Students taking the SPSC 341 course are looking for individuals to conduct exercise, health, and fitness assessments. Results will be used to help build exercise programs for those individuals.
The project is called the client project because the students recruit other individuals on campus to participate as clients. Students learn health history and perform a health screening to evaluate and identify the risk of a cardiovascular event during exercise. Fitness assessments are then performed to inform health status and allow students to create an individualized exercise program for their clients.
Katie Smith is an associate professor in the department of sports science and health education. She also serves as the director of honors education and teaching SPSC 341 practice testing and prescription. Smith said this project has been around for longer than her seven-year time at Simpson.
“It gives students the opportunity to work with someone and apply the skills they learn in the lab and in the classroom,” Smith said. “Implementing them outside of the classroom will be similar to what they will experience when they go on and do their internships and careers as well.”
Recruiting students to complete these assessments was a challenge. Historically, an email is sent to Simpson students discussing the project and they will have a waiting list within hours.
Smith said changes to campus communications have made it difficult to spread the word.
“This problem can be solved by allowing students to bring in a friend, but part of what we want students to learn is for them to feel comfortable being uncomfortable,” she said. “Working closely and doing health and fitness assessments requires you to take careful measurements with the individual.”
Students also practice processing the results of the assessments and communicating them to the client in a way they understand. Motivating and encouraging clients to continue making healthy lifestyle changes are skills they will use every day in their professions. Smith said most students will go on to take a subsequent course on special populations.
“Our May Term course includes working with individuals who have already been diagnosed with an illness or in a particular phase of the life cycle that requires an adjustment to their exercise program,” she said.
Students can choose from different cardiovascular fitness tests based on the health history of their client. Some tests such as flexibility, muscular strength and muscular endurance will perform all clients. Smith said students will continue to learn the various tests until at least spring break.
“We want to help you in this process and hope you will find it helpful as well,” she said. “The second thing I would say is don’t be intimidated. We are not looking for highly fit individuals to come in and perform these tests.”
Interested students have until February 15th to contact Katie Smith. This is a free service and clients will receive an individualized exercise program following the assessments.