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

  • Nxumalo S
  • Semple S
  • Longhurst G
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Abstract

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 push-ups (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.

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Nxumalo, S. A., Semple, S. J., & Longhurst, G. K. (2015). Effects of Zulu stick fighting on health-related physical fitness of prepubescent Zulu males. African Journal for Physical (Vol. 21, pp. 32–45).

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