Comparison of Body Composition Parameters
in Swimmers and Non Swimmers:
A Cross-sectional Study
Dr. Reena Alexander,
Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, Sree Narayana Institute of Medical
Sciences, Chalakka, Ernakulam-683594, Kerala, India.
Introduction: Swimming is an inexpensive isotonic exercise that is useful for health promotion and prevention of disease. While studies based on body composition and swimming in India are few, the analysis of body composition parameters can provide accurate body assessment and serve as an ideal mode for fitness analysis and promotion of health.
Aim: To assess the body composition, anthropometric and cardiac parameters of healthy swimmers and compare these variables with that of healthy non swimmers.
Materials and Methods: A comparative cross-sectional study was conducted in the Department of Physiology, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India. Duration of study was from January 2017 to January 2018. A total 60 healthy individuals, 30 swimmers and 30 non swimmers were selected by simple random sampling method. Body composition parameters were estimated along with anthropometric measurements and cardiac parameters- height, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), pulse rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Quantitative variables like body composition parameters were analysed using mean standard deviation and 95% confidential interval. Comparison of body composition parameters were analysed using independent t-test and significant level was kept at 5%.
Results: The mean age of swimmers was 19.93Â±1.59 years and that of non swimmer subjects was 22.87Â±1.88 years. Body composition parameters included Body Fat Percentage (BFP p-value <0.001), Fat Mass (FM p-value <0.001) and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR p-value <0.001) were found to be significantly decreased (p-value <0.05) in swimmers when compared to non swimmers. However, the Fat Free Mass (FFM p-value=0.13) and Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI p-value=0.22) were also decreased but comparable (p-value >0.05). Weight and BMI along with pulse, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure (p-value <0.001) were lower in swimmers than non swimmers and statistically significant (p-value <0.05) by independent t-test.
Conclusion: The results indicated that, swimming can improve body composition parameters to a more healthy state and therefore can be advised as a form of regular physical activity with a goal to achieve ideal health and fitness.