New lab to accommodate enrollment growth in kinesiology

A new dry lab in Christenberry Fieldhouse, which features several pieces of health and performance training and measurement equipment, will benefit students and faculty in education and research.

“This allows us to accomplish several goals. But the most important aspect of the lab is that we will be able to provide more hands-on learning to students, so they can take what they’re learning in the classroom and put it into practice,” said Dr. Steven Page, chair of Kinesiology.

The space houses high-end, specialized equipment – a Velotron Ergometer, treadmill, metabolic cart, weight and weight rack, rowing machine, wall-mounted monitors and more. And while the list might sound like a fairly typical gym set-up, these precisely calibrated pieces of equipment and their expanded capabilities allow students to master real-world tests and measurement exercises that apply to health sciences careers.

“They can learn to run a VO2 Max test, Wingate test, proper weightlifting techniques and so much more,” Page said.

These techniques assess a subject’s cardiorespiratory fitness, anaerobic power, endurance, strength and more – and are important gauges used in everything from athletic training to cardiovascular testing to post-operative therapies.

Enrollment in kinesiology has seen rapid growth, so the laboratory installation also addresses overcrowding in other classrooms and labs.

“More students are becoming interested in kinesiology as a major because more people are getting into wellness,” Page said. According to institutional analytics from Fall 2017, kinesiology is the fourth most popular major at AU, encompassing exercise physiology, coaching and fitness instruction, and health professions like physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutrition, health promotion and more.

And the lab will also serve an important function for faculty.

“It allows our faculty to conduct their research in labs like they could at Research I institutions, bringing us up to where we should be,” Page said.

Department faculty research a wide variety of topics, including injury recovery, coaching techniques, intensity-affect-enjoyment relationship, the impact of a ketogenic diet and much more.

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