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Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte

Print version ISSN 1517-8692On-line version ISSN 1806-9940


ARAUJO, Denise Sardinha Mendes Soares de  and  ARAUJO, Claudio Gil Soares de. Bodily self-perception of health-related physical fitness variables. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2002, vol.8, n.2, pp.37-49. ISSN 1517-8692.

BACKGROUND: Physical fitness has two dimensions, one related to health and the other, to performance. However, it is still unknown if non-athlete adults present an appropriate level of self-perception (SP) about their health-related physical fitness. OBJECTIVES: a) to assess the SP of non-athlete subjects in some morphofunctional variables related to physical fitness; b) to check if the degree of SP correctness is related to those variables; and c) to check if those with higher SP levels are more physically fit. METHODS: SP data from 63 adults (51 men), ages ranging from 22 to 85, were measured and assessed regarding the following variables: maximum VO2, flexibility, handgrip, absolute and relative maximal muscular power, largest fat deposition site and reference body weight, ability to sit and stand up from the floor and weight/height ratio, and height and body weight. The influence of variable magnitude on the SP score (sum total of correct answers in the 12 variables assessed) was tested by comparison between the first and fifth quintiles and by correlation. RESULTS: On the average, subjects more often provided wrong answers for the SP 60 vs 40%. SP was more incorrect regarding flexibility 84% of mistakes and more precise as to the ability to stand up from the floor 66% of correct answers. SP score was higher for more flexible subjects (p = 0.01) and for those that showed higher values of grip strength (p = 0.04) and those who achieved a higher % of predicted maximal VO2 (p = 0,08) tended to present a higher SP. Physical inactivity was almost three times more common for those with lower SP. The 20% with higher SP levels tended to present higher values in the physical fitness variables (p between 0.03 and 0.11). On the other hand, when the authors compared subjects with levels above the average for aerobic condition, flexibility and muscle strength and power with those with values below average in the four variables, there was no differences in SP. CONCLUSIONS: The overall level of SP of health-related physical fitness is low, being related to levels of flexibility, grip strength, and by past and current physical activity pattern. Subjects with higher SP tended to be more physically fit. It is possible that higher awareness about physical fitness levels will induce positive behaviors leading to the adoption of a more active lifestyle.

Keywords : Physical fitness; Physical activity; Exercise; Self-perception; Flexibility; Aerobic condition.

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