Thesis Talk Thursday
Thesis Talk Thursday is a wonderful opportunity to share stories about the amazing research being done by graduate students at the University of Calgary. Every Thursday graduate students from different faculties and departments will be highlighted across all GSA social media channels. The students will be highlighted through videos, podcasts, or photos with a description of their research.
Email Alex Paquette, GSA VP Academic, at email@example.com or fill out the form below to sign up for Thesis Talk Thursday.
April 14, 2022
GSA Thesis Talk Thursday Features
Research Thesis Title: Central and peripheral cardiovascular adaptations to domain-specific exercise training
What inspired you to do your research?
As a life-long participant in various sports/activities, I know the importance of exercise. This led me to complete my BSc-Kin. During my BSc-Kin, I really enjoyed my exercise physiology courses, however, I thought that research wasn’t for me because I thought it was “too far removed from the real world”. Then, during my MKin, I volunteered with the exercise physiology lab and I realized that research could be fun and interactive, and most importantly that I could establish meaningful connections with participants and help them improve their fitness. All of this while continuing learning about exercise physiology and producing research.
What is your research about?
The focus of my research is to investigate the central and peripheral cardiovascular adaptations to domain-specific exercise training. Specifically, I am looking at quantifying changes in several parameters of cardiovascular health such as maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), vascular reactivity, etc. in response to work-matched exercise training sustained at discrete exercise intensities. It has been shown that, in both research and applied settings, current exercise prescription methods are not individualized to the person and this could be one reason why some individuals demonstrate a lack of response to training. In my study, I am challenging current methods by adopting an extremely accurate approach to individualize exercise intensity prescription such that I will be able to elucidate the role of exertional intensity in determining the magnitude and the quality of the cardiovascular adaptations.
How do you do your research?
In my study the participants come to the lab to perform testing and training sessions. The training is performed on a cycle ergometer where I can ensure each participant is exercising at the prescribed intensity. Testing consists of both exercising and resting measures. One exercise test we often perform is the maximal oxygen consumption test (i.e. VO2max test) which helps us gauge how “fit” someone is. During this test, participants cycle while wearing a mask that collects their expired air so that we can determine how much oxygen they are using. The test starts off with very light exercise and then progressively increases in difficulty. The participants are asked to cycle until they have reached their maximal effort and cannot continue. Typically, this test only lasts 10-12 minutes and only starts to feel “hard” in the last 3-4 minutes and “very hard” in the last minute or so.
What is the implication of your research?
There will be several implications from the outcomes of my research. In simple terms, we will be able to determine which intensities are best for improving specific aspects of cardiovascular health and performance. My research will give a critical contribution to the building of the dose-response relationship of exercise training. Furthermore, the findings of this study will provide insight on the importance of individualized exercise prescription and on how we can tailor exercise prescription to target specific health outcomes with the goal to eventually translate these findings to other populations.