Previous research clearly indicates that exercise training decreases during pregnancy, even among the fittest of women. Despite this, women are typically able to resume their prepregnancy exercise routines soon after delivery, and in some instances, their postpartum performances are better than previously experienced. While anecdotal reports are common, there does not appear to be significant research data to explain this phenomenon. In this review, we explore possible physiologic explanations for heightened postpartum exercise performance, such as pregnancy related changes in aerobic fitness, lactate threshold, flexibility, and musculoskeletal fitness. At this time, limited data do not appear to support an ergogenic role for these variables. Another consideration is a positive change in a woman’s psyche or perceptions toward her athletic abilities as a result of her pregnancy and delivery. While this concept is theoretically possible and may have scientific merit, data are sparse. What is clear is that an increasing number of women are maintaining their physical activity and exercise routines during pregnancy, with many able to return to competition soon after delivery. Well-designed studies are needed to further explore the relationships among physiologic and psychological variables and postpartum exercise performance. Ideally, these studies should be prospective (studying women prepregnancy through the postpartum period) and include diverse samples of women with regard to activity type and fitness level.
James M. Pivarnik, Christopher P. Connolly, Mallory R. Marshall and Rebecca A. Schlaff
James A. Carson, John K. Petrella, Vanessa Yingling, Mallory R. Marshall, Jenny O and Jennifer J. Sherwood
Undergraduate research is emphasized as a critical component of today’s science-based undergraduate education and widely accepted as an important part of the overall undergraduate education experience. While educators agree on the value of undergraduate research, significant challenges exist related to the design of the undergraduate research experience and the faculty member’s role in it. Additional challenges include providing high-quality research experiences that benefit the education of a large number of students while maintaining feasibility and cost-effectiveness. The scope of this review is to provide an overview of research and service-learning experiences in kinesiology departments at 3 institutions of higher learning that vary in size and mission.