studies have shown that aerobic exercise is unlikely to reduce triglycerides which were not previously elevated. The exercise programme increased local muscular endurance in the abdominal region and flexibility in the lower back and hamstrings. These improvements may make the subjects more resistant to lower back problems. Thus, the exercise programme was effective in improving some health related fitness variables. Perhaps a programme of a longer duration would have favourably influenced some other aspects of health related fitness.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Kinesiology, Public health
Date of Award: 1989
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1989-77913
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 12:09
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2020 12:09

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