Flexibility and fitness aerobics: a comparison 

between the scholars of Physical Education

La flexibiliad y los ejercicios aeróbicos: una comparacion entre estudiantes de Educación Física


*Mestrando em Educação Física. Professor da

rede estadual de Educação. Graduando em Pedagogia

** Graduando em Fisioterapia.


Fabiano Augusto Teixeira*


Bruno de Souza Silveira**







          The objective of this study was to investigate the correlation between flexibility and aerobic fitness among scholars of Physical Education, considering the genre. The sample consisted of 139 students, 69 men and 70 women, mean age 22,16 years. The data collected were: VO2max (Walk 1.600m), height (Body Mass Index), weight, flexibility angle (goniometry) hamstrings, piriformis and subscapular and linear low back flexibility (Schober). For the treatment of the data obtained, we used descriptive statistics, the Student t test for independent samples, Mann-Whitney test, Pearson correlation analysis and Spearman's, with a significance level of 5%. The data revealed that 139 students had a BMI within the normal range (22,1 ± 3,20) kg/cm², no significant difference between genders (p = 0,535). The aerobic fitness in women was considered moderate, with 32,4 (± 7,34) ml.kg.min-1, and men with a mean of 41,7 (± 7,28). The flexibility introduced in the lumbar acceptable, although they were found several muscle shortening, especially in the piriform D (29,15 ± 10,1°) and E (29,35 ± 8,10°). From the data collected, was that there is no correlation between flexibility and aerobic fitness among academics of Physical Education.

          Keywords: Physical Education. Flexibility. Aerobic fitness.


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    Physical fitness related to health is characterized as the ability to perform daily tasks with vigor (DUMITH; JUNIOR; ROMBALDI, 2008) and demonstrate traits and characteristics that are associated with a lower risk of premature development of hypokinetic diseases (PATE, 1988). This concept was derived primarily from clinical studies that showed the highest incidence of health problems among the elderly, young adults and sedentary lifestyle (LUNARDI; KAIPPER; SANTOS, 2007). Thus, aerobic fitness can be defined as the ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles and use it to generate energy during exercise. However, there are few studies about its relationship with other component of health-related fitness, flexibility.

    According to Guedes; Miranda Neto (2007), the components of physical health-related factors can be attributed to motor, functional, morphological, physiological and behavioral. On the other hand, muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, flexibility, body composition and strength are defined as morphological and functional motor-related physical fitness to health.

    Caspersen; Powell; Christenson (1985), states that physical fitness is characterized as the ability to perform physical activity, being dependent on innate characteristics and/or acquired by an individual. Furthermore, aerobic fitness can be defined as the ability to capture oxygen to the muscles and use it to produce energy during exercise. In this sense Armstrong, (2006) states that it differs according to the pulmonary, cardiovascular and hematological for the supply of oxygen and oxidative mechanisms of the muscles. The maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) is the highest rate of oxygen that an individual can consume during physical exercise, being recognized as the best way to measure aerobic fitness (GUEDES; GUEDES, 2006).

    Flexibility is one of the variables of physical fitness and health-related quality of life, responsible for the execution of movements of joints for maximum angular amplitude (DANTAS, 2003). And yet, this determines the physical capacity limit of the range of motion and significantly affects the autonomy of the individual to perform daily tasks (TEIXEIRA; SILVEIRA, 2011). And for maintaining or achieving higher levels of flexibility is necessary stretches and exercises that promote the increase of the extensibility of the muscles, tendons and ligaments (ALTER, 1999).

    The level of flexibility is important for health, however, is established which are adequate for the health body, but can be varied according to gender, ethnicity, age and level of physical activity (COELHO; ARAUJO, 2000). Thus, it should be noted that, unlike the maximum aerobic condition, extremely high levels of flexibility are not always associated with high standards of health, and may also occur in individuals with certain abnormalities and/or disease (ARAÚJO, 2000).

    However, there is limited evidence about the relationship between aerobic fitness and body flexibility. In this sense, this study aimed to verify the correlation between flexibility and aerobic fitness among scholars of Physical Education, considering the genre.

Methodological procedures

    This research is characterized as a descriptive, cross-sectional approach using quantitative data. The quantitative research aims to bring the light data, indicators and trends observable (SERAPIONI, 2000), while the descriptive research describes systematically facts and characteristics present in a given population (GRESSLER, 2004).

    The study population was composed of regular students enrolled in physical education from a Higher Education Institution (HEI) of Florianopolis, SC. The sample consisted of 139 students, over 18 years, intentionally selected for convenience, which agreed to participate and signed a consent form (ICF).

    In the data collection form was used a physical examination, a heart, a scale with a stadiometer, a tape measure and a universal goniometer. Participants were analyzed weight, height (BMI), VO2max (1600m walk test), linear low back flexibility (Guedes; Guedes, 2006), angular flexibility (goniometry) hamstrings, piriformis and subscapularis (PRENTICE; VOIGHT, 2003).

    The procedures for data collection, was first sent a letter to the course coordinator, requesting permission to conduct the study. After approval of the coordination of IES, the project was approved by the Ethics in Human Research at the University of Santa Catarina State, under the report 034/2010.

    After project approval by the Ethics Committee, was in contact with the Academy of Physical Education for each class to explain the procedures and objectives of the study. Then, students were invited to participate. Moreover, it was delivered to the IC and explained that students who participate in the survey agreed to sign, allowing thus their participation in research, according to the Resolution. 196 of 10 October 1996, the National Board of Health.

    To characterize the sample as a function of the selected variables, we used the mean, standard deviation and frequencies. Seeking to determine the homogeneity and normality of the sample tests were used by L'Avenir and normality Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Shapiro-Wilk test. To check the results presented gender, we used the Student t test for independent samples, and this procedure was employed by a present distribution Within the normal range. On the Other Hand, That the independent variables did not show the normal distribution, recorreuse the nonparametric Mann-Whitney test.We considered the significance level of p <0.05, ie 95% probability of affirmatives and / or negatives denoted during the investigation.

    To analyze the correlation between aerobic fitness and flexibility/BMI was used to analyze the Pearson and Spearman correlation's with a significance level of 5%, the statistical analysis performed with SPSS version 17.0.

Results and discussion

    Table 1 presents the characteristics of the students of Physical Education, which shows that among the 139 participants, the mean age was 22,16 (± 1,74) years. While the average weight was 62,1 (± 10,04).

    The results of this study allows us to affirm, according to studies by FERNANDES, 2003, the average BMI among the scholars of Physical Education (22,1 ± 3,20 kg/m2) can be considered within the normal range, no significant differences between men and women (p = 0,535), however, men were weight (p= 0,003) and height (p= 0,00) superior to women. And yet, it was found that these scholars were in a weight range considered adequate, with the absence of overweight and obesity.

    In the analysis of correlation with body mass index aa aerobic fitness, that there was correlation (p= 0,017) between aerobic fitness and BMI (R= -0,368), ie, individuals with high levels of VO2max had levels BMI reduced. However, these data revealed only in women (p = 0,033). Thus, these data are contrary to the literature, because for Conte et al. (2003), between men and women, the risk of subjects with VO2max below or within the average present high BMI was higher than for people with high oxygen consumption.

    It is also observed in Table 1 considered a moderate aerobic fitness for men with a mean ith mean of 41,7,3 (± 7,28), and for females, with an average of 32,4 (± 7,34) ml.kg. min-1. Stands at the data the need for guidance for these individuals, aiming to encourage the practice of regular physical activity as a preventive measure for the improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness.

    According to the objectives proposed in this study, we evaluated the flexibility of multiple body segments, especially through the muscle length (flexibility) and lumbar (Shober test). In this sense, it was found that the flexibility of these individuals presented satisfactory, since the linear flexibility of the lumbar spine obtained on average 3,84 (± 1,52) cm, and is considered acceptable (GUEDES; GUEDES, 2006).

    The flexibility of the members, we find significant shortening only in bilateral piriform muscles (PRENTICE; VOIGHT, 2003). However, no significant differences were seen in the flexibility between men and women, both in the lumbar spine (p = 0,132), subscapular D (p = 0,178), E (p = 0,226), hamstring D (p = 0,269), E (p = 0,389), pyriform D (p = 0,818) and E (p = 0,514).

    Thus, the results found in this study are opposite to those found in other studies, which recommend that women have body flexibility than men (WEINECK, 1999). Women have more elastic ligaments and flexible than men, due to lower tissue density, and is also influenced by the faster and better ability to muscle relaxation (BIM; NARDO JR, 2005).

Table 1. Distribution of the data found between the scholars of Physical Education

    Table 2 and 3 shows the correlation Between the Flexibility of the lumbar muscles, subscapularis, hamstrings and piriformis and aerobic fitness (VO2max), Which It Is Perceived That there was the correlation Between Flexibility and aerobic fitness of the segments investigated. Thus, it is noted That among men there was the existence of VO2max piriform correlation with the D (p= 0,097) and E (p= 0,092), Flexibility lumbar (p = 0,364), subscapular D (p= 0,879), and (p= 0,934) and hamstring D (p= 0,535), E (p= 0,289). And yet, there was no evidence in women between the VO2max and piriform D (p = 0,094) and E (p = 0,089), lumbar flexibility (p = 0,364), subscapular D (p = 0,879), E (p = 0,929) and hamstring D (p = 0,239), E (p = 0,172).

Table 2. Correlation between VO2max and body flexibility

    The results of this study is presented in a manner contrary to those described by Jones (2002), which found a significant positive correlation between flexibility (as measured by the test of Wella) and maximum oxygen consumption measured in runners. However, Conte et al. (2003) report that, with respect to women, was that there was no significant risk of women with low oxygen present low flexibility. On the other hand, men with low VO2max showed a 3,13 times greater risk for reduced range of motion, demonstrating that improvements in energy metabolism, resulting from increased VO2max, muscle plasticity changes (WEINECK, 1999).

    The results are different when dealing with the genre, as evidence has shown that women, regardless of physical fitness, are more flexible than men (ASTRAND, 2006).

Table 3. Analysis of correlation between VO2 max and body flexibility.


    From the results shown in this study, we conclude that there was no correlation between aerobic fitness and body flexibility. However, it is emphasized that there was evidence of association between BMI and lower rates of adequate levels of aerobic fitness, especially among academic women.

    The information found in the present study suggest the continuity of research involving a larger number of participants and different courses in order to, in addition to having a larger number of participants, performing the comparison between the different undergraduate courses.


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