Kinesiology Department Offers Summer College Course

Sep 10 2013
Summer College students were introduced to key concepts in kinesiology, including flexibility.

The Kinesiology Department worked with five high school students enrolled in “Human Health and Movement”, an introductory kinesiology course offered at this year’s UMass Amherst Summer College. The group included rising high school juniors and seniors from high schools in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Students were on campus from July 21 - Aug 3, 2013 for the summer college, receiving academic credit and an experience of campus life and academics at UMass.

 The students explored basic kinesiology concepts such as exercise science, health, movement, research and fitness. Faculty member Judi LaBranche, along with intern Paul DeSantis, introduced students to key tools such as blood pressure, body composition, and flexibility. “They received college credit for this so it was important they received the true college experience. There were lab reports and assignments every night,” says LaBranche. They tested and practiced these skills on other participants through team-based activities.  “All of the labs were done with a partner or as a group. They were extremely supportive of each other in the activities such as hiking and fitness testing,” notes LaBranche.

In addition to lecture and practice sessions, activities incorporated a wide variety of team-based activities in the field: hiking to study the effects of altitude on heart rate and blood pressure, biking to introduce combining recreational fitness with cardiovascular training, a CPR and first aid course, and a creative cooking competition to help identify foods that fuel the body for effective fitness training.

“It was interesting to see them do so much hands-on work at such a young age,” notes LaBranche. “They liked the fitness testing and then doing the exercise programs that were specifically designed for them that was based on their results.  The students also liked the challenge of every exercise session,” she adds.

UMass Summer College students on a hike, where they studied the effects of altitude on heart rate and blood pressure.