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Masters Degrees (Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences)

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    Anthropometric characteristics, grip strength and physical activity levels of children with physical disabilities: a case study.
    (2020) Dorfling, Micaela Ashley.; Naidoo, Rowena.; Chetty, Verusia.
    Physical disability impedes the completion of daily functioning and tasks in children with disability often resulting in exclusion from participating in physical activity. The problem is that a lack of physical activity results in a higher risk of non-communicable lifestyle diseases, to which an individual with physical disability is already predisposed. The participation of children with disability in sports and recreational activities promotes inclusion, minimises deconditioning, optimises physical functioning, and enhances overall well-being. Despite these benefits, children with disability are more restricted in their participation, have lower levels of fitness, and have higher levels of obesity than their peers without disabilities. Therefore, the screening and monitoring of children using simple health indicators such as anthropometry, physical activity levels and grip strength is essential to identify children who may be at risk for chronic diseases, for those who can improve their quality of life through changes in their lifestyle; and it can help raise awareness of the need to increase their participation in physical activity. Often physical activity is underestimated for children with disability, well-informed decisions with regards to types and best suited physical activity programmes are more easily formulated following identification of overall health status and individual activity preferences, such as through measurement of physical activity levels, anthropometric characteristics and hand grip strength.
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    Participation of Zimbabwean female students in university sports.
    (2017) Siziba, Judith.; Van Heerden, Jaques Johan.
    This study sought to establish the factors affecting the participation of female students in university sports and identify the measures that can help to increase the participation of Zimbabwean female students in university sports. Data was collected through a methodological triangulation of questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions from purposively sampled sports participants (n=125) and non-sports participant female students (n=125), Sports Directors (n=5) and Deans of Students (n=5) drawn from five of the eleven universities that are affiliated to the Zimbabwe Universities Sports Association (ZUSA). The resultant data was analysed by means of quantitative and qualitative procedures using Chi-square with p≤0.05 for quantitative data and by NVIVO 11 Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS). The study established that, although the participation of female students in university sports has improved drastically in the last five years, female students still participate less than their male counterparts. It was also noted that, although institution based constraints have played a part in shaping the current trends of sport participation in Zimbabwean universities, these trends were mainly shaped by the gender stereotypes in the wider Zimbabwean society. The study established that the levels of female student participation can be improved by adopting a national strategy where gender mainstreaming is incorporated in the primary and secondary school curriculum as a means to influence people away from the societal gender stereotypes that have produced the current gender disparities in university sports participation. The findings show that female students derive recreational, material, monetary and psychological benefits. The findings showed that there were no deliberate institutional efforts to try and improve the levels of sport participation by female students in the five case study universities. It was also established that the participation of female students in sports can be improved through the adoption of such institutional measures as; employing female coaches and female sports administrators to be in charge of female student teams, using female role models in campaigns to motivate females to participate in sport, instituting policy measures that redress gender imbalances in sport participation and availing campus accommodation and accessible sporting facilities.
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    Knowledge, attitudes and practices of plyometrics among high school sports coaches in Harare province Zimbabwe.
    (2018) Munekani, Ireen.; Van Heerden, Jaques Johan.
    Strength and conditioning is an important component of athletic success. However, in an African context, strength and conditioning practices are often overlooked. For coaches to effectively implement strength and conditioning programmes, and plyometric training in particular, with their athletes they must address several important training factors which implies that they should be knowledgeable in the implementation of the program. A coach may hold a positive attitude about plyometric training, but if the understanding of the fundamentals of how it functions and improves performance then consistency in the program is not pronounced or translated into strength and conditioning practices. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the role of concurrent strength and endurance training in endurance running and to examine the knowledge, attitudes and practices of plyometrics among high school sports coaches in Harare Province, Zimbabwe. The study design comprised: i) a systematic review of professional peer-reviewed journal publications in the literature using Pubmed, Medline, Science Direct, Ebscohost, Biomed, CINAHL, Embase and Google Scholar as search engines; and ii) a questionnaire-based KNAP descriptive survey among males and female high school coaches (n=100) from 45 schools in the Harare province of Zimbabwe. Results from the systematic review showed that concurrent strength training and endurance running improves the running endurance of endurance runners, without impacting on their VO2max and LT. Combined core strength training and running had contradictory findings regarding the benefits for enhanced running performance. The use of strength training as a protective measure against musculoskeletal running injuries has shown to be a worthwhile intervention. The results from the survey indicated that high school coaches in Harare Province of Zimbabwe, are typically between 30 to 39 yrs of age, with between 5 and 15 years of coaching experience and are mostly male. Slightly more than half (54%) of the coaches let their athletes perform plyometrics. While almost all of the coaches (95%; p≤0.0001) have previously participated competitively themselves, very few (11%; p≤0.0001) have previously done plyometrics themselves and the majority (94%; p≤0.0001) have not had any formal training in plyometrics. With the exception of coaches with training in sport science, who scored an average of 65% for a 20 item knowledge test on plyometrics, generally the coaches have very poor knowledge with regards to plyometric strength training exercise. Although male coaches knowledge was better than that of females and those with 5-15 years of experience had better knowledge than those with more than 15 years of experience, overall the coaches only managed to score an average of 35% for the same a 20 item knowledge test on plyometrics, and accordingly there is a resistance to the practice of using plyometrics more often in the training of their athletes.
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    Effects of a resistance exercise intervention programme on body composition, chronic disease risks and strength scores in people living with HIV and Aids (PLWHA) receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Zimbabwe.
    (2017) Mbayo, Victor.; Sookan, Takshita.
    Introduction People living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) increases their life expectancy. Receiving ART coupled with physical inactivity results in increase in prevalence of hyperlipidaemia, obesity and overweight, type 2 diabetes mellitus, lipodystrophy, decrease in mineral bone density and hypertension among others. Resistance exercise (RE) interventions address chronic disease risks affecting PLWHA receiving ART. Aim The study investigated the effect of RE on body composition, chronic disease risks and strength scores in PLWHA receiving ART. Methods The study followed an experimental, pre-and-post-test design. The sample constituted 128 PLWHA, of black African ethnic groups, aged between 18-45 years and receiving ART. The participants were recruited from Glenview and Mabvuku suburbs in Harare. The participants from Glenview were randomly allocated to an experimental group i.e. the EXP group (n=64) performing REs three days per week and those from Mabvuku to a control group i.e. the CON group (n=64) for 12 weeks following a pre-test session. Body composition (waist-to-hip ratio, body mass index, percentage body fat, fat mass, lean body mass), chronic disease risks (fasting blood glucose, fasting total blood cholesterol, blood pressure) and strength (1RM tests) scores were pre-and-post-test measured in all participants observing standard protocols. Chi-square, Fisher’s test, linear regression, Binomial test, Spearman’s and Pearson’s correlations were conducted. SPSS statistical package version 22 was used and significance set at p<0.05. Results Post-test body composition scores remained high in the CON group (n=64), but improved significantly (p<.0005) in the EXP group (n=64). Significant differences (p<.0005) were noted in post-test chronic disease risks between the EXP group (n=64) and the CON group (n=64). Post-test fasting blood glucose and fasting total blood cholesterol scores in the CON group (n=64) were significantly higher (p<.0005) than in the EXP group (n=64). A 100% of the CON group (n=64) participants remained with pre-hypertension at post-test, while 66% of the EXP group (n=64) with hypertension 2 improved to hypertension 1. Strength scores in the EXP group (n=64) participants significantly increased (p<.0005) for bench press, squat, bicep curl and leg curls than in the CON group (n=64). There were no effects of gender in respect of fasting blood glucose and total fasting blood cholesterol scores in both groups at post-test. Conclusion The results showed that the 12 week RE intervention programme improved body composition, chronic disease risk and strength scores in PLWHA receiving ART. Resistance exercise is safe and beneficial for PLWHA in resource-constrained settings. Policy makers may utilise this information to include RE programmes for PLWHA as a healthy lifestyle intervention in Zimbabwe. Keywords HIV, ART, Chronic disease risks, Resistance exercise, Body composition, Strength.
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    The short-term effects of a sports stacking intervention on the cognitive and perceptual motor functioning in geriatrics.
    (2016) Moodley, Kamantha; Naidoo, Rowena.
    Introduction: Sport stacking has been shown to improve cognitive and motor functioning, such as reaction time and hand eye coordination, through studies conducted on children in grades two and three but limited research exists to suggest these improvements in other populations. Due to the decline in cognitive and motor functioning resulting from aging and the correlation of falls occurred with decreased cognitive functioning, improvements in these aspects may promote an improvement in brain functioning and quality of life in geriatrics. Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of sport stacking on geriatric motor and cognitive functioning. Methods: This quasi-experimental design with a pre- and post-intervention selected a purposive sample of 60 geriatric participants in a retirement home located in the eThekwini region, KwaZulu-Natal. Participants were between 60-90 years old; had no physical disabilities; had no sports stacking experience; had no medical conditions including Alzheimer’s or Parkinson's disease or medication for Vertigo, hand eye coordination or memory, had no orthopedic complications, and were sedentary. All participants’ Body Mass Index were measured using the Nagata BW- 1222 W. Performance on Hand eye coordination was tested by using the plate tapping test, Reaction Time was tested by using the Position Speed Test, Memory was tested by using the SOMCT questionnaire, and Balance was tested by using the Sharpened Romberg Test. The quality of life assessment was measured by using the Lawton’s Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire. Thirty participants were exposed to an eight week intervention twice a week for 60 minutes while the control group (n=30) continued with activities as per norm. Pre- and post-intervention results were analysed using the statistical programme SPSS Version 19. Means and Standard Deviations, and paired t-test statistics were used to test significant differences pre- and post- intervention. Results: The intervention group showed improvements in their reaction time (x̅ - 4.464)(σ 3.986) and plate tapping (x̅ 2.629)(σ 2.468) times. However, the control group also had an increase in reaction time (x̅ -1.933)(σ 4.849) and plate tapping (x̅ 1.538)(σ 3.255) times. The improvements found in the control group were not as significant as what was found in the intervention group. Overall, there were no changes in the balance results pre- and post-intervention. There were no significant results found in their memory, quality of life and hand eye coordination tests. However, the intervention groups’ sports stacking times improved over the eight week intervention and this could possibly be due to an improvement in skill level. Conclusion: It was apparent that the sports stacking intervention proved to be beneficial in improving motor functioning in geriatrics.
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    Weight, chronic disease risk and physical activity levels of rural and urban women in Zimbabwe.
    (2017) Mhlanga, Sinikiwe.; Sookan, Takshita.
    Introduction: In developing countries there is a shift from traditional diets and lifestyles to western diets and lifestyles particularly in rapidly growing urban populations. This is a major cause of overweight and obesity. Obesity is a well-recognised risk factor for various chronic diseases. Chronic diseases are the largest cause of death in the world. They include cardiovascular disease, some cancers, chronic lung diseases and raised blood pressure. Maintaining a physically active lifestyle by doing regular moderate physical activities helps to keep a healthy weight and lower the risks of chronic diseases. Aims: The aim of this study was to compare weight, chronic risk diseases and physical activity levels of rural and urban women in selected Zimbabwean communities. Methods: A cross sectional descriptive and comparative design was followed in the study. The study population included all black Zimbabwean women aged 18 to 60 years residing in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province (Urban) and Matabeleland North Province (Rural). A sample size of 280 women participated in this study. One hundred and forty were urban residents from high density suburbs and 140 were rural residents. Anthropometric variables (mass, stature, waist and hip circumferences) were measured. Three questionnaires were administered; International Physical Activity Questionnaires (IPAQ), Quality of Life, and Nutritional questionnaires. Descriptive statistics including means and standard deviations were used. The Chi-square goodness-of-fit-test, a univariate test was used for categorical variables to test response options and the independent t-tests and Chi-square test of independence were used to compare group cases and the significance was set at p≤0.05. The SPSS version 22 statistical package was used to conduct data analysis. Results: The average weight for urban women 71.19±15.23kg was significantly higher than that for rural women 66.58±13.74kg, t (278) = -2.657, p=0.008. When considering Body Mass Index (BMI) classification, a significant number were either normal (117) or overweight (96), χ2 (4) =181.500, p˂0.0005. There was a significant difference between rural and urban women in terms of BMI (p = 0.009). There was a significant relationship between age and BMI (p < 0.05). Older women 30 years and above were classified as overweight and obese compared to the younger women. There was a significant difference between urban and rural women 0.80± 0.60 and 0.78± 0.68), t (278) = -2.055, p= 0.003 in terms of waist to hip ratio (WHR). On chronic disease risk the urban women were at high and very high risk, while rural women were not at risk (χ2 (4) = 11.762, p=0.019). There was no significant difference in blood glucose levels between urban and rural women. A significant difference was shown across age groups of blood glucose levels (Welch (3, 51.868) = 3.205, p=0.031). A significant difference across age groups of cholesterol was noted; levels (F (3, 133) = 7.123, p < 0.0005). There was a significant relationship between location and blood pressure p=0.025, with rural women having a higher raised blood pressure than urban women. Both rural women and urban women were physically active and a significant difference was noted in the transport domain, t (278), 2.002, p=0.46. There was no significant difference in quality of life between rural and urban women. There was a significant difference between energy consumption and location, t (278) = -5.202, p<0.0005. Urban women had significantly high protein consumption p=0.007, and fat consumption p<0.0005. Conclusion: The study findings highlight a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity in urban women compared to rural women in terms of BMI and waist to hip ratio. The Zimbabwean women show an increased risk for chronic health problems with higher prevalence in urban women than rural women especially raised blood pressure. There was a low prevalence of raised blood glucose in both the groups. Raised blood cholesterol prevalence was higher in urban than rural women. Both rural and urban women had good quality of life scores. Urban women had high consumption of macronutrients than rural women. Both urban and rural women showed high levels of physical activity.
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    The effect of a sport stacking intervention programme on fine and gross motor skills in preschool children.
    (2017) Daya, Bhavik.; Naidoo, Rowena.
    Introduction The lack of physical activity among children is alarming and has become a major health concern as children are not engaging in enough physical activity to assist in the growth and development of the child. The development of motor skills in children plays an important role in the level of physical activity children engage in. If a child cannot efficiently run, kick, jump, catch, etc., then the opportunities to participate in sport and other physical activities will become limited because they will not have the necessary skills to do so. Fine motor skills are just as important as gross motor skills and are necessary for the development of basic self-help skills. Activities like sport stacking is believed to improve hand eye coordination, reaction time and motor proficiency. Aim The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a five-week sport stacking intervention programme on fine and gross motor skills in preschool children. Methods The study was a quasi-experimental non-equivalent controls design with a pre- and postintervention assessment. The sample selection was a convenient sample of 40 participants between the ages of four and six years. The Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, second edition (BOT-2) was used to assess fine and gross motor skills. The data collected in this study was subjected to various statistical procedures. All the data was analysed by a computerised statistical procedure (SPSS Version 19) and descriptive (means and standard deviations) and inferential (paired t-tests and independent t-tests) statistics were used to test significant differences pre- and post- intervention with p ≤ 0.05. Results Results demonstrated that the intervention group significantly improved in several fine and gross motor areas. Paired samples t-test for the intervention group showed significant differences for five items assessed (copying a star, transfer of pennies, dribbling a ball – alternating hands, sit-ups and one legged stationary hop). Independent samples t-test showed significant differences for transfer of pennies and dribbling a ball - alternating hands. Analysis of covariance showed significant differences in copying a star, transfer of pennies, tapping feet and fingers – same side synchronised, dribbling a ball – alternating hands and one-legged stationary hop. Conclusion A sport stacking intervention programme is a suitable method to improve fine and gross motor skills in preschool children.
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    Female athlete triad risk stratification in KwaZulu-Natal elite sprint and distance swimmers.
    (2015) De Freitas, Ashleigh Jennifer.; Naidoo, Rowena.
    Introduction: The Female Athlete Triad (FAT) is a syndrome that poses a serious threat to the health status of physically active females. It comprises of three components that were adapted to the American Collage of Sport Medicine (ACSM) 2007 Position Stands criteria and consists of three interconnected components namely; low energy availability (with or without disordered eating) that occurs due to insufficient calorie intake in combination with high amounts of physical activity, menstrual dysfunctions defined as exercise induced menstrual dysfunction, and low bone mineral density (BMD) in which the bone mineral density is weakened as a result of prolonged menstrual dysfunction. These components are linked across a continuum of healthy (optimal energy availability, eumenorrhea (a menstrual cycle of twenty eight days), and optimal bone health) to unhealthy. Aim(s): To determine the risk stratification for the FAT in elite sprint and distance swimmers. Method(s): Twenty one provincial and national level KwaZulu-Natal sprint (n=11) and distance (n=10) swimmers with a mean age of 18.95 (6.3) years voluntarily participated in this descriptive, cross-sectional study. For descriptive purposes, anthropometric measurements (weight, height, skin folds and Body Mass Index (BMI)) were recorded. Each participant completed three eating disorder questionnaires (Eating Attitude Test (EAT-26), Body shape Questionnaire (BSQ-34) and a Bulimic Investigatory Test, Edinburgh (BITE)), one Menstrual Cycle and Time Spent in Exercise Questionnaire and a Self-Administered Bone Mineral Density questionnaire. A Bioelectrical Impedance Device was used to measure full body composition. The participants were requested to complete an online ASA24 Dietary Recall of the previous day’s food and drink intake. The criteria for the risk of the FAT was determined by a positive score for all three FAT components (low energy availability (with or without eating disorders, menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density). Result(s): The comparison between the different sporting disciplines showed that sprint swimmers are more at risk (63.6%) for disordered eating compared to distance swimmers (50%). Low energy availability was significantly evident in sprint swimmers with a result of 9.79 (SD 9.56). Out of the total sample size, only six (28.57%) swimmers were classified as having a menstrual dysfunction. Sprint swimmers showed to have a 90.9% 10 risk of low BMD. The overall results signified that out of the total sample group, 9.5% were not at risk, 14.3% showed a low risk, 52.4% had a moderate risk and 23.8% were at a high risk for the whole FAT. Conclusion: Elite sprint and distance swimmers are not at risk for the FAT, however, elite level sprint and distance swimmers are susceptible for the risk of FAT components.
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    Effects of group exercise on salivary biomarkers of mucosal immunity and hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis activation in older persons living in aged care facilities.
    (2015) Dudhrajh, Prathna Abhimun.; McKune, Andrew James.; Ramklass, Serela Samita.
    Abstract available in PDF file.
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    The effect of therapeutic horseback riding on heart rate variability of children with disabilities.
    (2015) Nqena, Zingisa Zine.; Naidoo, Rowena.
    Introduction: Heart rate variability (HRV) is the oscillation in the interval between consecutive heart beats, resulting from dynamic interplay between multiple physiologic mechanisms that regulate instantaneous heart rate. Short-term heart rate regulation is governed by sympathetic and parasympathetic neural activity and therefore HRV examination can be used as a non-invasive estimate of the functioning of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Aim: To determine the effects of therapeutic horseback riding (THR) intervention on the HRV of children with disabilities including autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, pervasive developmental disorder, sensory problems, and Down syndrome. The objective was to examine if THR intervention improves the HRV of children, hence improving the parasympathetic activity that is associated with a calm and relaxed state. Methods: This is a quasi-experimental design. Heart rate variability components (time and frequency domain) were measured over six intervention group sessions of THR which were conducted once a week for six weeks. The duration of the THR sessions was 20-25 minutes for each group. The THR sessions included riding, mounting and dismounting, trotting, as well as performing activities such as extending arms and throwing a ball while on a horse. Heart rate variability measures were recorded from 29 participants presenting with various disabilities, and was assessed in both time and frequency domains. Results: Over the six THR sessions, the time domain component (RR interval) showed a significant increase in HRV for pre-THR from session one to session six (p=0.011), indicating improved vagal activation. However, frequency domain showed both increased sympathetic activity from session one to session six (p=0.022) reflected by component coefficient of variance for low frequency (CCV LF) and increased parasympathetic activation during THR from session four to session six (p=0.045), reflected by total power (TP). Conclusion: Therapeutic horseback riding intervention of six sessions demonstrated a change in HRV of children with disabilities. However, the changes obtained were not significant to make conclusive measures as to whether sympathetic or parasympathetic activity is predominantly increased after the six sessions. Further research involving a larger sample with a single type of a disability would be recommended to improve the reliability and validity of the study. Furthermore, having a control group would improve the reliability of the study.
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    Factors affecting participation in sport and recreation of students staying in residences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2017) Mthethwa, Mthokozisi Michael.; Zimu, Patrick.
    Almost all the institutions of higher learning across the globe offers sport and recreation opportunities to its students and staff. These programmes and services are offered to serve several purposes of which at the summit of them all is to improve social cohesion and physical fitness of the students and staff members. The challenge faced by most tertiary institutions is that services and infrastructure provided are either over-utilised or underutilised and there appears to be unknown factors precipitating the situation. It is therefore important that the motives and constraints to sport and recreation participation be discovered in an effort to help direct future strategic plans and correct present and past mistakes. The primary aim of the present study is to ascertain the factors that affect local and international student’s participation in sport and recreation, with the intention of providing pertinent information that the University of KwaZulu-Natal Sport Administration Office can utilize in imminent strategic plans for campus based sport and recreation delivery. A descriptive research design was utilised and a questionnaire was designed to investigate the views and perceptions of students (n=199) staying at the University of KwaZulu-Natal residences. The Median (M) and Interquartile Range (IQR) was used as a summary statistic. The non-parametric two-sample Wilcoxon rank-sum (Mann-Whitney) test was used to compare sub-groups. Intrapersonal and interpersonal factors prevents participation, more specifically time and lack of partners. Justifications for participation in sport and recreation were achievement/status, energy release and fun. Findings further reveal differences based on gender and age highlight the views of students on unequal treatment of various sport and recreation codes on campus. The study findings further advance knowledge on constraints and motives affecting sport and recreation participation among university students, revealing information for policymakers to consider when designing programmes for student services on campus.
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    Effect of group exercise on anthropometry, nutritional status and health related quality of life of older persons living in aged care homes within the eThekwini Municipality.
    (2014) Rugbeer, Nivash.; Ramklass, Serela Samita.; Van Heerden, H. J.
    Introduction: Globally, the prevalence of chronic disease is on the increase with cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death. Worldwide the proportion of older persons aged 60 years and older is also increasing. The elderly within institutionalised setting are often neglected, with the probability of poor nutrition being highly prevalent. Increasing in age and visceral fat coupled with a lack of structured exercise results in inflammatory and pro-inflammatory processes, contributing to the deterioration of physical and physiological functioning. In the context of the elderly living in aged care homes, health related quality of life is defined as their functional status and independence in engaging in activities of daily living. Little is known about the effect of group based exercise and its relation to anthropometry, nutritional status and health related quality of life among the elderly living in aged care homes within the eThekwini central business district (CBD). Aim: The aim of the study was to establish the effect of group exercises in relation to anthropometry, nutritional status and health related quality of life of older persons living in age care homes in the eThekwini central business district. Methodology: A quasi-experimental design was used to compare the effect of a 12 week group exercise programme on two groups of participants using pre-test and post-test procedures. A total of 100 participants selected from five aged care homes. Twenty participants from each of the five facilities were randomly selected through convenient sampling. From the 20 participants, ten participants were randomly assigned to Group A –experimental group and 10 in Group Bobserved group. Group A exercise three times a week and group B exercise two times a week for 12 weeks. Group based 12 weeks exercise intervention was implemented for both groups. Anthropometrical indices investigated included sum of skinfold, waist circumference, waist to hip ratio and BMI. MNA-SF, SF-36 questionnaires were used before and after the exercise intervention to determine nutritional status and health related quality of life respectively. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Science Version 18.0 (SPSS) for Windows software. A p-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant. A paired t-test and independent t-test was used to analyse parametric data. Wilcoxon signed rank test and Mann Whitney U test was used to analyse normally distributed and non-parametric data. Results/Discussion: An inverse relation between 12 weeks of group exercise and sum of skinfold was noted comparing before (M: 141.05 mm, SD: ±37.43mm) and following (M: 153.66 mm, SD: ±46.59mm) group exercise (p<0.01). However this cannot be attributed to group exercise independently, but as a result of the inherent inverse relationship that exists between fat free mass and age. Group exercise when compared to baseline (M: 12.96, SD: ±1.48) and follow up (M: 13.02, SD: ±1.11) was effective in improving nutritional status (p<0.01). Group exercise improved components of HRQoL. Participation in vigorous activities had improved following the group exercise intervention (p<0.01). Exercise was effective in reducing a feeling of worn out (p=0.01), improving social functioning (p<0.01), improved feeling of peace (p<0.01), happiness (p<0.01), change in reported health (p<0.01), mental health (p=0.03) and vitality (p=0.01). There was a significant difference in social functioning (p<0.01), vitality (p<0.01) and mental health (p=0.03) comparing before and following training thrice a week. Group exercise twice a week may improve social functioning (p=0.02). There was a significant difference in mental component summary following 12 weeks of group exercise (p<0.01). There was a significant difference in physical component summary scale (p=0.03) and mental component summary (p=0.04) comparing before and following training twice a week. A significant difference was evident in the mental component summary scale comparing before and following training thrice a week (p<0.01). Conclusion: Group exercise significantly improved nutritional status and health related quality of life of the elderly living in aged care homes. Group exercise performed three times a week may improve social functioning, vitality and mental health whilst exercising two times per week may improve social functioning. This may assist the elderly in accomplishing activities of daily living safely, improving their functional ability and quality of life.
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    The effects of a structured group exercise program on functional fitness of older persons living in old age homes within the eThekwini Municipality, South Africa.
    (2014) Chetty, Levin.; Ramklass, Serela Samita.; McKune, Andrew James.
    Aim: The study aimed to determine the effects of a structured group exercise program on functional fitness of older persons living in five old age homes within the eThekwini Municipality of South Africa. Population: The study population comprised men and women aged 60 years and older, who reside in an old age home within the eThekwini Municipality. Design: A quasi-experimental design was used to compare the effect of a 12 week group exercise program on two groups of participants using pre-test post-test procedures. Methodology: Twenty participants each were selected from five old age homes. Participants were randomly allocated into either an experimental group or a comparison group at each site. The experimental group participated in the exercise intervention three times weekly for 12 weeks, while the comparison group received the same intervention twice weekly for 12 weeks. The prescribed intervention was guided by the recommendations outlined by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and American Heart Association (AHA) respectively. It comprised of warm-up, balance, endurance, resistance and cool-down components. Assessments of upper and lower body strength and flexibility, aerobic endurance, agility and balance were conducted before and after the intervention using the Senior Functional Fitness Test. Data was analysed using Microsoft Excel 2013 and Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 20.1. Results: Comparisons of baseline and post-intervention measures showed greater improvements in upper and lower body strength and flexibility, as well as aerobic endurance capacity (p < 0.05). But, no improvements were observed in participant’s agility and balance levels. With regards to training frequency, no significant difference in functional fitness measures was observed between both groups following the 12 week intervention program. Conclusion: Twelve weeks of multifaceted group exercise training, at least two times per week can be used as an effective strategy to promote functional fitness in the elderly population.
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    The impact of a school-based physical activity intervention on learners' health behaviour.
    (2014) Nyawose, Siphamandla Eugene.; Naidoo, Rowena.
    Introduction: Five percent of South African youth are obese, 20% overweight, 13% stunted and eight percent is underweight. Physical activity among children and adolescents is believed to be insufficient and low levels of physical activity seem to persist from childhood into adulthood with this increasing prevalence of obesity and overweight among children and adolescents, development of interventions to promote PA in children and adolescents is a priority (van Sluijs et al., 2007). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a school-based PA intervention on learners’ health behaviour. Methods: This study was a quasi experimental, non-equivalent groups design. An intervention programme and assessment pre- and postintervention was conducted. Two schools (one control and one experimental) from the Clermont Township in KwaZulu-Natal were purposively selected by KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health. Grade six learners (n=129), their parents (n=19), school principals (n=2) and educators (n=21) participated in this study. Learners completed a battery of tests and completed a physical activity questionnaire for data collection. Principals and educators were interviewed to determine their perspectives on physical activity teaching and learning. Parents participated in focus group sessions. The intervention was implemented in the experimental school for the four month intervention period by the educators. Discussion and conclusions: Study findings indicate that a schoolbased PA intervention programme can increase learners’ fitness levels. The study showed that the introduction of various methods of physical activity within the schools’ existing curriculum, working with educators and parents can improve physical fitness and healthy eating habits in the learners without disrupting normal learning and teaching in the school. Furthermore, this study a school-based physical activity intervention can improve physical activity awareness among teachers, learners and parents.
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    The health and fitness profiles of sport studies students at a tertiary institution in South Africa.
    (2014) Glossop, Gregory John.; Naidoo, Rowena.
    Introduction The first time most adolescents start to take care of themselves with limited parental support is when they attend university. The watchful guidance of parental support typically wanes and students start to change their habits to suit their lifestyle. This study therefore presents data and related analysis of health and fitness profiles of a selected cohort of students. Aim of the Study: The aim of this study was to determine the health and fitness profiles of Sports Studies students at a tertiary institution in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Methodology: The study was a cross-sectional design of undergraduate students. Three separate year groups (first year, second year and third year) were recruited. A purposive sample of first, (n=70) second (n=90) and third (n=90) year Sport Studies students completed a health questionnaire and a range of physical fitness tests. Descriptive and inferential techniques including the use of correlations and chi square test values were used to analyse data. Results: The sample consisted of 165 students with a mean age of 21.48 years (SD±2.48). First year’s (n = 41) comprised 24.85% of the sample, while second year’s (n = 62) 37.58% and third year’s (n = 62) 37.58%. The sample comprised of 116 males (70.3%) and 49 females (29.7%). According to South African racial classifications the sample consisted of 86.1% of the students who self-identified as Black African, 7.9% Indian, 3.6% Coloured and 2.4% White. The cohort’s mean BMI was 24.09 kg/m², with a general increase from first year (22.65 kg/m²) to second year (24.24 kg/m²) and to third year (24.87 kg/m²). Similarly, there was a mean increase in body weight of 4.09kgs between first and second year, and a mean increase of 3.81kgs from second to third year. In total, there was a mean body weight increase of 7.9kgs from first to third year. The mean body fat was 13.32% for the cohort with first year females at 23.87% and first year males 6.44%. In total, 31.5% males and 4.8% females were overweight or obese. Only 1.8% of the total sample was underweight. There was a mean increase in relative VO₂max in the study cohort (1st years 31.86 ml.kgˉ¹.minˉ¹, 2nd years 33.47 ml.kgˉ¹.minˉ¹ and 3rd years 34.42 ml.kgˉ¹.minˉ¹). The mean VO₂max for the entire sample was 33.43 ml.kgˉ¹.minˉ¹ with male students averaging 36.48 ml.kgˉ¹.minˉ¹ and female students 26.1 ml.kgˉ¹.minˉ¹.. It was reported 78.2% of the sample exercised on a regular basis, with 72.9% being male. Conclusions: Overall results showed that throughout the three years of study, weight and body fat percentage of students increased progressively along with body mass index, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratios. Such increases are of utmost concern and may be directly associated with low physical activity levels and poor dietary habits. A decrease in physical activity, frequency and participation may be the cause of the reported decrease in physical fitness levels. This area of concern may be a major factor related to the general increase in selected anthropometric measurements. Also prevalent was the variance in results between males and females, with males accounting for 72.9% of regular exercisers. The discrepancy in gender and physical activity and fitness levels is of concern.
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    The efficacy of a 1500G magnetic breathing device in optimizing cardio-respiratory function in endurance athletes during maximal exercise breathing.
    (2013) Turton, Robyn-Jenna.; Peters-Futre, Edith Margret.
    Introduction: The O2 Gold magnetic device is a non-medicinal inhaler containing a magnetic coil that has been designed to improve cardio-respiratory function. Oxygen (O2) in the inhaled air passes through the magnetic coil in this breathing device and acquires a magnetic charge. Former studies (Ryan, 2007; Roberts, 2007) have reported improvements in peak power output and post-exercise recovery, supporting anecdotal reports of improved peak power output in world-class endurance athletes following regular use of this device. The mechanisms by which this improved peak power output may occur, are however unknown. Objectives: The primary objectives of this study were to determine the effects of 28 days of regular use of the magnetic breathing device on the cardio-respiratory function of well-trained endurance athletes during an incremental exercise test to exhaustion. Secondary objectives included the determination of lung function and red blood cell status at rest, and maximal exercise performance and O2 uptake (VO2) as well as heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) response to a maximal exercise test. Finally the possible role of systemic concentrations of erythropoietin (EPO) and interleukin-3 (IL-3) as mediators of the beneficial effects of the magnetic breathing device on red blood cell status, was investigated. Study design and methods: The study was designed as a double blind, placebo controlled, cross-over trial. 18 Healthy male participants volunteered from running and triathlon clubs in the greater Durban area. The participants were particularly suited to a set of inclusion criteria which included a specific age range (>18 and <45 years), were recreational or professional runners that were willing to maintain a training schedule of at least three times per week for the three months leading up to, and during the study period. The participants were required to use both the magnetic and placebo breathing devices, 30 times a day for 28 days each. Each participant acted as their own control and the sequence of the trials was determined by the manufacturers of the pre-coded devices. At baseline and after active/placebo intervention, anthropometric characteristics and lung function were assessed and venous blood samples were collected for later determination of full blood count (FBC), serum EPO and plasma IL-3 concentration. Metabolic and respiratory responses to an incremental exercise protocol were determined during an incremental maximal exercise test. Selected cardiovascular parameters including BP and HR were also measured before, during and for the first two minutes following the exercise test. Results: Ten participants, aged between 27 and 40 (mean: 32.3±4.9 yr) with a mean stature (cm) of 175.8±7.7 reported compliance with all aspects of the study. Analysis of the physical characteristics, including mass, % body fat, resting HR and blood pressure in this sample (n=10), revealed no significant difference (p>0.05) between mean (±SD) at baseline and after placebo or active trials. Six participants (60%) recorded a statistically significant (p<0.05) improvement (vs. baseline) in forced vital capacity following the active and placebo trials. Maximal exercise test duration ranged between 8 to 17 minutes. Five participants (50%) recorded a statistically significant improvement (vs. placebo, p=0.02) in maximum treadmill workload and running time following the active trial. Six of the sample presented with RBC count increases in (vs. placebo) and five with an increase in Hb concentration (vs. placebo) following the active trial. The mean (±SD) increases in this subsample of positive responders were both significant (p=0.02; 0.047) and corresponded with increases in VO2 maximum in each of these individuals. However no significant differences (p>0.05) were obtained in the means (±SD) of the circulating concentration of the hormone EPO and the haematopoietic growth factor, IL-3, between active and placebo trials. The association between pre-post change in serum EPO concentration and plasma IL-3 concentration and changes in RBC count were also not significant (p>0.05). Mean (±SD) and range of recovery HR, both 60 and 120 seconds post-test, showed no statistically significant improvement (n=10, p>0.05). Upon analysis of individual results, four of the participants showed an improvement in 120 second post maximal exercise test HR recovery when using the active device. The mean (±SD) of the improvement in this subsample was statistically significant (p=0.03). Although mean (± SD) post-test diastolic BP was not significantly lower in the full sample (n=10), there was a significant drop in this parameter in five individual participants following the active trial (p<0.03). Conclusion: Only 50% of this subsample presented with significantly improved performance during the treadmill running test and 40% with significantly improved Hb concentration, HR at 120 seconds post exercise and post exercise DBP. 60% of the sample presented with a significant improvement in RBC, but this was not related to an associated increase in VO2 maximum. Serum IL-3 and plasma EPO concentrations do not appear to be the mechanisms by which the beneficial effects on RBC count are mediated. The possibility of the existence of responders and non-responders to this intervention and factors which influence this potential response, require further examination. Further studies examining the benefits of the magnetic breathing device, also need to consider the possibility of under-acknowledged reduced compliance in the frequency of the device usage by human participants.
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    The effects of music tempo on performance, psychological and physiological variables during 20 km cycling in well-trained cyclists.
    (2013) Dyer, Barry.; McKune, Andrew James.
    Introduction Music is commonly used to accompany exercise and has been viewed as a type of legal performance enhancing drug due to its beneficial effects such as reduced RPE, increased work output, enhanced mood, enhanced motor skill acquisition, and increased performance during a variety of exercise tasks. Despite the fact that athletes report using music before, during and after training to increase performance and self-regulate mood, the majority of evidence available has been based on untrained, non-athletic populations. This highlights the need for further research into the effects of music on well-trained individuals engaging in exercise. Objectives The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of different music tempi on performance, psychological and physiological responses of well-trained, experienced cyclists to time trial cycling. Methods Ten male road cyclists (age:35yrs ± 7, VO2 peak: 5.6 L/min ± 0.4; sum of 7 skinfolds: 58 ± 9.4) performed four 20km time-trials on a Computrainer™ Pro 3D electromagnetically braked indoor cycle trainer over a period of four weeks. The time-trials were spaced a week apart. The music conditions for each trial were randomised between fast-tempo (140 bpm), medium-tempo (120 bpm), slow-tempo (100 bpm), and no-music. Measures recorded during the time-trials included (1) physiological: heart rate, oxygen consumption, breathing frequency, respiratory exchange ratio, (2) psychological: mood states (Profile of Mood States (POMS) pre and post time-trial), (3) Performance: peak and average power output, time to completion, pedal cadence and (4) rating of perceived exertion. Averaged data were compared using one-way analysis of variance. Data for heart rate, oxygen consumption, breathing frequency, RPE, cadence and power output were also collected at three minute intervals during each trial. These were compared using two factor (time x condition) repeated measures analysis of variance. For all data sets, where a significant difference was observed, a Bonferroni post-hoc test was used to determine specific differences. Significance was set at P < 0.05. Results Results revealed no significant changes in physiological variables or performance variables. Total mood disturbance and tension as measured by the POMS were increased significantly in response to the fast-tempo trial. Conclusion Fast tempo music is often perceived as highly motivational and results in increased arousal in the listener. It is likely that prolonged exposure to arousing stimuli such as fast tempo music in conjunction with the intense sensations associated with time-trial exercise could have led to the disturbances in mood state observed during the fast-tempo music trial.
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    The role of the department of sport and recreation in the provision and delivery of sport and recreation in KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2013) Mkwalo, Siyabulela Cecil.; Coopoo, Yoganathan.
    The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sports and Recreation is mandated to provide and deliver sport and recreation in the province, which is done in collaboration with a number of stakeholders. These include the sports federations, South African Students Sports Union (SASSU) and United Schools Sports Association of South Africa (USSASA). Its promulgation as an independent Department in 2004 created expectations about the role it would play in transforming the sporting landscape across the province. To establish the extent to which this has occurred, this study aimed to assess the effectiveness of the Department of Sports and Recreation (DSR) with regards to its provision and delivery of sport and recreation services in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). This was a cross-sectional questionnaire study, whereby three questionnaires were developed, one for the Department, another for the sports federations and the same one for USSASA and SASSU. The questionnaires were intended to obtain information about the provision and delivery of sport and recreation in the province. Each questionnaire was divided into three sections; Section A provided for demographic details, Section B dealt with availability of sporting facilities and transformation, and Section C addressed functions of the Department of Sport and Recreation. Three hundred selected respondents comprised of forty five (n=45) personnel from the Department; one hundred and ninety five (n=195) from provincial federations; thirty (n=30) from SASSU and thirty (n=30) from USSASA. The results of the study showed that significantly (p≤0.05) more respondents (63%) indicated that service delivery by the Department was more focused on urban areas than in townships (26%) and rural areas (11%). Seventy one percent (71%) of respondents from the federations, SASSU and USSASA indicated that there are insufficient facilities in the province and those that exist do not meet the qualifying standards of hosting provincial and national events. A significant (p≤0.05) majority (68%) of respondents from the federations, SASSU and USSASA believed that the Department did not have an integrated approach to planning as a key factor in the provision and delivery of sport and recreation in KwaZulu-Natal, while only 38% agreed that it involved them as partners during its planning of projects. Sixty six percent (p≤0.0001) of the study respondents indicated that the rate of sport and recreation service provision and delivery in KwaZulu-Natal was ‘fast’; 27% reported that it was ‘slow’; 4% revealed that it is ‘very fast’ and 3% responded that service delivery was ‘very slow’. Transformation with respect to women in key positions throughout the province was below 30%, and little effort had been made towards inclusion of people with disabilities in sport and recreation activities. The study revealed that the provision and delivery of sport and recreation by the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation has favoured urban areas, that men remain in key administrative positions, and that policies are not being implemented with respect to community access as a process of sports transformation. It is thus recommended that more resources be allocated to address the imbalance of facilities in rural areas, that more provision be made for women to enter decision making administrative posts, and that funding be consistently made available to the federations to assist with sport development.
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    Salivary biomarkers of mucosal immunity and sympathetic activation in children : effects of body composition, cardio-respiratory fitness and exercise.
    (2012) Konkol, Kristen F.; McKune, Andrew James.
    Worldwide, overweight/obesity and associated chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, have reached epidemic proportions. Statistics show that overweight/obesity and chronic disease is prevalent amongst adults and children in South Africa. In addition to chronic disease/non-communicable diseases, overweight/obesity has been shown to alter immune and sympathetic activation. There is limited information on immune function (mucosal) and sympathetic activation on children both internationally and nationally and in particular investigating these parameters using non-invasive methods such as salivary biomarkers. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the levels of salivary biomarkers of immune function and sympathetic activation in children and determine the association with overweight/obesity, cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and increased physical activity (PA). Methods This thesis is divided into six chapters. These include an introductory chapter (Chapter One), a review of the literature (Chapter Two) and then three chapters that are written in article format and that have each been submitted to accredited journals for publication. Chapter Three is a review article that discusses salivary biomarkers in children as they relate to exercise, PA and obesity. Chapter Four is a study that examined salivary biomarkers of mucosal immunity and sympathetic activation as predicted by age, body composition and cardiorespiratory variables in one hundred and thirty-two black South African children (age 10.05 ± 1.68y, 74 females, 58 males). Chapter Five is a study that investigated salivary biomarkers of mucosal immunity and sympathetic activation in response to 12 weeks of soccer training in thirty-four black male South African children (11 – 13y) from a youth football training academy. Chapter Six includes a summary of the research findings, conclusions and well as recommendations for future research. A review of the literature revealed that participation in regular moderate intensity PA or exercise appears to enhance mucosal immunity (increases salivary IgA (sIgA)) in preadolescent children. In contrast, poor fitness and inactivity as well as strenuous training appear to compromise the mucosal immune system thereby increasing the risk of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). Children reporting higher levels of body fat and with a greater BMI appear to have lower sIgA levels and a greater incidence of infections. The limited research examining salivary C-reactive protein (sCRP) suggests a strong association between poor cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF) and/or overweight/obesity and inflammatory status in children based on elevated sCRP levels. Research surrounding salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) indicates that exercise can result in a marked increase in sAA as seen by an increase sympathetic activity via increased adrenergic activity in the salivary glands. The limited research suggests exercise may also pose a high stress on young athletes as seen with an increase in sAA. Additionally it appears that BMI may be a strong predictor of stress-induced sAA increases in children. Greater hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis response, as seen by increases in salivary cortisol, appear to be influenced greatly by increases in obesity. Higher salivary cortisol secretions have been observed in obese versus lean children in response to exercise. School study: The outcomes of the one-way ANOVAs examining the differences by body mass index (BMI) categories showed there were significant differences in weight (F = 83.64, df = 2, 129, P < 0.0001), BMI (F = 193.36, df = 2, 129, P < 0.0001), waist-to-hip ratio (F = 193.36, df = 2, 129, P < 0.0001), body fat percentage (F = 336.98, df = 2, 129, P = 0.0001), SBP (F = 5.72, df = 2, 129, P = 0.0042), DBP (F = 291.76, df = 2, 129, P < 0.0001), VO2max (F = 521.00, df = 2, 129, P < 0.0001), sAA concentration (F = 17.05, df = 2, 129, P < 0.0001), sAA secretion rate (F = 15.15, df = 2, 129, P < 0.0001), sIgA concentration (F = 11.30, df = 2, 129, P < 0.0001), and sIgA secretion rate (F = 8.08, df = 2, 129, P = 0.0005), between children of different BMI categories. According to the CDC-BMI-for-age standards, the participants were grouped into the following CDC-BMI-for-age categories: normal weight (< 85th percentile), overweight (≥ 85th percentile to < 95th percentile), and obese (≥ 95th percentile) (Ogden and Flegal, 2010). Tukey’s post hoc analyses revealed that obese children had significantly (P < 0.01) higher weight, BMI, body fat percentage, DBP, SBP, sAA concentration and secretion rate, compared to overweight and normal weight children, as well as a significantly lower aerobic capacity (VO2max) than both normal (P < 0.001) weight and overweight (P < 0.05) children. In addition, sIgA concentration and secretion rate were significantly lower between normal weight and obese children (P < 0.01). Multiple linear regression revealed that BMI, DBP and VO2max predicted sAA. BMI (P = 0.04) and DBP (P = 0.04) were found to be independent predictors of sAA concentration. Age and BMI category predicted sIgA secretion rate. BMI category (P = 0.0006) was found to be an independent predictor of sIgA secretion rate. Soccer study: Significant differences after 12 weeks of soccer specific training were found to be significant between pre vs. post for BMI (P =0.034), waist-to-hip ratio (P = 0.046), age (P < 0.0001), height (P < 0.0001), body fat % (P < 0.0001) and LMM (P < 0.0001). Decreases in BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, body fat % and LMM were found while age and height increased throughout the 12 weeks. Significant differences were also found between sIgA secretion rate pre vs. post training (P =0.025) as increases in these values pre to post were observed. Conclusions The results from the studies on the school children and soccer players suggested that mucosal immune function and sympathetic activation appear to be affected by body composition, CRF and chronic exercise training. The main findings for the school study revealed that BMI, DBP and VO2 predict sAA and that age and BMI category predict sIgA. This study also found that obesity (based on BMI) has a major role to play and that obese children have elevated sAA, lowered sIgA, and poor CRF. The finding of an increase in sIgA secretion rate in the soccer study suggested that a structured 12 week exercise programme can elevate mucosal immune function in youth soccer players. The underlying mechanism responsible may be an exercise-induced increase in the transport of sIgA across the mucosal epithelium and/or enhanced production of IgA in the mucosa via mediating cytokines. The literature review demonstrated that PA and overweight/obesity may have an impact on salivary biomarkers of mucosal immunity and sympathetic activation in children, however further research with regards to optimal intensity, duration and modality need to be assessed in the pre-pubescent population.Physical activity, obesity, immunity, neuro-endocrine, children, salivary biomarkers, sympathetic activation.
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    Association between physical fitness and job performance in South African fire-fighters.
    (2012) Schmidt, Carl.; McKune, Andrew James.
    Aim. Accurate correlations between a wide range of physical fitness measures and occupational demands are needed in order to identify specific fitness tests and training needs for firefighters. Methods. Forty-eight experienced, professional firefighters (29 ± 7.24 yrs) participated in fitness and job performance testing sessions each spaced a week apart. Analysis was performed using Pearson moment correlation coefficients and multiple linear regression with alpha set at p≤.05. Results. Significant correlations (p≤.01) were found between a job performance task (Revised Grinder) and the following: lean muscle mass (r = -.69), overall fitness (r = -.62), height (r = -.62), strength endurance: deadlift (r = -.54), bent-over row (r = -.51), bench press (r = -.51), shoulder press (r = -.46); maximal strength: hand grip strength (r = -.57), bench press (r = -.51), anaerobic capacity: 400m (r = .50), and aerobic capacity: multistage shuttle run (r = -.46). Multiple linear regression determined that lean muscle mass and aerobic capacity account for 82% of the variation in the job performance task. Conclusion. It is apparent that firefighting taxes virtually all aspects of physical fitness. This data can help the exercise specialist choose appropriate tests and prescribe specific fitness programmes for firefighters. Traditional firefighter exercise programmes focusing mainly on cardiovascular fitness should be replaced with physical conditioning programmes that address all components of fitness. Cardiovascular fitness testing should include the performance of job-related tasks to improve test validity.