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May 10, 2013
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

Exercise science majors demonstrate new fitness laboratory equipment

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -A group of Slippery Rock University exercise science majors Monday showed their capability in cardiovascular training, strength conditioning and wellness programming without stepping foot outside the new laboratory in Patterson Hall.

Students demonstrated the 30 new exercise, strength and fitness equipment machines in SRU's Exercise Technology Laboratory for an Office of Admissions video. The video will be posted on SRU's website this summer.

"We have the most sophisticated and technologically advanced exercise equipment in the world," said Jeff Lynn, SRU associate professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences. "Presently, we are the only exercise science program in the country that is using this equipment exclusively for educating students."

"It is part of our strategy in exercise science at SRU to be pioneering and innovative in our approaches to preparing our students," Lynn said. "The laboratory addition to Patterson Hall and the advanced equipment we have allows students to learn in the best possible teaching environment. It is important for us to prepare our students to be proficient using the technology and equipment they will see in the future, and let's face it, technology isn't going away."

The $175,000 lab offers treadmills, ellipticals, bicycles, leg press, multi-hip and indoor rowing machines, bar bells and more, smartly designed with mirrored walls and technology that enables students to create exercise prescriptions using flash drive technology, Lynn said.

Exercise science students log on to machines, receive fitness instruction and save data on flash drives to track their progress in becoming more fit or devising a workout regiment for themselves or a client. Flash drive data is easily transferred to a laptop or desktop computer.

"What it comes down to is giving students the ability to write individual exercise prescriptions and upload them to a USB stick," Lynn said. "When a client comes in, students plug the key in any of the machines and an entire prescription downloads accurately."

The lab, offered exclusively to SRU's 700 exercise science majors, provides outstanding learning opportunities, Lynn said. He said the equipment accurately reproduces the body's natural range of motions, giving students expertise that they will share someday with their clients.

"You can come to Slippery Rock University and get trained on the best equipment in the world," Lynn said. "It's a learning lab. "It looks just like a place where you go in and do your fitness training, but it is set apart by the high-tech equipment. Students are very aware how important it is for them to learn by doing. This gives them the opportunity for hands-on learning right here in a newly dedicated lab."

The experience will give them an employment or graduate school advantage, Lynn said, because the field of fitness is becoming increasingly high tech.

"Our students need to have a place to learn, train and practice on the most high-tech equipment to make them competitive," Lynn said. "As part of 'Exercise is Medicine,' 80 to 90 percent of our students will attend graduate school for some kind of clinical, health-related field. What they need to be able to do is understand this technology and use 'Exercise is Medicine' in their future practice."

"Exercise is Medicine," an international movement that SRU implemented a year ago, argues that physical activity helps prevent disease and chronic health problems such as hypertension and diabetes.

The new laboratory was part of a $2.3-million, 8,300-square-foot Patterson addition that was completed earlier this year.

Lynn said the addition builds on SRU's mounting involvement with Exercise is Medicine and fitness as a lifestyle. The comprehensive Exercise is Medicine initiative includes curriculum enhancements, networking with physicians and new fitness programs.

Patterson Hall, built in 1958, served as a residence hall until 2008, when the University repurposed the building into an academic facility for exercise and rehabilitative science.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.