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Declining Physical Fitness in College Male Students during Covid-19 Pandemic

Jieun Yu, Yongseok Jee


Aim: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people all over the world are staying home and as result, are less physically active. Physical inactivity is widely known to have a negative effect on the human body, but it is not known to what extent health related fitness factors can be affected. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of physical inactivity by recruiting participants who regularly exercised before, but have stopped during the pandemic period. Materials and Methods: The participants were college male students and their mean (± SD) age and body weight were 23.48 (± 1.56) years old and 73.18 (± 8.81) kg, respectively, as of the end of May 2020. Results: In terms of body composition, muscle mass (≈ -2.2%) significantly decreased, whereas body weight (≈ 1.2%), fat mass (≈ 7.2%), percent fat (≈ 9.2%), and waist/hip ratio (≈ 2.3%) significantly increased. For health related fitness factors, cardiopulmonary endurance (≈ -11%) significantly decreased, as well as strength (≈ -5%), muscle endurance (≈ -9%), and flexibility (≈ -11%) when compared prior to the COVID-19 period. These results indicate that the COVID-19 period had a negative effect on body composition and health fitness indices in male college students. Conclusion: Until a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed and distributed, it is important to prevent a decline in health related fitness due to physical inactivity.


COVID-19, Body composition, Health fitness, Cardiopulmonary endurance.

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