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Issue: May/June 2008
Are Sports and Games Effective for Fitness and Weight Control?
Although traditional aerobic activities such as running, cycling, and swimming may effectively increase activity and aerobic fitness, they may not be suitable or attractive for many people who would rather participate in sports and games. However, some HPER professionals believe that sports and games are not as effective for fitness and weight management because of the presumption that they expend less energy. Until recently, the oxygen cost of sports and games could only be estimated; but technology now exists that directly and accurately measures the VO2 of such activities. This article summarizes recent studies that have assessed the oxygen cost and energy expenditure of a variety of sports and games including tennis, racquetball, basketball, Tae Kwan Do, and volleyball. The average oxygen uptake in these activities was found to be similar to that of traditional aerobic activities such as running and cycling. Therefore, HPER professionals should continue advocating sports and games for aerobic fitness, weight management, and overall health, thereby motivating more people to be physically active.
Article category: Alliance Scholar Lecture