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Miami senior wins first place in research presentation

11/23/2010

Andrea Mueller
Andrea Mueller, a senior exercise science major from Arlington Heights, Ill., won first prize in the undergraduate research presentation competition sponsored by the Midwest American College of Sports Medicine at its annual meeting (ACSM) in Indianapolis.

Mueller, who plans to enroll in physical therapy school after graduation, worked on the project with two other students, who have since graduated. Randal Claytor, a faculty member in the kinesiology and health department, supervised the student researchers. It’s the second year in a row that a Miami student working with Claytor has won the award.

The hands-on learning involved in a research project was enjoyable, Mueller said, adding that she’s much more comfortable now in a lab setting.

She examined the relationship between structured exercise sessions and daily physical activity in college students. The purpose was to determine whether a single bout of vigorous and/or moderate structured exercise results in an increase in daily physical activity.

Twenty-six normally active college students were outfitted with an Actical accelerometer, a physical activity monitor, during the three-week study. After taking part in treadmill tests the first week to determine aerobic fitness, they then participated in randomly assigned moderate (walking) or vigorous (running) sessions, which lasted about 30-40 minutes.

After such structured exercise, physical activity dropped off the rest of the day for both moderate and vigorous exercisers. The drop was more significant with vigorous exercisers. However, in both groups participation in structured exercise resulted in an overall increase in physical activity for the day.

The students participated in less physical activity on both the day before and after their structured sessions, with the drop most noticeable after.

“They were tired,” Mueller said.

The study, she added, shows that as a society we tend to turn exercise into a regimented, repetitive thing and that overall fitness could be enhanced by making spontaneous or unstructured physical activity a part of everyday life.

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