Effects of Zulu stick fighting on health-related physical fitness of prepubescent Zulu males.

S Nxumalo, Stuart SEMPLE, G Longhurst

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    Indigenous Zulu games might be useful for the purposes of enhancing motor ability and health. We investigated the potential influence of the traditional martial art of Zulu stick fighting on health-related physical fitness of prepubescent males. Forty-five children were divided into an experimental group (n = 22), which underwent a ten-week stick fighting intervention programme facilitated by two professional stick fighters, and a control group (n = 23) without such an intervention. The five health-related components of physical fitness that we measured were: skinfolds (a proxy for body composition); modified sit and reach (flexibility); sit-ups and pushups (muscle endurance); grip strength (muscle strength); and a 20-metre Multistage Test for cardiovascular fitness. The stick fighting intervention led to significant differences (p <0.05) of a 6.6% decrease in body composition, a 28.6% rise in cardiovascular fitness and a 24.8% increase in flexibility. Muscle endurance and strength did not change significantly with muscle strength deteriorating over the course of the intervention programme. The use of indigenous physical activities may provide useful alternatives for activities that are not restricted by cost or equipment at rural schools that mostly lack unaffordable infrastructure and proper exercise facilities. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)32-45
    Number of pages14
    JournalAfrican Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


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