Exercise as it relates to Disease/Physical fitness programmes effects on cardio respiratory function in sedentary students

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The following Wiki Book is an analysis of the journal article: “Effect of Health-Related Physical Fitness Programmes on the Cardio-Respiratory Function of Sedentary Students” by Sinku, S.K. (2012)

Research Background[edit | edit source]

Respiratory function relates to the ability for the body to undertake the task of gas exchange, this is very important for athletic performance as well as day to day life. It has been shown that regular physical activity can assist sufferers of conditions that affect the respiratory system. It has been found that in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) the level of physical activity reported by patients is related to lung function decline, hospitalisations and mortality[1].

It has been recognised that obesity has a great effect on respiratory function with the condition usually leading to a higher respiratory rate[2]. The two main reasons for obesity include, an excessive and unbalanced diet as well as lack of physical activity[3], this implies that regular exercise decreases the chance of having issues involving the respiratory system. It has been shown that weight loss leads to a reversal of these changes[2], which can be done using regular exercise.

Therefore, the researchers looked to identify the changes in cardio respiratory function in sedentary students in comparison to the same students after a 12-week physical activity program.

Where was the Research Conducted?[edit | edit source]

This study was conducted in Nanded, Maharashtra, India. It used sedentary male students studying in different colleges of the Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University[4]. Permission to undertake this study was given by Dr Sargerao Nimse, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of the University[4]. All participants completed an informed consent document to participate in the study[4].

Type of Research[edit | edit source]

The research involved 20 sedentary male students whom all acted as the experimental group for health-related physical fitness programs with no control group[4]. All 20 subjects undertook the same 12-week program.

This study selects students that are already sedentary therefore a controlled group was not needed to show the effects of being sedentary on respiratory function[4]. The comparison between subjects being sedentary and the same subjects after having completed a 12-week physical activity program was sufficient to provide evidence that exercise improves respiratory function greatly.

Aim and Method of Research[edit | edit source]

The aim of the research was to examine the changes in respiratory function in sedentary students after completing a 12-week physical activity program in relation to heart rate, respiratory rate, vital capacity and breath holding after expiration and inspiration[4]. 20 sedentary male students with no presence of chronic medical conditions such as asthma or heart disease as well as being free of smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption were selected[4]. All participants completed a training program for a period of 12 weeks. Exercise was administered 5 days a week for 60 min a day[4].

Results[edit | edit source]

Table 1. Results[4]

Resting Heart Rate N Mean SD t-Value
Before Program Test 20 76.13 8.44 4.44
After Program Test 20 64.66 5.42 4.44
Respiratory Rate N Mean SD t-Value
Before Program Test 20 19.53 3.65 4.15
After Program Test 20 15.13 3.65 4.15
Vital Capacity N Mean SD t-Value
Before Program Test 20 2150 431 4.54
After Program Test 20 2931 637 4.54
Breath Holding Capacity after Inspiration N Mean SD t-Value
Before Program Test 20 42 28 1.02 NS
After Program Test 20 53 39 1.02 NS
Breath Holding Capacity after Expiration N Mean SD t-Value
Before Program Test 20 69 26 0.65 NS
After Program Test 20 85 28 0.65 NS

The result tables indicate that the 20 sedentary students who undertook a 12-week physical activity program significantly improved their respiratory function. This is evident by the lowered resting heart rate and respiratory rate as well as the increase in vital capacity[4]. Breath holding capacity after both inspiration and expiration following the program was found to be not significant[4].

Conclusions[edit | edit source]

This study identifies the improvements in respiratory function that can be made when consistent physical activity is implemented into a previously sedentary lifestyle. The major improvements being resting heart rate, respiratory rate and vital capacity[4].

These results remained consistent with other studies concluding that lower aerobic fitness was associated with reduced lung volumes, lower physical fitness and lower amount of weekly physical activity[5]. People who remained or become active have better MTT test results than individuals who remained or became sedentary[6]. Physical activity has a great impact on an individual’s body mass index, it has been found that a healthier body mass index has a strong correlation with higher aerobic fitness in both females and males[5].

Practical Advice[edit | edit source]

Regular physical activity can rapidly improve respiratory function. However, individuals with chronic medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease are at risk when performing some forms of exercise.

The participants used in this study were free of smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption which has a great impact on respiratory function and research results. A study that compared respiratory function between smokers and non-smokers in trained sportsmen found that the vital capacity, Vo2Max, forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume values of the smokers, before and after the training, were significantly lower than non-smokers[7].

While physical activity does improve respiratory function, its impact can be limited by other unhealthy habits such as smoking and high alcohol consumption.

Further Information[edit | edit source]

Below includes further readings regarding respiratory function and conditions:

- Physiological Differences and Similarities in Asthma and COPD:


- Basic tests of respiratory function:


References[edit | edit source]

  1. Watz H, Waschki B, Meyer T, Magnussen H. Physical activity in patients with COPD. European Respiratory Journal. 2008;33(2):262-272.
  2. a b Littleton S. Impact of obesity on respiratory function. Respirology. 2011;17(1):43-49.
  3. Canan C. Obesity and Exercise. Journal of Clinical and Analytical Medicine. 2014;5(143):244-247.
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l Sinku, S.K. Effect of Health-Related Physical Fitness Programmes on the Cardio-Respiratory Function of Sedentary Students. Journal of Exercise Science and Physiotherapy, Vol. 8, No. 2: 58-62, 2012.
  5. a b Mihailova A, Kaminska I. Lung volumes related to physical activity, physical fitness, aerobic capacity and body mass index in students. SHS Web of Conferences. 2016;30:00017.
  6. Cheng Y. Effects of physical activity on exercise tests and respiratory function. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2003;37(6):521-528.
  7. Beytut E, Demirci N. THE EFFECT OF SMOKING ON RESPIRATORY FUNCTIONS, ARTERIAL BLOOD PRESSURE AND MELATONIN LEVELS OF TRAINED SPORTSMEN. Ovidius University Annals, Series Physical Education and Sport/Science, Movement and Health2012;XII(2):126-132.