The last decade has seen a shift in emphasis from the goal of attaining physical fitness (a product) to the behavior of physical activity (a process) to achieve health benefits. A central question is whether the achievement of physical fitness (PF) is necessary or if participation in physical activity (PA) is sufficient. Three basic tenets of this shift are examined by using representative studies. They are: (1) both PA and PF will lead to health benefits; PF is simply a surrogate measure for PA, (2) the impact of genetics will be avoided if PA, not PF, is emphasized and that is desirable, and (3) it is easier to motivate “the masses” to accumulate lifestyle moderate activity than to undergo a vigorous exercise prescription. Results indicate that PA and PF might be independent risk factors, that both have a degree of genetic determination, and that participation rates for PA have changed little and remain insufficient. Both PA and PF need to be evaluated, promoted, and attained.
Physical Activity and Physical Fitness: Weighing the Relative Importance of Each
Sharon Ann Plowman
Criterion Referenced Standards for Neurornuscular Physical Fitness Tests: An Analysis
Sharon Ann Plowman
This paper analyzes the determination of the criterion referenced standards for the neuromuscular physical fitness items (sit-ups, sit-and-reach, and pullups) typically included in health related physical fitness test batteries for children and adolescents. Criterion referenced standards should be linked to some specific status on a health criterion that represents an absolute desirable level of that characteristic. Three techniques used to determine and/or validate criterion referenced standards are discussed: the use of empirical data with an established criterion test, the use of empirical data with instructed versus uninstructed groups, and the use of normative data and expert judgment. It is concluded that the existing criterion referenced standards have been derived exclusively from normative data and expert opinion. It remains unknown as to the meaning of these standards in relation to desirable and absolute levels of health.
Maturation and Exercise Training in Children
Sharon Ann Plowman
This paper describes the effects of exercise training on the somatic, skeletal, and sexual maturation of children. Young athletes of both sexes grow at the same rate and to the same extent as young nonathletes. However, there is evidence that the pubertal development of young female athletes may be delayed. Menarche is more consistently late than either thelarche or pubarche. Genetic and environmental factors are explored in an attempt to determine causative mechanisms. Longitudinal training data are needed for both boys and girls on a variety of physical and hormonal variables. Until such data are available, it is recommended that all children engage in regular physical activity but that maturational progress be monitored in those involved in strenuous competitive training.
Running Economy Following an Intense Cycling Bout in Female Duathletes and Triathletes
Tracy Danner and Dr. Sharon Ann Plowman
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of a preceding intense cycling bout on subsequent running economy in female duathletes and triathletes. Thirteen female duathletes and triathletes (age = 27.5 ± 3.36 yrs.) took part in three testing sessions: (a) measurement of running economy at 169, 177, 196, and 215 m·min−1 and running VO2 max; (b) remeasurement of running economy and measurement of cycling VO2 max; and (c) a 45 minute cycling bout at 70% of cycling VO2 max, immediately followed by measurement of running economy. Intraclass correlation coefficients between Day 1 and Day 2 running economy values ranged from 0.31 to 0.78. A systematic difference occurred at 169 m·min−1 only, with mean VO2 being higher on Day 1 than Day 2 (p<0.02). Based upon dependent t-tests, significantly higher running economy values (p<0.02) but not blood lactate concentrations (p>0.02) following the submaximal cycling bout compared to the control condition (mean of Day 1 and Day 2), at each of the four test velocities were found. Therefore we conclude that running economy was significantly impaired following a 45 minute intense cycling bout in female duathletes and triathletes, but lactate values remained constant.
The Relationship of Teacher Fitness to Teacher/Student Interaction
Judith A. Bischoff, Sharon Ann Plowman, and Lawrence Lindenman
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between teacher fitness and teacher/student interaction in the classroom. Eighteen experienced high school teachers volunteered as subjects. Subjects were divided into high-fit (HF) and low-fit (LF) categories by comparison with norms for their age and sex in sit-ups, sit-and-reach, percent body fat, and maximal aerobic power. Teacher/student classroom interaction was evaluated by coding audiotapes with the verbal portion of Cheffers’ Adaptation of Flanders’ Interaction Analysis System (CAFIAS). It was revealed that HF teachers spent less time asking questions and more time giving directions than LF teachers. Teachers initiated talk more in the morning, especially on Monday, and students talked more in the afternoon, especially on Friday. Students initiated more talk in the afternoon and were more unpredictable and noncontent oriented in both their initiated and responding behavior in the afternoon. There were no significant interactions between fitness level, day, and time. The current evidence does not support the hypothesis that physically fit teachers are clearly distinguishable from unfit teachers in terms of teacher/student interaction.
Reliability and Validity of Low Back Strength/Muscular Endurance Field Tests in Adolescents
Norman S. Hannibal III, Sharon Ann Plowman, Marilyn A. Looney, and Jason Brandenburg
Strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility are important components of healthy back function. This study determined the reliability and evaluated the validity of selected low back field tests (FITNESSGRAM ® Trunk Extension [FG-TE] and Box 90° Dynamic Trunk Extension [B-90° DTE]) when compared to laboratory tests (Parallel Roman Chair Dynamic Trunk Extension [PRC-DTE], Parallel Roman Chair Static Trunk Extension [PRC-STE], and Dynamometer Static Back Lift [DSBL]).
Forty males age 15.1 ± 1.2 yr and 32 females age 15.5 ± 1.2 yr participated.
Intraclass test-retest reliability coefficients (one-way ANOVA model for a single measure) ranged from .940 to .996. Validity coefficients determined by Pearson product moment correlation coefficients for males and females, respectively, were as follows: B-90° DTE vs. PRC-DTE = .82, .62 (p < .05); B-90° DTE vs. PRC-STE = .55, .38 (p < .05); B-90° DTE vs. DSBL = −.29, −.23; FG-TE vs. PRC-DTE = .23, −.11; FG-TE vs. PRC-STE = −.15, .33; and FG-TE vs. DSBL = −.04, −.36.
B-90° DTE was shown to be a valid field test when compared to PRC-DTE, but only for the males. Further research on the PRC-DTE and PRC-STE items for adolescents is recommended.