Bring on the jumping jacks
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Making a resolution to get fit may be the smartest thing students can do this year, according to studies at the University of Saskatchewan.
Researchers from the university are preparing to launch their second long-term study on the overall effects of exercise. The study will use the same pool of participants from the initial project conducted 1964 to 1973.
The original study, prompted by skepticism about the effects of exercise, looked at the influence of activity on children between the ages of seven to 16 and followed them into adolescence. The results from exercising were overwhelmingly positive in every respect, said Bob Mirwald, a researcher and professor of physical education at the University of Saskatchewan.
This first study, involving 130 boys and 120 girls, included tests of physical assessment such as running on a treadmill until exhaustion and physical measurements like height, weight and body fat content.
The follow-up study, sponsored by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, will focus more on the bone mineral content of the participants, assessing the lipid, cholesterol and triglycerides in blood and will include a questionnaire on lifestyle and nutrition.
"Longitudinal studies are quite unusual and this is why the Saskatchewan study is so unique that is why we are going to try to link childhood and adolescence to adulthood," Mirwald said. He added they are unsure as to what they will find. "We are trying to be as open-minded as we can."
Mirwald will be heading up this research as he did with the first study. Also involved is principal investigator Bob Faulkner, dean of physical education and Don Bailey, a professor emeritus, who was also involved previously but will now act as a co-investigator.
The study is slated to start within a month and will not only involve several researchers but also the help of senior physical education and graduate students.