University physical education department students’ psychomotor functionality and physical activity analysis

PhD, Associate Professor D.M. Pravdov1
Dr. Hab., Professor M.A. Pravdov1
PhD, Associate Professor N.E. Khromtsov2
PhD, Associate Professor A.I. Matsko3
1Russian State Social University, Moscow
2Ivanovo State University, Shuya branch, Shuya
3Armavir State Pedagogical University, Armavir

Corresponding author: pravdov@mail.ru

Abstract

Objective of the study was to rate and analyze the 18-19 year-old Physical Education Department students’ mental, physiological and physical fitness versus their physical activity.

Methods and structure of the study. We used the following methods: analysis of the relevant study reports; nervous system responses and strength rating tapping test; and the physical fitness tests including plank running and 30s sagittal-plane simultaneous/ alternating hand swing test. We sampled for the study run in 2020-21 the 18-19 year-old Physical Education Department students’ (n= 97 including 53 males and 44 females) at three universities.

Results and conclusion. The right-/ left-hand tapping test data (total average tapping frequencies) were found virtually the same for the male and female groups; although the right-hand squared points tapping averages in square 1 were significantly higher in the male group. The left-hand tapping averages were found significantly higher in the male group both in the total average and in squares 1/ 3/ 4/ 5 tapping averages; albeit lower on the whole than the right-hand tapping test data due to the right-hand dominance in the sample.

Habitually sporting and physically active individuals in the sample were tested with significantly higher dynamic endurance in the tapping test and cyclic exercise tests indicative of the good musculoskeletal system fitness and nervous system control. Their unsporting and physically inactive peers were tested low in the nervous system strength / dynamic endurance rating tests and physical fitness tests. The study data and analyses demonstrate the need for the theoretical and practical academic physical education and sport service for the unsporting students to be revised so as to encourage their physical fitness and physical activity sensitive to their individual psychomotor test rates and physical progress agendas and offer customizable physical training models.

Keywords: 18-19 year-old students, tapping test, physical activity, nervous system strength, cyclic exercise test, pace.

Background. For the last few decades, the national health statistics have reported health deterioration trends for the university graduates [1, 2] – partially due to the entrants’ physical fitness and health standards varying at mostly moderate and low levels, with the pedagogical universities’ Physical Education Department students being no exclusion [3-5]. The national educational community gives in this context a special priority to new physical activation models to facilitate the professional training, physical fitness and health improvement services.

Objective of the study was to rate and analyze the 18-19 year-old Physical Education Department students’ mental, physiological and physical fitness versus their physical activity.

Methods and structure of the study. We used the following methods: analysis of the relevant study reports; nervous system responses and strength rating tapping test; and the physical fitness tests including plank running and 30s sagittal-plane simultaneous/ alternating hand swing test. We sampled for the study run in 2020-21 the 18-19 year-old Physical Education Department students’ (n= 97 including 53 males and 44 females) at three universities.

Results and discussion. The right-/ left-hand tapping test data (total average tapping frequencies) were found virtually the same for the male and female groups (32.7±0.9 and 31.5±1.0, respectively); although the right-hand squared points tapping averages in square 1 were significantly higher in the male group (37.8±1.1 versus 34.7±1.1, p <0.05). The left-hand tapping averages were found significantly higher in the male group both in the total average and in squares 1/ 3/ 4/ 5 tapping averages; albeit lower on the whole than the right-hand tapping test data due to the right-hand dominance in the sample. The tapping pace was found to sag with the test time: see Figure 1.

Figure 1. Tapping test data variation curves for the gender groups

The above curves are generally indicative of the group nervous system strength being low on average. We found the tapping frequency falling since the second 5-second interval to stay at this level till the end. The male group tapping pace was tested higher than the female one; with the right-hand pace significantly above the left-hand one due to the right-hand dominance (p <0.05).

The right-hand square 1 tapping pace in the male group was the highest at 7.6 points/ s to fall thereafter by 18.4% in square 4 (to 6.2 points/ s) and stay at this level till square 6. The female group pace was tested to fall in the same manner by 14.5% from 6.9 to 5.9 points/ s: see Figure 2.

Figure 2. Right- and left-hand tapping pace variation in the gender groups

In square 5, the tapping pace was tested to grow by 7.8% (to 6.4 points/ s) and then fall to the minimum, with the gender group differences tested insignificant. The left-hand tapping pace in the male group was tested to fall in squares 1-2 and squares 3-6 – by 9.4% and 20.3%, respectively, versus the startup (square 1) pace. The tapping test pace growth in square 3 to square 2 was estimated at 3.3% in the male group. The female group was tested with the left-hand pace falling by square 4 by 20.8% (from 6.04 to 4.8 points/ s) and slightly grow by 1.6% at the end (square 6).

The individual tapping test data were found to vary with the nervous system strength to allow the sample grouping by the nervous system strength levels. We found that the nervous system strength groups generally agreeing with the physical activity groups in the sample. On the whole, 60.4% and 44.2% in the male and female groups (respectively) reported low physical activity limited to the regular academic physical education and sport service plus self-reliant trainings 2 times a week at most. The individuals tested with convex and even tapping test curves and, hence,  moderate-to-high nervous system strength, were unsurprisingly found more physically active. 22.6% and 13.6% of the male and female groups (respectively) were ranked with the moderate-to-high nervous system strength and reported habitual off-class physical education and sports complementary to the academic physical education and sport service. These sporting students reported training 3-5 times a week in sports groups plus 30-40-min daily workouts at home varying in emphases and intensities. Some of them (28.6%) reported their weekly trainings averaging 11-plus-hours.

The habitually sporting students were tested significantly higher (1.8 and 1.7 times in the male and female groups, respectively) than their unsporting and physically inactive peers in the plank running test. The similar picture was found for the group averages in the hand swing test, with the habitually sporting males and females tested 2.1 and 1.9 times higher than the unsporting peers.

Conclusion. Habitually sporting and physically active individuals in the sample were tested with significantly higher dynamic endurance in the tapping test and cyclic exercise tests indicative of the good musculoskeletal system fitness and nervous system control. Their unsporting and physically inactive peers were tested low in the nervous system strength / dynamic endurance rating tests and physical fitness tests. The study data and analyses demonstrate the need for the theoretical and practical academic physical education and sport service for the unsporting students to be revised so as to encourage their physical fitness and physical activity sensitive to their individual psychomotor test rates and physical progress agendas and offer customizable physical training models.

References

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