Free health and fitness assessments


Simpsonian File Photo

Students taking the SPSC 341 course are looking for individuals to perform exercise, health, and fitness assessments.

by Noah Harkness, Staff Reporter

Students taking the SPSC 341 course are looking for individuals to perform 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 are recruiting other individuals on campus to participate as a client. Students learn health history and conduct a health screening to evaluate and identify the risk of a cardiovascular event during exercise. Fitness assessments are then conducted to inform health status and allow students to create an individualized exercise program for their clients.

Katie Smith is an associate professor in the sports science and health education department. She also serves as the director of honors education and is teaching SPSC 341 exercise testing and prescription. Smith said this project has been around longer than her seven-year time at Simpson.

“It allows students the opportunity to work with someone and apply the skills that they learn in lab and in class,” Smith said. “Implementing them outside of the class will be similar to what they will experience when they go on and do their internships and professions as well.”

Recruiting students to perform these assessments has been a challenge. Historically an email is sent to Simpson students discussing the project and they would have a waitlist within hours. 

Smith said changes to campus communication have made it difficult to spread the word.

“This problem could be solved by allowing students to bring in a friend, but part of what we want students to learn is that they get comfortable being uncomfortable,” she said. “Working closely and doing health and fitness assessments requires you to be taking close measurements with the individual.”

Students are also practicing processing the results from the assessments and relay it back to the client in a way they understand. Motivating and encouraging clients to proceed with changes in order to have a healthy lifestyle are skills they will use every day in their professions. Smith said most students will go on to take a subsequent course about special populations.

Our May Term course includes working with individuals that have already been diagnosed with a disease or are in a particular phase of the life cycle that requires an adjustment to their exercise program,” she said.

Students are able to choose from different cardiovascular fitness tests based on the health history of their client. Some tests like flexibility, muscular strength, and muscular endurance all clients will perform. Smith said students will continue learning the different tests until at least spring break.

“We want to help you along in this process and hope that you 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.”

Students interested have until Feb. 15 to contact Katie Smith. This is a free service and clients will receive an individualized exercise program following the assessments.