seal  Purdue News

November 24, 2003

Below are Purdue University experts who can talk about a variety of health related issues.

1. Healthy path to finish first marathon includes rest

2. Expert aids in search to find health club

3. Exercise etiquette, manners at health clubs

4. Getting fit starts with changing frame of mind


Healthy path to finish first marathon includes rest

Those pledging to run their first marathon as a New Year's resolution need to realize that rest is an important component to help them cross the finish line safely, says a Purdue University exercise physiology researcher.

Michael Flynn, an associate professor of health and kinesiology who is teaching a class on the sports physiology of training for a marathon, says, "The biggest mistake made by a large percentage of runners is not incorporating enough rest into the training program. Another common blunder is not giving yourself enough time to prepare, because a quality marathon should be a long-term goal. There are many '16-weeks-to-a-marathon' training programs, but these should be approached with an adequate training base. "

Can overtraining be dangerous? Flynn says overtraining syndrome, which is the result of pushing the body too hard, has been a tough riddle for sport physiologists to solve.

"It appears, however, to be the result of cumulative training stress," he says. "Therefore, getting enough rest and recovery is crucial. Overtraining syndrome may be less of a problem for middle of the pack runners, but most runners I speak with could incorporate more recovery into their training."

Flynn also cautions that novice runners need their own individualized training program. For example, males over the age of 40, females over the age of 50 and anyone with significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease should consult with their physicians before starting training.

CONTACT: Flynn, (765) 496-3329,


Expert aids in search to find health club

Whether you receive a health club membership as a gift or pledge to shape up as part of your New Year's resolution, novices need to know some basic information to avoid wasting money when they select a health club, says a Purdue University fitness expert.

"Overall, you are searching for a place that is comfortable for you," says Cody Sipe, director of A.H. Ismail Center for Health, Exercise and Nutrition in the Department of Health and Kinesiology. "The first thing someone should evaluate is the club's atmosphere. Realize that health clubs have their own personalities, and they target different segments of the population. There are family-oriented, women-only, senior-focused and general clubs."

To find a perfect fit, Sipe says to consider the club's convenience, quality and price. Poor customer service, a crowded facility or an inconvenient location can prevent people from working out regularly.

"Look for a well-educated, degreed and certified staff," Sipe says. "Also look for a clean, uncluttered and modern facility. The signs of a high-quality facility include low-pressure sales that offer a 'try-before-you-buy' option, as well as complimentary fitness assessments and one-on-one training sessions."

The number of health club facilities in America increased 44 percent from 1998 to 2002, according to American Business Information Inc. That increase shows clubs are more accessible and diverse, which gives consumers more options.

"A higher price tag does not guarantee a better facility, but it is typically a good indicator that you will receive more amenities, better equipment and good customer service," Sipe says. "Of course, the bottom line is to choose the club that fits your budget."

CONTACT: Sipe, (765) 496-6449,


Exercise etiquette, manners at health clubs

Now that colder weather is chasing weekend warriors indoors to work out, it's important to exercise health club etiquette as well as your body, says a Purdue University fitness expert.

"Many novice gym users are unsure about how to act in the gym," says Cody Sipe, director of A.H. Ismail Center for Health, Exercise and Nutrition in the Department of Health and Kinesiology. "This feeling of not knowing may even keep some of them away from the gym. To start with, it's important to remember not to hog the equipment. If you are performing three sets on a particular machine, then get up in between sets and allow others to use it."

Sipe also says everyone should dress modestly and obey the time limits posted on cardiovascular equipment.

"Please wipe off the cardio and strength training equipment after you use it," he says. "You don't want to sit on a sweaty seat, so don't make someone else."

CONTACT: Sipe, (765) 496-6449,


Getting fit starts with changing frame of mind

When it comes to getting fit, people need to be more selfish with their time so they can meet their goals, says a Purdue University health and fitness expert.

"To be successful, it takes the decision to put yourself first and give yourself permission to take the time to get physically active and stay with it," says Roseann Lyle, professor of health and kinesiology. "People, especially women, are always putting themselves and their needs last. The end result is that people are becoming more physically, emotionally and nutritionally unhealthy."

To initiate changes, Lyle recommends starting small by adding 10 minutes of physical activity each day. Walking around while on the phone can take care of this for some people, she says. For improving diets, opting for at least one healthier food choice is a good way to start, such as buying whole grain bread.

Lyle also can talk about what people can do during the holiday season to stay on track for healthy lifestyles.

"Plan ahead," she says. "Know that the schedules and temptations to skip exercise and eat more will be there. Make a point of working more activity into the days at the office by walking to the water cooler for a drink every hour or using only stairs. Try walking to work, if possible, or park a couple of blocks away and walk."

Also, plan family activity into the holiday parties and breaks. Have a dance party or plan to get together with other parents and have a multifamily outing at the local bowling alley, roller rink or ice rink.

CONTACT: Lyle, (765) 494-3158,