Physical Activity of University Students

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 4
Words: 1294
Reading time:
5 min


The primary purpose of this research is to study the physical activities among university students and establish the relationships between biological activities, academic success, and physical fitness at the University of California. Although several studies have attempted to establish the relationship between physical activities among university students, they have provided diverse and sometimes contradictory conclusions (Singh et al., 2019). They offer an insignificant correlation between the duration of physical exercises and academic achievements.


  • To investigate the current state of physical activities among university students, and their physical fitness and obtain data on different variations of exercises.
  • To determine the relationship between academic success, physical fitness, and physical activities.

Methodology and Research Design

Research Design

The quantitative research method was used to answer the research questions. Surveys were used to collect data about students’ physical exercise and fitness Research questions focused on establishing the specific time of the day the university students go for physical activities and the type of physical activities they pursue. International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was used to collect data on the frequency of engagement in physical activities. This instrument was developed by an International Consensus Group in 1998, and it has been used in numerous studies (Cleland et al., 2018). The scale was not pretested. Table 1 below provides a summary of the methods used to answer each question.

Table 1. Methods Used to Answer Research Questions

Research question The method used to Answer
How many hours did the physical activities take place per week? Questionnaire
How many sessions of physical activities lasted for more than 15 minutes? Questionnaire
How many sessions of moderate physical activities lasted for more than 15 minutes? Questionnaire
How many low-effort physical activities lasted for more than 15 minutes? Questionnaire

A total of 290 students were selected using a stratified sampling method. The sample was generated by first dividing the students into separate strata representing their year of study. Then, the samples were chosen within each stratum using simple random sampling. The researcher obtained a list of all students in each year and used a table of random numbers to select students proportional to the size of each year of study. Each student had a chance to be selected to participate in the investigation, and there was no control group.

Data was collected by participants as a group by staff trained in measurement methods and procedures performed the testing of the student’s physical fitness at the university’s sports Centre. In addition to physical activity, anthropometric measures such as abdominal circumference, body height, body weight, thigh circumference, and upper arm circumference were captured to determine the accumulation of subcutaneous parts in each participant were used.

The investigators used the SPSS software to code and analyzed the collected data. In addition to being easier to use and handling vast amounts of data, this analysis tool minimizes the risks of errors during data analysis, thus enhancing the overall validity and reliability of the research findings. Besides, the researchers used an independent samples t-test to compare the physical fitness test results. We also found Spearman’s correlation coefficient as the most appropriate method of determining the correlation between physical activities and physical fitness in this research. The use of binary logistic regression was also applied in calculating the influence of physical activities on academic achievements.


Finding all the information and activities done during the week was difficult since students do not record them. This research used a small sample size, focused on a homogenous sample, did not have a control group, and the IPAQ questionnaire is not a validated instrument (Cleland et al., 2018). These concerns compromised the validity and reliability of this study.


The analysis of the questionnaires showed that most of the students participated in physical activities in the afternoon. The majority number, which formed 54%, participated between 2-3 times in a week, while 30% reported being active in the late hours of the evening, around 6 pm. A group of 14% said they were involved in physical activities during morning hours before 12noon, while 2 % reported not being involved in any physical activities at all.

Table 2. Binary logistic regression for the prediction of academic success.

Regular admission to the second year of study OR (95% CI) p-value
Weekly PA
1 hour or less 11(27) 30(11) 1.00 (reference)
2 hours 8(20) 64(24) 3.37 (1.18 – 9.62) 0.024
3hours 7(17) 75(29) 4.37 (1.44 – 13.24 0.009
4hours 5(12) 30(14) 3.54 (0.99 – 12.59) 0.051
5hours or more 9(22) 51(19) 3.26 (0.86 – 12.45) 0.083
Vigorous PA
2x weekly or less 28(70) 192 (73) 1.00 (reference) 0.220
3x weekly or more 12(30) 58 (27) 0.55 (0.21 – 1.43) 0.875
Moderate PA
2x weekly or less 34(85) 208 (80.9) 1.00 (reference)
3x weekly or more 6(15) 49 (19.1) 1.09 (0.38 – 3.11) 0.700
Low effort PA
2x weekly or less 31(77) 179 (69.6) 1.00 (reference)
3x weekly or more 9(23) 78 (30.4) 1.18 (0.51 – 2.76) 0.700
Sports Club Membership
No 30(75) 206 (80.2) 1.00 (reference)
Yes 10(25) 51 (19.8) 0.81 (0.30 – 2.18) 0.674
Body mass index
<25(regular) 27(67) 187 (72.8) 1.00 (reference)
≥ 25 (overweight) 9(22) 51 (19.8) 0.72 (0.31 – 1.69) 0.452
≥ 30 (obese) 4(10) 19 (7.4) 0.56 (0.17 – 1.88) 0.349
Male 16(40) 98 (38.1) 1.00 (reference)
Female 24(60) 159 (61.9 0.94 (0.43 – 2.03) 0.868

PA=physical Activity,95%ci=95% confidence interval

For the vigorous activities that lasted more than 15 minutes, 25% reported not being involved in any, while 23% of the participants exercised vigorously once a week. For moderate activities of at least 15 minutes, 36% of the participants’ practices once a week, while 19% never reported being involved in any exercise of this intensity. For the activities that required low-effort physical activities, 26% of the participants were involved in the previous week, while 32 % were never engaged in any form of low-effort physical activity. Based on the WHO guidelines, 230 students, who are about 80%, were insufficiently active since they were not involved in any moderate physical activity for at least 150 minutes in a week or any vigorous exercise for at least 75 minutes.

To find out the correlation between physical activities and physical fitness, we analyzed three parameters which included duration of the physical activity per week, frequency of moderate activities, which lasted for more than 15 minutes, and frequency of the vigorous physical exercises, which lasted for more than 15 minutes per week. Physical fitness between males and females displayed a significant variance. An analysis by gender provided substantial relationships between the intensity of physical activities and fitness.

Discussion and Conclusion

Results of this study show that the students are inactive since an adult needs at least 150 minutes of vigorous activities per week or 75 minutes of active activities like running. For physical fitness, the results showed a smaller number of women who take place in exercise, and therefore men were more fit than women. However, regarding flexibility, women performed better than men. The second purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between physical activities and academic success. Though 80% of the students were inactive throughout the week, they were academically successful, and they were regularly admitted to the next level of study. Students who participated in short time activities of 2-3 hours performed better in academics. There was no relationship between long hour’s physical activities, body fitness, and academic success. This study focused on one institution, which limited the application or generalization of the research findings.


  • Future research should consider using large sample sizes
  • Students from multiple institutions and in different years of study should be examined to ascertain the causal relationship between physical activities and fitness levels.
  • Future studies should use validated measures of physical activity.


Singh, A. S., Saliasi, E., Van Den Berg, V., Uijtdewilligen, L., De Groot, R. H., Jolles, J.,… & Chinapaw, M. J. (2019). Effects of physical activity interventions on cognitive and academic performance in children and adolescents: a novel combination of a systematic review and recommendations from an expert panel. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(10), 640-647. Web.

Cleland, C., Ferguson, S., Ellis, G., & Hunter, R. F. (2018). Validity of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) for assessing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and sedentary behaviour of older adults in the United Kingdom. BMC medical research methodology, 18(1), 1-12.