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The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Adult Exercise Research Program is designed to improve the quality of your lifestyle by providing a program of physical exercise prescribed on the basis of sound physiological and biomedical principles. This sensible, slowly progressive program is for the inactive man or woman basically between the ages of 30 and 65 years who would like to be a subject in a study designed to improve levels of physical fitness, reduce coronary risk factors and improve the aging process.
The program of exercise starts at a low level of intensity and progresses in intensity each week. Time is needed to adapt to the stress of regular exercise.
The class meets as a group five days a week, Monday through Friday, beginning in September and continuing through August. (See class information below for details). The program has been meeting for the past 26 years and 25 individuals have been in the program for 20 years or more. With new people starting each September there is now over a total of 100 people. New members that start September will be trained initially as a separate group from the other ongoing members. Both groups (beginning and old) meet at the same time, in the same facility, and share the same instructors, but are exercised separately. In February, the beginning group will have progressed sufficiently to join the "on-going" class. The combined group then completes the year as one class. The following September the cycle starts again.
The annual cost of enrolling in the study is $400 for non faculty and $200 for faculty. The cost includes laboratory evaluations of your physical fitness, body composition, blood pressure, heart rate, a complete blood profile, an electrocardiogram. The cost also includes a locker, exercise mat, surgical tubing, chinning bar and the daily exercise leadership. Medical clearance from your personal physician is required prior to starting the program to determine whether or not there is any pathological reason why you should not participate in this exercise study. After receiving medical clearance and signing an informed consent form and a spouse agreement form, you will be tested in the UNLV Exercise Physiology Laboratory, and a blood profile will be taken at a local medical facility.
Although the blood profile is an executive panel, it has an emphasis on the lipid items: i.e. HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, Total Cholesterol, total/HDL ratio, triglycerides, apolipoprotein A-1, B and their ratio (an excellent biochemical marker of coronary heart disease). Additional blood components such as glucose, uric acid, electrolytes, blood enzymes and a complete CBC are included. Physical fitness measurements include cycle ergometer test, maximum oxygen uptake, body type (somatotype) photograph, flexibility, strength, body composition (underwater weighing, bioimpedance, and skinfolds) and the heartís response to exercise.
All these tests are administered in September and in May during the first year, and then each May thereafter. From our data, the changes that occur from September to May dramatically show the beneficial effect of regular exercise on coronary risk factors and physical efficiency. The effect over time shows that regular exercise prevents the decline in fitness attributed to age.
Following the tests you will receive a computer printout of your results explaining how you compare with others of your age and gender and how you compare with your previous results.
The supervised exercise consists of four components: 1) warm-up and stretching, 2) strength and muscular endurance, 3) cardiorespiratory or aerobic, and 4) cool-down.
The warm-up period includes 5-7 minutes of flexibility exercises consisting of bending, stretching and twisting. These exercise are designed to stretch the muscles while allowing the joints to go through their full range of movement. At the beginning of the year more time is spent in this phase than later. Emphasis is put on exercises for low back pain.
Exercises for muscular strength and endurance include calisthenics such as push-up, sit-ups, chest raising, chins etc. These exercises are designed to exercise each major muscle group using the bodyís weight as resistance.
For the aerobic or cardiorespiratory portion of the class; the women bench step and jog, and the men bench step and swim. Swimming is not a prerequisite of the class since the university pool is divided into a 25-yard deep pool and a 25-yard shallow pool. The beginning class does water walking.
The final part of the program is the cool-down period during which time the body returns to its resting pre-exercise level. These exercises are similar to the warm-up exercises, and are more important in the womenís class as the heat generated by the exercise and jogging needs to be dissipated, whereas the swimming tends to cool the body down in the pool.
The exercise research program studies three main emphasis: 1) the longitudinal effect of daily, regular exercise on the factors that play a role in the development of heart disease. 2) the effect of short term exercise on selected physiological variables; 3) the effect of regular exercise on the aging process.
It is not a program for individuals who have a history of heart disease, major risk factors or are symptomatic. It is not a cardiac rehabilitation program. Attendance is taken each day and is an important component of the study. We request 70% attendance (4 time a week) although few busy professional people can attain that attendance. But regular attendance is encouraged since regular, progressive exercise is safe, whereas sporadic, irregular exercise can be potentially dangerous. The experimental and progressive period is from September to May. During the summer we meet four days a week and do not progress in intensity.
In addition to the above research, class members are also able to participate in other research studies that the laboratory conducts. This is strictly voluntary. In the past these studies have included the effect of exercise on body composition, weight loss, thermoregulation, diet and blood pressure, certain blood variable, etc.
Research evidence (both ours and others) has shown that participation in regular, vigorous exercise is extremely beneficial. In 1996 the Surgeon General of the United States released the Surgeon Generalís Report on Physical Activity and Health clearly summarizes these benefits. Physiological and psychological changes, which have been shown with routine exercise, include:
Changes such as these, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (the leading cause of death in men and women); provide greater sources of energy for work and leisure; and create a positive outlook toward life.
Lawrence A. Golding, Ph.D., has been at UNLV since 1976. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and whose mentor at U. of I was Dr. T. K. Cureton, who is known as the father of adult physical fitness. He is director of the Laboratory of Exercise Physiology as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the America College of Sport Medicineís Health and Fitness Journal. He was selected by the Presidentís Council on Physical Fitness and Sports as an Healthy American which is an award presented to the 10 individuals who have done most for the health and fitness in the US. He has been supported by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation for research in the area of adult fitness. He is the author of the National YMCAís physical fitness program and fitness test battery.
Graduate students in Exercise Physiology working with Dr. Golding assist in leading the exercise program.
The womenís experimental group meets in the North Gym of the Paul McDermott Physical Education Complex from 11 AM to 12 Noon Monday through Friday, and the menís group meets in the swimming pool in the Paul McDermott Physical Education Complex from 12 noon to 1 PM Monday through Friday. The class starts at five minutes past the hour and ends 10 minutes before the hour. We try to get you in and out within the hour. (see map)
Subjects can only join the study during the month on September. Both groups follow the UNLV calendar and the class does not meet when the university is closed (this includes holidays and vacations). During prolonged vacations (Christmas and summer) special arrangements are made. Testing is done in May; and during the summer the program meets Monday through Thursday with a maintenance program. The last two weeks in August the program shuts done and starts again the day after Labor Day.
The registration fee is $400.00 for non-faculty and $200 for faculty and is paid prior to the class starting through UNLV Continuing Education Program. The fee includes daily exercise leadership, locker, exercise equipment (exercise mat, tubing, chinning bar), student parking permit, laboratory testing, blood profile, EKG and study manual. Towel service is available at an extra cost, or subjects can supply their own towel. The towel fee is paid to the locker room attendant and is separate from the class. The registration fees are non-refundable after the first week. Enrollment is limited to those meeting the study requirements. Should insufficient subjects sign up the class will be cancelled.
Lawrence A Golding
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