Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

Advisor 1

Cassy Turner

First Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Second Committee Member

Daniel Young

Number of Pages



Background: College dancers have demonstrated low levels of cardiovascular endurance compared to other athletes, which could be one of the factors that leads to more fatigue and injuries during performance. The effects of an education session on cardiovascular endurance and on college dancers’ attitudes towards cardiovascular exercise outside of dance class have not been previously studied. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to use the accelerated three-minute step test to compare lower level and upper level college dancers’ cardiovascular endurance before and 2 months after an education session emphasizing fitness and exercise. Additionally, assessed were the dancers’ attitudes towards cardiovascular activities outside of dance class and the amount of physical activity that they performed. Subjects: There were 25 subjects, 2 male and 23 female dancers between the ages of 18-30 who were declared as a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Dance Major or had the intent to declare a BFA Dance Major. Methods: The subjects were divided into the lower level group and the upper level group based on the dance level into which the university dance program placed them. The subjects participated in the accelerated three-minute step test and were grouped into a cardiovascular fitness category based on their heart rate recovery (HRrecovery) ranging from 0 (excellent) to 6 (very poor). The results of the three-minute accelerated step test were presented during an education session along with guidelines to improve cardiovascular endurance. The subjects were retested using the accelerated three-minute step test two months after the education session. The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) questionnaire and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) were administered both before and after the education session. The pre- and post-education results were compared using a 2-way repeated measures ANOVA and post-hoc tests were performed. Results: From the originally recruited 38 subjects, 1 was unable to complete the initial step test and 12 others were unable to complete the second half of the study. A total of 25 dance majors were able to complete the entire study (7 lower level, 18 upper level). Of the initial 37 subjects who completed the step test, only 37.8% were in the recommended fitness categories for dancers of 0-2 (excellent to above average) and 62.2% were in fitness categories 3-6 (average to very poor). Two-factor repeated measures ANOVAs revealed a trend towards a significant interaction between dance level and HRrecovery (F(1)=3.338, P=0.081), and a main effect of time on HRrecovery with HRrecovery before the education session being 117.92± 19.28 bpm and HRrecovery after the education session being 109.64 ± 20.57 bpm (F(1)=4.540, P=0.044). Post hoc t-tests reported that the mean HRrecovery before the education session was similar between the lower level and upper level dancers, but that it was significantly lower for the upper level after the education session (P=0.040). There was no significant interaction of time on the IPAQ (F(1)=0.003, P=0.960), and there was no significant main effect of time (F(1)=0.224, P=0.641), or dance level (F(1)=0.069, P=0.795) on the IPAQ scores. For the TPB Questionnaire, there was a significant main effect of dance level on past behavior with the upper level dancers scoring higher than the lower level dancers (F(1)=5.750, P=0.025). There was no significant interaction of dance level on BMI (F(1)=0.385, P=0.541), but there was a significant main effect of time on BMI (F(1)=0.385, P=0.028). Discussion: At initial testing, almost two-thirds of the subjects had fitness levels that were below the recommendation, indicating that many university dancers have lower cardiovascular endurance and may benefit from increasing it. The subjects showed a statistically significant improvement in their cardiovascular endurance as indicated by their HRrecovery two months after an education session. Specifically, the upper level dancers showed more improvement in their cardiovascular endurance than the lower level dancers. A single education session may be an efficient way to increase college dancers’ cardiovascular endurance, but more research is needed to further evaluate the effects of an education session. Finally, this study continues to support the need for college dance majors to be educated regarding cardiovascular endurance.


Cardiovascular; Endurance; Fitness level; Education session; College dancer; Exercise; Aerobic; Class; Performance; Rehearsal; Heart rate recovery; Accelerated three-minute step test; Theory of planned behavior; International physical activity questionnaire


Physical Therapy

File Format


File Size

824 Kb

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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