Women’s Exercise Study in the School of Kinesiology

November 24, 2014

Kinesiology Ph.D student Lorena Salom (left) and Dr. Danielle Wadsworth in the lab space used for the women’s exercise study.
Kinesiology Ph.D student Lorena Salom (left) and Dr. Danielle Wadsworth in the lab space used for the women’s exercise study.

Professors and graduate students in the School of Kinesiology are concluding a 12-week women’s exercise study in the new Kinesiology Building.  The study involves women, ages 40 – 64, who were recruited to participate in concurrent training three days a week for one hour per session. Concurrent training means they are combining high-intensity interval aerobic training with resistance, or weight, training.

Kinesiology doctoral student Lorena Salom, who helps Associate Professor Dr. Danielle Wadsworth run the program, said the study combines outreach and research.

“When the volunteers begin the program, we measure their maximum oxygen consumption, perform a DEXA scan (x-ray determination of body composition fat and muscle percentage, and bone density) and determine their muscular strength of various muscle groups while performing various weight resistive exercises,” she said. “We then go through a 12-week exercise regimen and measure these same components at the end of the period. We also have the participants keep diet logs to understand their fuel intake versus exercise energy output.  We are looking to see what health and fitness improvements have taken place.”

There is an obvious outreach component as the women get specialized health guidance from exercise experts. But there is also a research component.

“We follow up to see if there is adherence to the exercise and diet discipline,” said Dr. Dave Pascoe, Humana-Germany-Sherman Distinguished Professor and Assistant Director of the School of Kinesiology. “Dr. Wadsworth’s published research shows that outside activity increases and continues even after the 12-week session ends.”

Wadsworth said the women develop social networks and enjoy the guidance they receive from Salom and other graduate students, which is a huge help at the outset of the program.

“But what we want to find out is, once an exercise regimen is established and the women understand what specifically they must do to maintain and improve their health, will they continue on once the program is over? Our follow-up research shows very clearly that they do.”

The sessions are offered three days a week at three different times: early morning, mid-day, and late afternoon.

As one program participant summed it up, “These young girls come in and work out so they can look good at the beach on Spring Break. We do this for life!”

To learn more about exercise research programs, of which there are several in the School of Kinesiology, contact Dr. Wadsworth.

Story and photo by George Littleton