Riebe, Deborah

Advisor Department





VO2max; heart rate; steps; fitness; marching band; Suunto

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Purpose: Regular physical activity is essential in preventing many chronic diseases and conditions including heart disease, obesity, type two diabetes and some forms of cancer. The majority of the population does not meet recommended guidelines for daily physical activity. Barriers to participation in regular physical activity include boredom and a lack of enjoyment for traditional exercises such as running. Novel forms of exercise that improve cardiorespiratory fitness and increase the number people meeting recommended guidelines has the potential to promote good health and prevent chronic disease. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to measure the effects of participating in marching band on cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition and to quantify the amount of physical activity accomplished during a typical marching band practice session. A secondary purpose was to compare these variables between different sections of the band (woodwinds/brass and drumline).

Methods: Twenty-one members (14 males, 7 females) of the University of Rhode Island Marching Band (age 20.2 ± 2.97 yr) were recruited for this study. Body composition and VO2max were measured before and after participation in the marching band season. Each subject wore a pedometer and a Suunto heart rate monitor belt during three to five practices to measure the number of steps taken and to determine the amount of time spent participating light-, moderate- and vigorous-intensity training during routine practices.

Results: There was a significant change from pre- to post-season in VO2max (38.5 ± 9.23 vs 40.8 ± 8.5 ml∙kg-1∙min-1; p<0.05) but not in body composition (24.8 ± 12.1 % vs 25.8 ± 10.1%). The average number of steps taken during practices was 2930.1 ± 1075.8 steps. During practice, subjects were engaged in moderate-intensity physical activity for 12.4 ± 6.4 min and vigorous-intensity for 6.37 ± 6.8 min. In total, subjects were active 29.7 ± 14.9 min (light- plus moderate- plus vigorous-intensity). Although the drumline took more steps during practice compared to the woodwinds/brass (3485.1 ± 766.7 vs 2513.9 ± 1111.6 steps, p<0.05), the woodwinds/brass section had a greater change (p<0.05) in VO2max (3.6 ± 2.4 ml∙kg-1∙min-1) compared to the drumline (0.39 ± 2.6 ml∙kg-1∙min-1).

Conclusions: Participation in marching band resulted in a significant improvement in the cardiorespiratory fitness of the marching band members. Although marching band practice did not meet national exercise guidelines, the amount of time spent in moderate- and vigorous- intensity exercise and/or the number of steps taken during practice contributed to the overall volume of daily physical activity.

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