Revista PODIUM, September-December 2019; 14(3): 463-477


Translated from the original in spanish


Diagnosis of the practice of physical exercise in the Guanabacoa municipality


Diagnóstico de la práctica de ejercicio físico en el municipio Guanabacoa


Claudia Rodríguez Almeida,1 Jorge de Lázaro Coll Costa,1 Ardy Rafael Rodríguez García,1 Yamila Fernández Nieves,1 Yolanda Valdés Andrés1


1Universidad de Ciencias de la Cultura Física y el Deporte “Manuel Fajardo”. Universidad de Ciencias de la Cultura Física y el Deporte "Manuel Fajardo", La Habana, Cuba. Correo electrónico: ; ; ; yam@inder.cuv ;

Received: April 7th 2019.
Approved: September 5
th, 2019.


In today's world, people perform physical exercises as a way to improve their health status, physical condition, image, constructive use of leisure and quality of life. Different studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of physical exercise in the body, also refer to the importance of dosing them to avoid injuries and diseases in practitioners. This becomes one of the vital steps when we are going to practice them, because from there we mark the goal that we pursue and according to the dosage that we apply, the results will be. The objective of this research was to diagnose the current state of the practice of physical exercise in the Guanabacoa municipality. The type of study used was not experimental-descriptive. The methods used were among the theorists, the analytical-synthetic; within the empirical surveys and documentary analysis and as statistical-mathematical, descriptive statistics. The results reveal the need for trained specialists to direct the practice of physical exercises in the municipality of Guanabacoa. The lack of knowledge on the part of the specialists in the dosage and planning of the physical exercises is checked.

Key words: dosage; Planning; physical exercises.


En el mundo actual, las personas realizan ejercicios físicos como vía para mejorar su estado de salud, condición física, imagen, utilización constructiva del ocio y calidad de vida. Diferentes son los estudios que demuestran la efectividad del ejercicio físico en el organismo, también hacen referencia a la importancia de la dosificación de los mismos para evitar lesiones y enfermedades en los practicantes. Esto se convierte en uno de los pasos vitales cuando vamos a practicarlos, pues a partir de ahí marcamos la meta que perseguimos y según la dosificación, que apliquemos, serán los resultados. El objetivo de esta investigación fue diagnosticar el estado actual de la práctica de ejercicio físico en el municipio Guanabacoa. El tipo de estudio empleado fue no experimental-descriptivo. Los métodos utilizados fueron entre los teóricos, el analítico-sintético; dentro de los empíricos la encuesta y el análisis documental y como estadístico-matemático, la estadística descriptiva. Los resultados revelan la necesidad de que especialistas capacitados dirijan la práctica de ejercicios físicos en el municipio Guanabacoa. Se comprueba el desconocimiento por parte de los especialistas, en la dosificación y planificación de los ejercicios físicos.

Palabras clave: dosificación; planificación; ejercicios físicos.


The practice of physical exercise, in today's world, has reached a considerable social demand due to people's interest in improving their state of health, their physical condition, image, constructive use of leisure and quality of life.

This growth is evidenced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in a worldwide survey carried out in 2010, where only 23 % of adults aged 18 or over were not sufficiently active (20 % of men and 27 % of women). In high-income countries, 26 % of men and 35 % of women did not get enough physical exercise, compared to 12 % of men and 24 % of women in low-income countries. WHO, 2010.  Physical inactivity is one of the main risk factors for mortality worldwide. According to WHO, people who do not get enough physical exercise present a risk 20-30 % higher than those who are active enough, aggravating the burden of non-communicable disease and affecting the general health status of the population. This is partly due to inaction during leisure time, sedentary work and home, as well as the use of "passive" modes of transport OMS (2010).

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (2000), the practice decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and different types of cancer (such as breast cancer and colon cancer). It also reduces the risk of premature death, stress, anxiety and depression. It contributes to weight control, decreased risk of obesity and sedentary lifestyles.

Romero (2003) states that,

"(...) for physical exercises to produce beneficial effects on health, it is necessary to participate in a regular program of systematic physical exercise, which is adapted and dosed to the functional capacities and physical conditions of each person".

In this sense, the authors agree with what has been said and advocates that physical exercises must be correctly selected, prescribed and dosed in order to produce beneficial and positive effects on practitioners.

At the 66th World Health Assembly in 2013, a series of voluntary global targets were agreed, including a 25% reduction in premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and a 10 % reduction in physical inactivity by 2025 WHO (2013).

Physical activity is implemented from the first years of a child's life, through Physical Education, a school discipline that is fundamental for the child's development because of its beneficial effects on health; educational actions are necessary to consolidate these habits, which usually end with the life of a student. Then, the practice of physical activity is left to the decision of each person.

The municipality of Guanabacoa, with a population of 119354, according to the 2015 census, has three combined sports facilities, two bio-healthy gymnasiums, a state gymnasium and fifteen individuals, which are the ones that attract the most people. However, those in charge of its application do not have the skills required to serve these clients and it is not known how they prescribe and dose these activities, as well as the form of planning and control.

The objective of this research is to diagnose the current state of physical exercise practice in the municipality of Guanabacoa.



A descriptive cross-sectional, non-experimental research was conducted, Estévez, Arroyo and González (2004). It was carried out during three months, from January 2018 to April 2018. The study pays tribute to the research project "Physical activity in the prevention of non-communicable diseases for healthy aging" of the Study Center for Physical Activity, Sport and Health Promotion.


The population used for the research was 138 randomly chosen systematic physical exercise practitioners; of these, 66 were female, for 47.8 % and 72 male, for 52.2 %. The ages ranged from 14 to 65 years old, 36.9 % are university students, making it the most representative.

Of 138 practitioners, 79 for 57 % belonged to three private gyms and the rest, 59 for 42 %, to other sports areas. In the sample, the existence of different diseases was evidenced, among which asthma and arterial hypertension stand out, which affects a considerable number of practitioners, representing 27.53 %. (Chart 1)


Chart 1. - Characteristics of the sample


For the selection of theoretical and empirical methods, the criteria proposed by Kuprian (1978), cited by Estévez, Arroyo and González (2004), where they coincide in which scientific method is the ordered chain of steps or actions, based on a determined conceptual apparatus and on rules that allow advancing in the process of knowledge from the known to the unknown.

Theoretical methods

Analytical-synthetic: it was applied, from the knowledge of the subject being researched and an analysis was made of the elements that make up this process to determine its characteristics and through synthesis, integrate the most important elements. In the present research, an analysis was made of the main elements that distinguish the role of dosage within the practice of physical exercise.

Inductive-deductive: it was used to infer the objective and, on the basis of logic, to deduce and infer to derive answers that explain the phenomenon being studied and to systematize its contents from induction to deduction, combining reasoning from the particular to the general.

Empirical methods

Documentary analysis: this was used to assess how physical activity was currently carried out and what methods were used, as well as to determine if these practices had an evaluation and control system according to the population that practiced it.

The official documents analyzed for our investigation were:

The book "System of Physical Capacities: Theoretical, Methodological and Scientific Foundations that characterize its development in man" allows us to know how to work correctly the physical capacities for the development of the same ones, in addition, in an explicit way, it approaches each one of them. This provides, from a scientific perspective, information necessary to corroborate, from the criteria that are issued, with the reality it faces.

The Physical Activity Evaluation Manual of the Department of Health and Public Assistance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a document that provided important elements related to evaluation and its methodology for determining the effectiveness of programs.

The global recommendations on physical activity for health, in 2010, contextualizes the practice of physical exercise, according to the ages of people, allowing to identify the characteristics of physical activities, according to different age groups. It provides the specialist with detailed information for the application of physical activity, according to the ages and their characteristics for the correct dosage of the same.

Survey: it was made with open and closed questions, previously elaborated to be able to precise important elements about the use of the physical exercise in systematic practitioners, of the municipality Guanabacoa. (Annex 1.)


A questionnaire was applied in order to diagnose the current status of physical activity practitioners in the municipality of Guanabacoa, know the level of participation in activities, how long a training session lasts, whether they do it dosed and under medical supervision or subscription.

In addition, it is investigated about the knowledge of the practitioners related to the negative effects that can cause to their organism an incorrect accomplishment and distribution of the exercises; on the other hand, it is necessary the combination or not of the physical practice with some other element to obtain better results. It also investigates the existence of a record to monitor heart rate and anthropometric measurements. Other aspects included in the applied instrument are: they have suffered injuries due to training, they have noticed positive changes in their health, the area where the activity takes place, there are specialists who guide them, at no cost, and who dose the activity, among others.

Mathematical-statistical methods

The descriptive statistic was applied for the measurement scales; it has a nominal qualitative character and the table of frequency distribution was used, Estévez, Arroyo and González (2004).



The results represented in figure 1 show a greater participation of the male sex, in addition, it is appreciated, in more than 50 %, the schooling between middle and higher level. This element is important since practitioners could understand elements as significant as the dosage of physical exercise and how risky it would be to carry out a training plan without the guidance of a specialist.

In relation to the time spent practicing physical exercises, 5.8 % refer to several days, 34.05% refer to months and 60.15 % to years. 35% do it three times a week, 25 % daily and 40 % six times a week. The duration of the session ranged from 30 minutes to two hours. These results coincide with studies carried out by the American College of Sports Medicine (2000) and recommends a frequency of practice between three and five days per week, for 45 minutes. (Figure 1)

Fig. 1 - Availability to practice physical exercises

Another aspect picked up in the survey was if they performed stretching, warming up and control of the session. The results showed that only 5% carried out the three activities and the rest carried out, indistinctly, two of the three options, findings also found in the researches of Casimiro (2001), Tercedor (2001) and Ros (2007).

100% of those surveyed stated that they did not always carry out the same activities and they all combine physical exercise with diet or supplements. In addition, 21% do not keep track of their body composition, so they do not know, through these measurements, if the purposes pursued with the practice of physical exercise are being fulfilled.

More than 60% of the sample analyzed fundamentally refers to physical exercises and combines different types of training (aerobic, strength, balance and flexibility) to improve their aesthetics, an element related to the researches found by Araujo (1996), Agre, Pierce, Raab, McAdams, and Smith (1988), Akima, Takahashi, Kuno, Masuda, Shimojo, Anno, Itai and Katsuta (1999) and De Labra, Guimaraes-Pinheiro, Maseda, Lorenzo and Millán-Calenti (2015). 27.6 % suffer from diseases, asthma is the most common among practitioners, as in the studies of Lioi (2012) and Adams, Barnard, Swank, Mann, Kushnick and Denny (1999), Pluim, Zwinderman, Van Der Laarse and Van Der Wall (2000), López and López (2004), Williams, Haskell, Ades, Amsterdam, Bittner, Franklin, et al., (2007), Boraita (2008), Prior and La Gerche (2012) and Seron, Lanas, Pardo and Bonfill (2014). Studies by (Etnier, Shih, and Piepmeier, 2015) explain that physical exercise, along with cognitive training and eating a diet without excess, is a great plan for disease prevention and fundamental for stopping cognitive decline.

In this case, the need to control physical activity at all times is appreciated, but it becomes more necessary in people suffering from non-transmissible diseases. The results of this question are an alert to the authorities responsible for controlling this type of activity.

Fig. 2 - Conditions for carrying out physical exercises

The conditions for performing physical exercises are provided in figure 2 and are based on the fact that, when a person decides to start doing physical exercise, the first requirement that must be taken into account is the completion of a complete medical checkup, and then be analyzed by a specialist, and that this decides what type of physical exercise is recommended for the practitioner, however, the results of the questionnaire show that 65.21 % do not perform this procedure, while the other 34.79% do. (Figure 2)

Taking into account the negative effects that a bad dosage of physical exercise can cause, a sample of 79 % have basic knowledge in this regard, while the other 21% carry out the exercises without any awareness of what this may cause them.

To know which are the physical capacities, how to work them and the effects that produce in the human organism its development, are of vital importance at the time of realizing physical exercises, which are punctual aspects at the time of prescribing the physical loads, as well they describe in their studies, Martin, Carl & Lehnertz (2007); De Melo, Menec and Ready (2014); Mancillas, Ramos and Morales (2016), Collazo, Brosco da Cruz and Maia (2017), Noradechanunta, Worsley and Groellera (2017), Patil, Patil, Aithala, and Das (2017), Rathi (2017) and Wieland, Skoetz, Pilkington, Vempati, D'Adamo and Berman (2017). 56.53 % of practitioners do not know them and 43.47 % at least say that they have heard of this subject.

Fig. 3 - Key aspects to guide physical exercise

Elaborating a training plan is a very complex task; in this sense, in figure 3, the main results are presented on the key aspects to guide physical exercise, where 49.28 % of practitioners say they know how to do it, while the remaining 50.72 % say they do not. Then a question arises: Will these practitioners really know all the aspects to be taken into account so that a plan is adapted to their organism and achieves the objectives they propose? (Figure 3)

The physical exercises must be oriented, dosed and controlled by qualified personnel, whether they are doctors, trainers, graduates in Physical Culture. In this sense, Lehnertz, Carl, and Martin (2007), Bergamin, Gobbo, Bullo, Zanotto, Vendramin, Duregon and Ermolao (2015), Bullo, Bergamin, Gobbo, Sieverdes, Zaccaria, Neunhaeuser and Ermolao (2015), Pérez-de la Cruz, Luengo, and Lambeck (2015), Campos de Oliveira, GonÇalves de Oliveira and Aparecida de Almeida (2015), Cancela and Rodríguez-Fuentes (2016), Collazo, Brosco da Cruz and Maia (2017) express the need and importance of individualizing training planning, according to the system of physical capabilities to be developed. However, 57.25 % of the practitioners surveyed dose the activity themselves, 32.61 % by a trainer and the remaining 10.14 % is advised by medical personnel. In this sense, the practice of regular physical activity, properly prescribed, constitutes one of the important lifestyle factors for maintaining health (Santos, Oliveira, Barbosa, Nunes and Brazil, 2015).

Without proper compliance with all the aspects mentioned above, injuries can occur; this is represented by 27.54 % of the practitioners surveyed, while the remaining 72.46% argue that they are not, although not exempt from being able to happen to them, if they do not follow the indispensable requirements to avoid such injuries.

When we asked practitioners whether they take into account how their heart rate behaves in training, 85.5 % answered that they do not control this procedure; the remaining 14.5% measure it at least at some point during their training session. It should be borne in mind that, depending on our anthropometric measurements and the objectives proposed, the heart rate should be worked in a certain range and measured before, during and at the end of the training.

For all the aspects mentioned above, 85.5 % of practitioners infer that they need trained specialists in their sports areas to advise them when doing physical exercises, while 14.46% argue that it is not necessary; it is worth mentioning that this is because they are athletes, graduates in Physical Culture or sports coaches.

The bibliographic search corroborated that when it comes to criteria on the importance of the practice of physical exercise, diverse authors are the ones that think about it, such as Adams, Barnard, Swank, Mann, Kushnick and Denny (1999), Pluim, Zwinderman, Van Der Laarse and Van Der Wall (2000), López and López (2004), Williams, Haskell, Ades, Amsterdam, Bittner, Franklin, et al, (2007), Boraita (2008), Prior and La Gerche (2012), WHO (2010) and (2013) Noradechanunta, Worsley and Groellera (2017), Patil, Patil, Aithala, and Das (2017), Rathi, (2017) and Wieland, Skoetz, Pilkington, Vempati, D'Adamo and Berman (2017) stating different benefits and highlighting that it reduces the risk of the three main causes of death: heart disease, stroke and cancer, provided that physical activity is properly prescribed.

The diagnosis revealed the need for trained specialists to work with systematic practitioners in the municipality of Guanabacoa. In addition, there is a lack of knowledge in the dosage and planning of physical exercises.

Annex 1. Questionnaire

Dear colleague:

This questionnaire is carried out by the University of Sciences of Physical Culture and Sport "Manuel Fajardo". It deals with the practice of physical activity in the population of the municipality of Guanabacoa.

The questions will be easy to answer so they will not take long and their answers totally anonymous, also very valuable for the success of this research.

Thank you for your collaboration.

Age_____   Sex_____ Place where thw survey was carried out _____________________

Level of schooling: University graduate __ Pre-Universitary __ Medium Technician __ High school __ Primary school__

  1. Do you suffer from any kind of illness?  Yes____ No____ If you suffer, select with an (x) which one:   hypertension ___Diabetes ___ Heart disease ___ Obesity___ Arthrosis ___ Circulatory Problems ___ Athma __ Others ___
  1. Before beginning physical activity, did you have a medical check-up?

YES___ NO___

  1. How long have you been physically active?

Days ___ Months ____ Years ___

  1. How often do you do physical activity every week?

1 day 2 days 3 days 4 days 5 days 6 days 7 days

  1. What objective do you pursue with this practice?

To improve aesthetics__ To improve health ____ To gain weight__ To lose weight__ Others__

  1. How long does a training session last?

Minutes ____Hours ____

  1. Do you know how to elaborate a training plan?

YES___ NO ___

  1. Who gives you the dosage of physical activity?
    1. Yourself__ A Trainer__ A Specialist__ A Specialist__
  1. Are you aware of the negative effects that an inadequate dosage of physical activity can have on your body? SI___ NO___
  1. Do you or your trainer keep any records of your body composition and anthropometric measurements? (Size, weight, circumference of each muscle, % of body fat)

YES__ NO__ Sometimes__

  1. Do you know what physical abilities are?


  1. What physical capabilities do you work with?

Strength ___ Resistance ___ Speed ___ Coordinating skills _____All

  1. During your training session you perform:

Warm-up __ Stretchings __ Activity Control __

  1. When you exercise, do you always do the same activities?

YES___ NO___

  1. What do you combine physical activity with to achieve better results?

Balanced diet___ Supplements___ Both__ Other__

  1. Do you measure your heart rate when you are physically active?

YES__ NO__

  1. At what point in the training do you measure your heart rate?

Before__ During___ At the end___ In all three moments__

  1. Have you suffered an injury as a result of physical activity?

ES__ NO__

  1. Do you think there have been positive changes in your health after exercising?

YES____ No ____

  1. Do you think you are achieving the goals you set for yourself with the dosage you give to your physical activity?    YES___ NO___
  1. Does the sports area you attend have a specialist who monitors and doses physical activity?

YES__ NO__

  1. Would you like the area to have physical activity specialists you can contact for guidance?

YES___ NO___ I don't think it's necessary___



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Copyright (c) 2019 Claudia Rodríguez Almeida, Jorge de Lázaro Coll Costa, Ardy Rafael Rodríguez García,Yamila Fernández Nieves, Yolanda Valdés Andrés