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Office of the Dean

NEWS | May 31, 2012

Participants sought for UC Davis study of physical activity and heart health

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

A UC Davis research team is seeking participants for a study that will help determine if a personalized or standard exercise plan works better for improving exercise capacity.

Physician Ivan Anderson and engineer Crystal Coolbaugh are investigating the benefits of individualized exercise plans in expanding cardio-respiratory endurance. Physician Ivan Anderson and engineer Crystal Coolbaugh are investigating the benefits of individualized exercise plans in expanding cardio-respiratory endurance.

"Exercise has well-known benefits, but it's not clear that a one-size-fits-all approach is best for everyone," said Ivan Anderson, a research fellow in cardiovascular medicine and co-principal investigator on the study. "We want to find out if a daily prescription for exercise can help maximize improvements in cardio-respiratory endurance."

Using an exercise-guidance system developed by Crystal Coolbaugh, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering at UC Davis, all participants will be assessed at the beginning and end of the study to determine their physical-activity tolerance levels based on oxygen use and heart rate during and after running on a treadmill. This information will be recorded by a physical-activity monitor that measures beat-to-beat changes in heart rate. Height, weight and waist circumference will also be recorded. These two assessments will take place at the Clinical Research Center at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Rancho Cordova.

Participants will be randomly divided into three physical activity groups for 12 weeks. One group will be asked to make no changes in daily physical activity.

Ivan Anderson demonstrates wearing the monitor © UC Regents
Anderson demonstrates the physical-activity monitor that will be worn by study participants.

The other two groups will be asked to walk or run based on recommendations provided on a website developed in conjunction with the exercise-guidance system. Participants in these groups will wear the physical-activity monitor for 10 minutes each day when they first wake up and during exercise sessions. Exercise recommendations will be based on either American College of Sports Medicine guidelines or the monitor's measurements.

"Sticking with a daily exercise regimen is tough to do, yet it is a highly effective heart-disease prevention," said Anderson. "We want to know if an advanced technology approach that provides personalized guidance can lead to new levels of success with exercise."

To enroll in the study, participants must be men who are between the ages of 30 and 44 with sedentary or nearly sedentary lifestyles and taking no prescription medications. Women will be recruited for the study at a later date. For additional information and enrollment criteria, contact Crystal Coolbaugh at 530-754-7921 or hpl.study.pap@gmail.com 

The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health through the Mentored Research Clinical Training Program (grant number 2 UL1 RR024146-06).

The UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center is part of a national consortium, led by the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health, that is improving how biomedical research is conducted across the nation. Its goals are to reduce the time it takes for research discoveries to become treatments for patients, as well as to train the next generation of clinical researchers. For information, visit healthsystem.ucdavis.edu/ctsc.