Kinesiology Equipment

Kinesiology Equipment -- Logan Spain, left, a senior physical education major, walks on the treadmill as SIU’s new metabolic cart measures his metabolic rate, fuel consumption, O2 consumption and ventilation rate. Marie Bongiorno, a second-year exercise science master’s student, monitors the metabolic cart data while manually measuring his heart rate. (Photo by Russell Bailey))

July 29, 2016

Students benefit from new exercise science technology

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Two new sophisticated pieces of equipment acquired by one of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s fastest-growing programs will benefit students and members of the community. 

The Department of Kinesiology’s Exercise Science Program recently added a Quinton cardiac science stress testing system and a ParvoMedics metabolic cart. The stress testing system allows technicians to determine the electrical activity of the heart at rest and during exercise, enabling them to identify any abnormalities that may indicate the presence of cardiovascular disease. This is the first time in a number of years the program has had a fully functional stress testing system and it replaces equipment with more limited capabilities. 

The cart measures metabolic rate, fuel consumption characteristics, oxygen consumption and pulmonary function, both at rest and during exercise. One of its major functions is evaluating the maximum amount of oxygen a person can take in during exertion at any given time (VO2max), thus measuring the person’s cardiovascular capacity. People who compete in long-distance events such as marathons and cross-country skiing typically have high VO2max levels, but the testing is beneficial to other individuals to help determine their level of fitness. 

“The addition of this equipment will help prepare students for their professional careers, whether that be in a clinical, rehabilitation, fitness or sport performance setting,” Phil Anton, associate professor of exercise physiology, said. “It will also boost research possibilities for faculty, which will, in turn, translate into more learning opportunities for students.” 

The new equipment, located in the Exercise Physiology Lab in Davies Hall, will also benefit community members, including participants in Strong Survivors, a free exercise and nutrition program to help cancer survivors and caregivers in their recovery process. Co-sponsored by the SIU Department of Kinesiology and the Southern Illinois Healthcare Cancer Institute, the program pairs cancer survivors and caregivers with trained SIU students and staff who assist them with individualized exercise and nutrition programs.   

“Having this new equipment is really beneficial for me and all of the students because we can now train with the latest technology for the real-world scenarios we will encounter in our careers,” Marie Bongiorno, a second year master’s student in exercise science, said. “We are able to learn different protocols and procedures that we need to know.” 

Bongiorno, of Chicago, is preparing for a career as an exercise physiologist. Her goal is to work with people who have chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease to help them maintain their current fitness level and lifestyle and defer the progression of the illness as long as possible. 

The total cost for the stress testing system with treadmill and metabolic cart with cycle ergometer is about $53,600. It was covered with funds remaining in a summer distance education kinesiology account within the College of Education and Human Services, home to the Department of Kinesiology. 

“This is a great example of SIU supporting a program that has been growing rapidly despite not having all of the most up-to-date equipment. We are grateful that the university is supporting growth and growth potential,” Juliane Wallace, chair and associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology, said. 

The new machines complement a wide array of equipment that includes treadmills, exercise bikes, blood pressure cuffs, heart rate monitors, Cybex equipment, a force platform, a motion capture system and a virtual reality system. 

Enrollment in the exercise science program has more than tripled since the inception of the exercise science major in 2007, Wallace said. There are nearly 400 undergraduate students enrolled in kinesiology studies, with more than half of them in the exercise science program. The master’s program enrollment was 63 for the past school year. 

Through classroom learning and practical experience in the well-equipped labs, SIU students learn to assess people’s current physical condition and design and implement health and fitness programs that are proven to work, she said. Graduates are prepared for various professional certifications or for entrance into graduate programs in exercise science or other allied health professions as well as to work in clinical, corporate and public fitness, wellness or sport careers. 

In addition, “exercise science has become the major of choice for pre-allied health students interested in careers in medicine, physical or occupational therapy or chiropractic,” Wallace said.