Louisiana Tech students research, showcase alum's exercise invention


Lessons gained in product fine-tuning, conference presentations

RUSTON, La. -- Students in Louisiana Tech's department of health and exercise sciences are at work throughout the South presenting research on a new exercise product called Future Flex.

The Future Flex, originally called the Flexwand, is a long, flexible rod developed by Tech alumnus John Holleman of Baton Rouge. Holleman designed the prototype over the course of a decade.

"It's been a long-term process," he said, "I had a rotator-cuff problem, and I kept fooling around with (the Future Flex) until it helped."

Dr. James Heimdal, department head and an associate professor of health and exercise sciences at Tech, said Holleman brought the wand to Tech's department of health and exercise sciences early last year and has continued to work with professors and students who studied its benefits.

"Research was done in a number of classes that really involved students, both undergrad and graduate," Heimdal said. "We developed exercises and held focus group meetings with different people, students and seniors, where we talked about the product and asked for suggestions."

In research conducted by Tech students, the addition of Future Flex to an aerobic dance routine has been shown to increase calorie usage up to 8 percent, Heimdal said. Other research showed that people who used the wand worked harder but didn't know it.

"People didn't perceive it as (more difficult)," Heimdal said.

The students who put together the exercise program and conducted the research are now presenting the results at conferences.

The student researchers and presenters are:

Elise Brown, a junior kinesiology and health promotions major from Minden; Lauren Johnson from Natchitoches, who recently graduated in kinesiology; Rebecca McCann, a senior kinesiology and health promotions major from Houma; and Miranda Merritt from Springhill, who recently graduated in health and exercise sciences.

Heimdal pointed out that the student presenters are all undergraduates or recent graduates. "Undergrads presenting is unique," he said. "It's a big honor."

Research presentation forums include:

  • The statewide meeting of the Louisiana Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, to be held in November in Baton Rouge.

  • The national convention for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, to be held in New Orleans the end of March. Holleman is expected to have the wand marketable by then and to offer it for sale there.

  • The regional meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, which was held in Atlanta in January.

  • The National Conference on Girls' and Women's Health, Physical Activity and Sport, held this February in Shreveport.

Heimdal said $5,000 received from Holleman has paid for the students' travel expenses and has also helped buy supplies.

The presentations are tailored to show a different facet of research at each forum, such as how the wand can be used by older people or how it is beneficial for women or children, Heimdal said.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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