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UW-Eau Claire Kinesiology Professor Seeking
30-40 Volunteers for Fitness Study

RELEASED: July 26, 2006

EAU CLAIRE — Lance Dalleck, an assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, hopes to find 30-40 older women in the Chippewa Valley who have been fairly sedentary up until now but would like to make a change and begin to live healthier.

Dalleck and a group of student researchers are looking for volunteers, specifically post-menopausal women aged 45-75, to help them with a fitness study that would begin in early September and continue for 12 weeks. Last spring Dalleck and his students did a similar study with women aged 18-45, and they were excited enough about those results to want to continue their studies using an older age group.

This study, like the last, has several aims, according to Dalleck. One is to test the effectiveness of general guidelines given for achieving significant health benefits through exercise and possibly develop more specific recommendations. The other is to focus specifically on effective fitness guidelines for women, since they, along with minorities and children, are often overlooked in fitness studies, which tend to focus on white adult males as the norm.

"With last spring's study, we found that even small investments of time could yield significant health benefits for women in that age group," said Dalleck, citing results that showed a 10 percent reduction in blood pressure; a 7 percent improvement in aerobic fitness, measured by the woman's ability to take in and use oxygen; and a 6 percent improvement in HDL or good cholesterol, which Dalleck said translates to a 20 percent reduction in risk for heart disease. Although weight loss was not a focus of the study, most of the women changed their overall body composition for the better, achieving approximately a 5 percent reduction in body fat.

This time Dalleck wants to use the U.S. Surgeon General's recommendation of 30 minutes of exercise of moderate intensity for most days of the week (usually interpreted as 5 days a week) and then measure the differences that result from slight changes in those recommendations.

"This time we plan to divide the volunteers into three groups," said Dalleck. "One group will do the recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise, another group will do slightly less, or 20 minutes, and the third group will do slightly more, or 40 minutes. Then we'll measure the differences in what the three groups achieve in health benefits."

Using the older age group also will help the researchers determine how much the effectiveness guidelines need to be adjusted for differences in age, Dalleck said.

Women interested in the study would need to come to a preliminary interview to discuss the time commitments and lifestyle changes involved, but Dalleck stresses that the participants will be exercising at a very manageable, modest intensity for the duration of the program. The exact time commitment each week will vary according to which group each volunteer is assigned, but will range from one hour and 40 minutes to three hours and 20 minutes per week. The exercise sessions will be supervised at the university indoor track between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. every weekday morning.

Dalleck said that his student researchers really enjoyed interacting with the women who participated in the last study and got a lot of inspiration from seeing the difference that a little exercise could make in their lives and health.

"I think everyone had fun with it and the women who stuck with the program felt proud of their achievements," Dalleck said. "I hope we can find some more women who are really ready to take charge of improving their health in significant, measurable ways."

For information on participating in the study, which will start around the second week in September, contact Dalleck at 715-836-3774 or dalleclc@uwec.edu.

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