Effect of an aerobic-based physical activity programme on physical fitness of 10-15 year-old girls
Decreasing tendencies of physical activity among adolescent girls are indicated as contributing to increased health risks in this age group. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a 10 week aerobic-based exercise programme performed twice a week, with a 30 minutes duration and an intensity level of 55 – 70% heart rate max would improve aerobic endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition of 10 – 15 year-old girls living in a farming community. The study involved girls (N=38) from two schools, living on nearby farms in the North West Province. Twenty subjects (n=20) participated in the aerobic-based programme, while eighteen (n=18) served as a control group. The FITNESSGRAMM assessed physical fitness while ACTICAL activity monitors were used to analyse the physical activity intensity level of the group. Co-variance analysis (p < 0.05) showed significant group differences, indicating improvement in aerobic endurance, muscular strength and muscular endurance and improved tone as measured by the triceps skinfold after participating in the aerobic-based exercise programme. It is concluded that an aerobic-based exercise programme,
conducted in a playful and enjoyable manner and according to guidelines set for health enhancement, can improve aerobic endurance, leading to increased physical activity among girls in their teenage years.
Key words: Physical activity, fitness, girls, rural, socio-economic status, health
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