Who Says Girls Can't Compete Athletically with Boys?

girl swimming underwaterAn Indiana University study that looked at performance differences between male and female childhood athletes found little difference in certain age groups, even though boys and girls rarely compete against each other in the U.S.

Joel Stager, professor in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at IU Bloomington, said he is not suggesting that boys and girls compete against each other, but he said his findings indicate they could.

Full Story

Study: High Levels of Activity Aid Arterial Functioning

Indiana University researchers found that the highly active middle-aged subjects in their study appear to avoid the arterial stiffening -- when arteries become less compliant as blood pumps through the body -- that typically comes with aging.

A reduction in compliance of the body's large arteries has been shown to occur with age and with inactivity. It also is considered a risk factor, predictive of future cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and stroke. The study compared the arterial compliance of highly active swimmers with that of people who reported being only moderately active or completely inactive. The difference between the highly active participants and the others was significant, said Maleah Holland, a graduate student in the Counsilman Center at IU Bloomington, but there was little difference in compliance in the highly active group regardless of age or sex.

Full Story

Altitude training: Study puts some data behind conventional wisdom

gym shoes on a mountain topAltitude training is a popular technique among athletes preparing for a competition, especially expert runners. Much research has been conducted on how to do it, at what altitude to train, how to modify workouts and how long to stay at altitude. However, a major unanswered question is when should an athlete return from altitude to compete?

Coaches of elite runners generally take one of two sides.

"They either believe an athlete should compete within 48 hours of coming back from altitude or in the 18- to 22-day range after returning," said Robert Chapman, exercise physiologist in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Indiana University Bloomington. "But there is little scientific evidence showing why these coaches' opinions are valid."

Full Story

Chapman Article On Altitude Training Ready for Download
Robert Chapman's article Timing of return from altitude training for optimal sea level performance is available for download through the Journal of Applied Physiology(R). Description of the article can be read here: Race Now or Later? Calculating the Best Time to Compete after Altitude Training. Download the article here.    
Workplace wellness: Site-based fitness program got results

An Indiana University study of a site-based fitness program for active-duty military personnel found that the participants' fitness improved in several areas, including reducing body-fat composition and increasing flexibility and strength. The six-month program also decreased the amount of time the study participants reported that they sat each day.

The study examined SHAPE, the Senior Health Assessment Program Enterprise that provides specialized one-on-one and group fitness programs for Navy personnel who are 40 or older. SHAPE, a service contract with the U.S. Navy, is designed and administered by health fitness specialist experts at the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at IU Bloomington. The contract is renewed on a yearly basis. Positive research outcomes have helped the service contract continue into its fifth year.

Full Story

Study confirms: College students decrease activity, increase weight

student with backpack walkingIt is not uncommon for college students to pack on the pounds while they are away at school. Research suggests that 35 percent of college students may be overweight or obese, with the sharpest increase in obesity observed in the 18-29 crowd.

A new study conducted by Indiana University researchers explores the relationship between waist circumference, fitness and walking in college students. Jeanne Johnston, assistant professor at IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, says this is the first time fitness testing has been conducted in college students. 

Full Story