HPL 2Exercise science majors can tout a major addition to their academic toolkit with the recent opening of the Human Performance Laboratory in the Alfond Center. According to faculty member Tom Dann, this new performance lab will give students a great hands-on experience with their fitness clients, who initially will be faculty, staff, students and student athletes on campus.

The center will allow exercise science majors to both educate their clients and promote optimal performance in new ways with state-of-the-art equipment, including a new Vertimax and a testing treadmill. The Vertimax (used by many Division I teams and professional teams) develops muscle power and speed through resistance forces, while the testing treadmill measures VO2 max, the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects a person’s physical fitness.

The new center represents a two-pronged approach, says Dann. “It’s both a health & wellness center and a sports performance center,” he says. “We want to promote people tuning in to a workout that makes sense for them. That’s where the educational side comes in, with information from the new equipment, heart rate monitors and functional movement screenings.”

Exercise science is one of the fastest growing majors at Saint Joe’s, and this year majors in this field will have an exciting new way to gain and apply professional knowledge. Dann expects the program will eventually reach out to athletes in the surrounding communities to provide both testing for their athletic teams and health & wellness efforts promotion for adults and children. “We could be a central force in helping to get kids moving, especially in terms of fighting childhood obesity,” he says.

“We want people to move productively and reduce the possibility of injury. This new space will be the central place for advice on how to do that,” says Dann. “We can help to design appropriate workouts based on some of the testing that we can do in this new lab.”