The effects of different forms of exercise on body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness in previously sedentary females : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Exercise Physiology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Thirty-five healthy females between the ages of 18 and 45 who had not undertaken any training for at least two months prior to the experiment were studied to determine the effects of six weeks of 'Pump It' aerobics or walking training on body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness, expressed as estimated maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max). Twelve of the volunteers
participated in 'Pump It' aerobics while eleven took part in walking training. The remaining twelve subjects served as controls. Prior to the training programme, subjects were assessed for their current levels of cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition (fitness test 1). Testing was repeated at the conclusion of the training period (fitness test 2). Estimated VO2max was determined
from heart rate and oxygen uptake during a submaximal treadmill-walking test. This method was validated in a preliminary experiment. Oxygen consumption during 'Pump It' was overestimated by approximately 0.38L/min using the HR/VO2 relationship
obtained during treadmill walking. This was taken into account for the calculation of VO2 in Experiment 2. Body composition was
evaluated from the sum of five skinfolds (triceps, subscapular, suprailiac, abdomen, thigh) and the sum of six circumferences (forearm, upper arm, waist, hips, thigh and calf). Data were analysed using one factor ANOVA and regression analysis. The training programmmes consisted of three 55-60 minute sessions a week. Massey University 'Pump It' aerobics consisted of a variety of traditional weight training exercises performed using light weights and high repetitions to music. Walking training involved brisk walking as a group, in and around the Massey University, Turitea Campus. Six weeks of 'Pump It' and Walking training failed to produce significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition compared with the Control group. There were no significant changes in body mass, the sum of skinfolds or the sum of circumferences. It was concluded that the length of the fitness programmes were too short to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and the training intensity of 'Pump It' and Walking were insufficient to improve body composition.