D.D.A. Salle1, R.U. Newton1, D.P. Heil, FACSM2

1Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia; 2Montana State University, Bozeman, MT USA

The continued rise in obesity rates throughout Southeast Asia are known to be disproportionately driven by rates for women. PURPOSE: Taking advantage of the regional popularity of walking football, this study sought to characterize the metabolic intensity of Southeast Asian women competing in walking football matches to determine the sports’ suitability as a physical activity for promoting physical health and lowering disease risk. It was hypothesized that metabolic intensity (i.e., metabolic equivalents, or METs) would meet or exceed established thresholds for improving physical health and disease risk (≥3.0 METs). METHODS: Women’s teams from Singapore (Mean±SD: 42±11 yrs age; 29.2±7.0 kg/m2BMI; n=14) and Malaysia (40±10 yrs age; 32.9±5.7 kg/m2BMI; n=8) competed in two matches within a single day using an outdoor regulation mid-sized field (40 m x 23 m) in Singapore during hot and humid ambient conditions (82-87° F; 87-90%). Data were recorded with portable handheld global positioning satellites (GPS) devices that were worn by each player within a neoprene waist pack. The GPS data were later downloaded and converted to walking distance and speed using standard transformations, and then into METs using a regression formula to predict METs from overground walking speed. Additionally, the GPS data were also used to derive total walking distance during each match (DIST, km), as well as the amount of time spent at ≥3.0 METs during each match (TIME, mins). A one-sample t-test was used to compare mean predicted METs to the 3.0 MET threshold, and two-sample t-tests were used to compare DIST and TIME variables between teams for each match (α=0.05). RESULTS: Both Malaysian and Singaporean teams maintained an average metabolic intensity that was statistically similar to the 3.0 MET threshold - 3.2±0.9 METs (P=0.0510) vs 3.3±1.0 METs (P=0.288), respectively. Players walked an average of 2.2-2.4 kms/match, while the Malaysian teams spent 17-18 mins/match above 3.0 METs vs 10-11 mins/match for the Singaporeans. CONCLUSION: The results of this study support the idea that the physiological demands of competitive walking football are sufficient to promote positive changes in metabolic fitness with this population of Southeast Asian women when performed regularly.

Support provided by Edith Cowan University to the lead author.

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