Evaluation of physical fitness by post exercise heart rate recovery in relation to body composition in medical students
Background: The rising prevalence of physical inactivity among youth is resulting in a decrease in their physical fitness. The aim of this study was to evaluate the physical fitness (PF) status of undergraduate medical students of Services Institute of Medical Sciences, Lahore by assessing the heart rate recovery (HRR) after the exercise challenge in relation to their body mass index (BMI). Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in the Department of Physiology, SIMS from May to December 2019. Ninety-three (93) healthy students of first and second-year MBBS were recruited through nonprobability convenient sampling. Demographics and lifestyle components were gathered using a questionnaire. Height, weight, and resting heart rate were recorded before exercise. All participants underwent an exercise challenge on a treadmill. Post-exercise HRR was determined by taking multiple recordings (zero, 2, and 5 minutes after exercise cessation). Results: Mean age of participants was 20±1 years, 63.4% were male and 36.6% were female; 16.1% were underweight, 54.8% were of healthy weight, 25.8% were overweight, and 3.2% were obese according to WHO criteria of BMI. Majority (93.5%) of participants were physically inactive, only 6.5% were physically active. The HRR at 5 min post-exercise was statistically significant (p<0.00) in underweight, healthy weight and overweight groups while it was statistically non-significant (p=0.142) in obese participants. The percentage of participants having good PF in underweight, healthy weight, overweight and obese was 66.7%, 82.4%, 70.8%, 33.3% respectively. Conclusion: Participants having a healthy weight had greater PF as compared to other BMI groups.
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