The purpose of the study was to investigate the general perceptions on health fitness and the actual fitness levels of the university students. 194 students (73 M & 121 F) were subjects in the study. They were enrolled in conditioning and fitness classes during the first semester of 1996-97 at Hong Kong Baptist University. Subjects’ perceptions on health fitness were collected through questionnaire designed by the researcher. The fitness assessment included Step Test for the cardiorespiratory endurance, Grip Test for the forearm strength, Sit-Up Test for the abdominal muscular strength and endurance, Sit and Reach Test for the hamstrings and lower back flexibility, and Skinfold Measurement for the percent body fat.
In the paper and pencil measurement, it was found that 97.26% males and 98.35% females agreed that physical fitness is important to a healthy life. However, only 54.79% males and 32.23% females were committed to regular physical activity, in which, most of them could only take part in the activity once a week. For the non-regular exercise group, the lack of time was the most popular excuse for them for not doing exercise. Among the five components of health fitness, the subjects ranked cardiorespiratory endurance the most important.
In fitness assessment, the overall fitness levels for both male and female students ranged from poor to average, when compared with the fitness norms established for similar population in the United States of America. If we agree that physical fitness is an important component to a healthy and quality life, we should support the whole person education philosophy in higher education. Education program should emphasize not only on intellectual but also on social, spiritual, and physical development as well.