Date of Award


Degree Name

Exercise Science


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Terry Shepherd

Second Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the industrialized nations, and accounts for 1 million deaths in the United States each year (McArdle, Katch & Katch, 1991). One of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease is physical inactivity, which is a behavioral modified risk factor. Physical inactivity plagues 59% of the people in the United States (ACSM Resource Manual, 1998). Physical inactivity often leads to obesity, diabetes, hypertension and hypercholemia, and places sedentary individuals at more risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), or coronary heart disease (CHD). The question which remains unclear is the quantity and quality of physical activity needed to acquire a health related quality of life and physical fitness.

Exercise and/or physical activity has been divided into two categories, depending on the goal of the individual. The quality of leisure time physical activity is most often assessed by energy expenditure, where as the second category, cardiorespiratory fitness, is measured by the cardiovascular and metabolic adaptations to the intensity, frequency and duration of the exercise. Both leisure time physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness are inversely related to CHD (Berlin & Colditz, 1990; Powell, Thompson, Caspersen & Kendrick, 1987). Leisure time physical activity may reduce the chance for chronic disease and improve metabolic function; nonetheless, it may not improve cardiovascular fitness. It is important to 2 note that cardiorespiratory fit men, in a study by Hein, Suadicani and Gumtelberg (1992), had a 67% and 78% lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in comparison to the unfit.


Exercise – Physiological aspects.

Cardiovascular system – Exercise.

Metabolism – Exercise.