Descriptive statistics are critical because they summarize data by indicating the extent of dispersion and the degree of concentration. According to Holcomb (2016), descriptive statistics form the basis of data analysis and interpretation since they indicate the behavior of data in terms of patterns and trends of variations. Primarily, descriptive statistics comprise measures of central tendency, namely, mean, mode, and median, and measures of dispersion, viz. standard deviation, variance, and range. In this report of analyzing health data, descriptive statistics were used to calculate measures of central tendency and dispersion in the daily duration of physical activity for one week.
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Descriptive statistics (Table 1) indicate that physical activity for one week had a mean of 45.43 minutes, a median of 36 minutes, a standard deviation of 33.54 minutes, and a variance of 1124.95 squared-minutes. Comparative analysis indicates that gym had a higher and more dispersed duration of physical activity (M = 74.67, SD = 31.56) than walking (M = 23.5, SD = 9.47). Similarly, the median and variance (Mode = 59, Variance = 1124.95) of the duration of gym were higher than those of walking (Median = 22.5, Variance = 89.67)
Table 1. Descriptive Statistics of the Duration of Exercise.
|Statistics||Walking (Minutes)||Gym (Minutes)||All Physical Activities (Minutes)|
The examination of the nature and the distribution of the duration of physical activity shows that the mean offers the most appropriate description. Holcomb (2016) asserts that the mean is the best measure when a variable exists on a continuous scale, the data follows the normal distribution, and the distribution has insignificant outliers. The duration of physical activity in minutes is on a continuous scale that permits numerical analysis. The distribution of the duration physical activity depicts the normal distribution in walking, gym, and all types of exercise. A critical examination of the distribution shows that the data lacks significant outliers because most values fall within one standard deviation and all occur within two standard deviations from the mean in walking, gym, and all types of exercises.
Descriptive statistics reveal that the duration of physical activity exhibited a high level of dispersion. All physical exercises performed in a week had a standard deviation of 33.54 minutes and variance of 1124.95 squared-minutes. These findings imply that the distribution of the duration of physical activity ranged from 11.89-78.97 minutes within one standard deviation. Comparatively, the duration of physical activity of gym (SD = 31.56, Variance = 996.33) had a higher level of dispersion than walking (SD = 9.47, Variance = 89.67). The duration of physical activity of gym ranged from 43.11-106.23 minutes, while that of walking ranged from 14.03-32.97 minutes based on the standard deviation.
The duration of physical activity in walking, gym, or a combination of the two meets the recommended level. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends adults aged between 18 and 65 years to perform a moderate-intensity exercise for 75-150 minutes or a vigorous-intensity exercise for 150-300 minutes every week (Piercy et al., 2018). Moreover, a combination of moderate and vigorous exercise provides aerobic and muscle-strengthening benefits. With the daily means of 23.5, 74.67, and 45.43 minutes in walking, gym, and combined exercises, respectively, the duration of physical activity surpasses the threshold of 150 minutes per week.
Holcomb, Z. C. (2016). Fundamentals of Descriptive Statistics. Los Angeles, CA: Taylor and Francis.
Piercy, K. L., Troiano, R. P., Ballard, R. M., Carlson, S. A., Fulton, J. E., Galuska, D. A., … Olson, R. D. (2018). The physical activity guidelines for Americans. Journal of the American Medical Association, 320(19), 2020-2028. Web.