What’s on URA activities

Principle of University Physical Education


Unit Name:
Research of College Physical Education
Unit representative:
Professor Hideki Takagi, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences

Unit members:
12 (12 faculty members, 0 postdoctoral fellows, none from other organizations)

Key words:
general education, physical education, curriculum


What is your impression of physical education classes at universities? Just to play sports, forced to exercise despite your unwillingness, with unfamiliar faces… The impression of physical education classes at universities varies among individuals. If an appropriate principle of university physical education is established and shared, it may create positive energy in Japan in the future. This research unit, named: Research of College Physical Education, has been engaged in research on the development of physical education curricula for general education programs, as well as methods to teach, evaluate courses, and quantitatively assess educational effects (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Conceptual Diagram of Research of College Physical Education

Figure 1: Conceptual Diagram of Research of College Physical Education

Clarifying the Relationship between Exercise and Studies

At the Sports and Physical Education Center, physical fitness measurement is performed yearly, and, up to the present, a huge amount of data has been accumulated. According to these data, university students’ physical fitness scores have decreased since the 1980’s (Figure 2). Furthermore, their physiques have been bipolarized: normal and thin/obese. The decrease in physical fitness is more marked in the latter group (Figure 3). In this research unit, studies are conducted to examine these data and correlations between physical fitness levels and academic achievements, based on the grade point average (GPA) calculated within the university. The data suggest that the credit acquisition rate may be lower in those who have gained or lost body weight after admission and higher in those who have maintained their physiques, with a favorable class attendance rate. If so, the influence of physical activities on the brain or studies may also be clarified. In other words, the data indicate not only an association between the physique and physical fitness level, but also the possibility of students’ motivation depending on the physique and physical activities. Being appropriately motivated through physical education classes, even those lacking motivation may become able to lead a productive university life, in addition to enjoying such classes.

Figure 2: Variations in Physical Fitness Scores

Figure 2: Variations in Physical Fitness Scores

Figure 3: Physical Fitness in Each Age Group Based on the Physique

Figure 3: Physical Fitness in Each Age Group Based on the Physique

Physical Education at the University of Tsukuba as a Higher Education Institution

Therefore, it is necessary to clarify the details of physical activities (physical education classes) motivating students to learn, and logically show the positive effects of participating in such activities. As approaches for the improvement of physical education classes at universities, we are planning to establish an appropriate principle and develop new systems to train physical education teachers working in institutions for higher education, such as universities, and establish doctoral courses for such teachers. Through physical education, we aim to empower universities throughout Japan, help people maintain active lives after graduation, and nurture manpower to create positive energy for Japan’s future.

Social contributions and achievements
●Clarifying the needs of the present age and society to provide innovative approaches for the development and promotion of lifelong sports
●Contributing to the promotion of sports in communities by opening 13 in- and 17 outdoor athletic fields and gymnasiums to the public

(Interviewed on October 11, 2013)

Research Administration/Management Office at U Tsukuba TEL 029-853-4434