Background:The continuous declination of physical fitness has reached a high level of concern. This study aimed to examine the impact of different levels of physical activity on
physical fitness in Chinese college students by gender.
Methods: 4,710 undergraduates in one university (2298 females, 2412 males) voluntarily participated in this study. Students’ weekly minutes spent in moderate and vigorous aerobic PA
were assessed by completing International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). The students’ physical fitness was assessed by trained evaluators using the National Students Physical Fitness
Assessment Kit during regular physical education classes. The assessment included body height, body weight, lung capacity, standing long jump, and sit-and-reach. Data were analyzed by means of
descriptive statistics, ANOVA methods.
Results:Descriptive statistics indicated that 58.7% of students participated in ≤ 90 min. weekly (Low level of PA (LPA)), 35.3% of students spent > 90 min <150 min. in MPA, and 6.4%
of students spent ≥150 min. in VPA. The results of ANOVA revealed significant differences among three levels of PA in male and female cardio-pulmonary function (F = 7.64, p < .01; F = 7.46, p < .01),
flexibility (F = 4.71, p< .01; F = 7.2, p < .01), and lower limb strength (F = 16.95, p < .01; F = 13.5, p < .01). The BMI was significantly different among three levels of PA for female students (F =
16.72, p < .01), but not for male students. Furthermore, no significant difference was found between MPA and VPA in cardio-pulmonary function for males and females. Males showed no significant
difference in flexibility between LPA and VPA, while females showed no significant difference in flexibility between MPA and VPA. Regarding lower limb strength, no significant difference was found in
males between MPA and VPA and in females between LPA and VPA.
Conclusions:Both male and female students who were in MPA and VPA groups significantly outperformed than their counterparts who were in LPA group in cardiovascular endurance,
flexibility, and lower-limb strength, but in BMI. However, gender differences in specific fitness between specific levels of PA were found in this study.