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Roy J. Shephard and Hughes Lavallée

The influence of 1 hour per day of required physical education upon aerobic fitness was tested in 546 prepubescent children recruited from an urban and a rural school in Québec. Two cohorts of experimental students began the enhanced program in Grade 1, with immediately preceding and succeeding classes as controls. V̇O2 peak (treadmill) and PWC170 were measured each year within 2 weeks of each child’s birthday. The data showed significant effects of sex (M>F) and environment (urban>rural). Experimental students showed a significant advantage of V̇O2 peak from 8 to 11 years (M>F; urban>rural). Many students reached less than a centrally limited V̇O2max, although the quality of peak effort was somewhat better in experimental than in control students. PWC170 values confirmed a training response in the boys but not in the girls. The data illustrate some of the problems of repeated testing of young children, but nevertheless support the value of training in the prepubescent years.

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Roy J. Shephard and Hughes Lavallée

The influence upon muscle strength of 1 h/day of required physical education was tested in 546 prepubescent children over a 5-year period. Experimental students began the program in Grade 1, with immediately preceding and succeeding classes serving as controls. Annual measurements showed a linear increase of limb circumferences with stature (H), but strength increased more rapidly than H2. Strength data showed gender effects (M > F) at all ages and environmental effects (rural > urban) in older children (10–12 years). Experimental students were stronger in 19 of 42 comparisons. Girths were greater in girls (7 of 18 comparisons) and in the rural environment (4 of 18 comparisons), but were unaffected by the experimental intervention. Bone diameters were greater in the boys (16 of 18 comparisons) and in the urban environment (2 of IS comparisons). Daily required physical education leads to small increases of isometric strength without significant increments of limb dimensions.