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The effect of physical conditioning on the motor fitness and cardiovascular condition of college freshmen. Scott, Harvey Alexander


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a twice-weekly thirty-minute 'physical conditioning class' in improving the Cardiovascular Condition and Motor Fitness of male college freshmen at the University of British Columbia. It was hypothesized that selected measurements of the physical fitness of the sample would be improved significantly by the programme. Fifteen subjects, selected randomly from a larger number in the conditioning class, were given a fitness test battery prior to and at the end of the eight week conditioning programme. The gains in fitness measured were evaluated in terms of statistical significance and in terms of standard scores previously established for normal young college men. A statistical comparison of the experimental group and a large sample of first year students tested in 1962 was made for the variables height, weight and motor performance. The two groups were found to be sufficiently alike to consider the experimental group as reasonably representative of male college freshmen enrolled in the Required Programme at the University. In almost all of the variables studied, approximately two-thirds of the subjects showed changes which were in the direction of increased physical fitness. All but one of the twenty-two variables used showed small mean changes in the direction of increased physical fitness although only twelve of these were statistically significant. Most of the mean gains were too small to be considered biologically or practically important. In the cardiovascular items, several subjects with relatively high scores on their first tests had lower scores when they were retested and several subjects who had relatively low scores on their first test had higher scores when they were retested. Most of the other subjects increased some of their scores slightly when they were retested but also some of their scores decreased slightly. The following conclusions were made. For improvement of Cardiovascular Condition, the training programme was too easy for the initially fit students, reasonably adequate for the initially unfit students and only slight stimulus for the majority. For improvement of Motor Fitness the training programme was not sufficient either in duration or intensity (or both) to produce practical or biologically important changes.

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