Physical Fitness Levels for Beginning Curlers

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 2 (Convention Center)
Alyssa Marie Steele, Britton T. Johnson and Justin Kraft, Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, MO
Background/Purpose: Curling typically has been thought of as a sport that requires minimal amounts of physical activity. However, this study hypothesized that beginning participants in the sport of curling would engage in light-to-moderate amounts of physical activity. Curling requires participants to throw a 42 pound stone down a 146-150 feet sheet of ice while pushing off the hack and delivering the stones at correct speeds to designated targets within the house. Other team members exert energy by sweeping the stone down to the house using brooms to melt pebbles (drops of frozen water)  to prevent stones from losing speed and/or from curling too quickly. It was hypothesized that these physical activity demands would moderately raise energy output of novice curling participants. 

The purpose of this study is to measure the energy expenditure (i.e., metabolic equivalents (METs)) and step counts (i.e., number of steps in one session) of beginning curlers in order to determine whether or not they achieved light-to-moderate levels of physical activity. 

Method: Twenty-four participants were chosen from Missouri Western State University’s beginning curling class and from the St. Joseph, (MO) Curling Club League.  Participants completed one curling session while wearing a pedometer at the ankle and an accelerometer at the waist.     

Analysis/Results: Participants performed the curling for an average of 86 ± 21 minutes. Results indicated an average MET value of 2.0 ± 0.6 METs and that participants completed 3051 ± 934 steps.

Conclusions: On average, participants engaged in light physical activity (light activity is defined as 2.0 -2.9 METs and moderate activity 3.0-5.9 METs (Garber) et al., 2011). One explanation why intensity (as expressed by average MET value) may have been classified as light is due to the intermittent nature of the activity in which active periods are interspersed with inactive periods. Thus curling may present opportunities for higher intensity intervals of physical activity. While intensity was light, curling did make a significant contribution toward meeting the daily recommendation of 10,000 steps per day accounting for approximately one-third of the recommendation.  Therefore, while beginning curlers may not sustain sufficient exercise intensities for the improvement of cardiovascular fitness, curling may offer a viable option for reducing sedentary behavior among novice players.   Future research may also consider examining activity levels of more advance curlers as activity levels may increase due to increases in sweeping accompanying greater skill level and competition.