Programs and Research Projects
Coordinator for the undergraduate program in Health and Human Performance which includes students interested in the options of Exercise Science, Pre-Physical Therapy, and Kinesiology.
Coordinator for graduate students interested in applied field of Exercise Physiology.
Seasonal testing of the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) junior (15+ years and older) and sub-elite cross country skiers. Skiers are tested 2-3 times each year corresponding to the end of the race season (April), end of Summer (August), and pre-snow training (early November). Testing of 10-15 athletes includes a ski-specific treadmill test (ski striding while using poles with rubber tips) to measure VO2max, lactate or ventilatory threshold, as well as tests of upper body power using a test validated in our lab.
Contracted Lab Testing: Our lab also performs fitness testing for groups upon request and availability of the lab. For example, we performed fitness testing for the Bozeman city firefighters for several years that included VO2max testing with 12-lead ECG, 30j-sec Wingate testing, as well as various tests of upper and lower body muscular strength. We have also done some product testing at the request of various companies.
Areas of Interest
Algorithms for indirectly assessing domains of free-living energy expenditure (i.e. activity intensity, frequency, duration, as well as minute-by-minute rate of energy expenditure) using electronic physical activity monitors. We are currently working with several groups around the U.S. to analyze the activity monitor data resulting from NIH funded physical activity interventions. To see an example of the types of monitors used by our lab, take a look at the Actical activity monitors, Actiheart monitors, as well as the VitalSense monitors developed by the Mini Mitter Co. at: http://www.minimitter.com
Use of electronic monitoring devices in free-living settings to assess determinants of work performance and energy expenditure. Specifically, this methodology has been used to assess energy expenditure in Hot Shot wildland firefighters.
Physiological and biomechanical determinants of elite endurance performance (e.g. bicycling, running, cross-country skiing,...).
Body mass scaling (i.e., allometric scaling) of physiological parameters and human performance. This area of research asks the question, “How does individual differences in body size determine or explain individual differences in resting physiology (e.g., BMR), anthropometrics (e.g., limb lengths relative to body height and mass, body density), the energetics of locomotion (e.g., economy), maximal physiological parameters (e.g., VO2max), and even physical performance (e.g., 1-mile run time, 40 km cycling time-trial).”
Recently Completed Research Projects
- NIH Funded Physical Activity Interventions. Dr Heil is involved as a collaborator in two studies recently awarded NIH funding to implement physical activity interventions in high risk groups. One study will evaluate the efficacy of using local church involvement as a mechanism for adherence to physical activity programs. The other study will evaluate the ability of a physical activity intervention to prevent overweight people from crossing the line into the obese category.
- Influence of a Nutrition Supplement on Upper Body Power (UBP) in Nordic Skiers. Funded by a Seattle-based company, we found that chronic loading of the supplement Acid Zapper (acidzapper.com) increased UBP in a sec test while decreasing submaximal HR and VO2 and lactate responses.
- Optimal Body Position and Bicycle Design. We recently completed pilot testing to evaluate how hip angle and pelvic tilt changed, if at all, with different combinations of bicycle geometry (i.e., seat-tube and trunk angle) and saddle design. These data were presented at and supported by the Serotta International Cycling Institute, or SICI.
- 2004 Hawaiian Ironman Research Project. Dr. Heil and several graduate students will be traveling to Kona, HI, in the Fall of 2004 to characterize the preferred bicycling positioning of the Ironman triathletes.
- Validation of the Actical Activity Monitor to Predict Energy Expenditure. This 2003-2004 project funded Dr. Heil and several graduate students to derive a series of prediction equations that could be applied to raw activity monitor data for transformation into units of METs or activity energy expenditure (AEE). Separate equations were derived for monitors placed on the wrist, hip, or ankle in both adults and children.
- Pedometer Longevity Project. This 2003-2004 project funded Dr. Heil and several graduate and undergraduate students evaluate how quickly different brands of pedometers would last during normal field use and remain accurate.
- Influence of Race (Native American vs. Caucasian), gender, and physical activity on the prevalence of eating disorders symptoms. Dr. Heil assisted Dr. Wes Lynch (Dept. of Psychology, MSU) in this NIMH funded project that involved extensive questionnaire evaluations and photographic analyses of middle and high school kids in Billings and Hardin school districts (both are in eastern Montana).