Researchers gear up for cardio fitness study

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Researchers gear up for cardio fitness study


Published on 24 February 2016

A University of the Sunshine Coast research group is seeing if pedal power could help make inroads into the treatment of a potentially deadly cardiovascular condition.

USC’s VasoActive research group has shifted into the second phase of a major study investigating the kinds of exercise that could be used to improve symptoms and vascular health for people living with small abdominal aortic aneurysm, known as AAA.

Described as a “ticking time bomb” condition, AAA is the enlargement of a major blood vessel in the abdomen that is most commonly diagnosed in men aged over 60.

Having already conducted dozens of fitness tests on AAA patients, the researchers are now looking for healthy volunteers to complete a short cycling session as part of the study.

Researchers are seeking men and women aged between 70 and 86 years, not currently smokers and not doing more than 150 minutes of exercise per week.

USC Associate Professor Chris Askew said studying how healthy people responded to the testing would be critical to determining which exercises were most effective in treating AAA.

“We know that fitness can improve survival and quality of life in people suffering from this condition, and we want to see which types of exercises have the greatest influence on inflammation and vascular stiffness,” he said.

“Patients with AAA live with the risk that the aneurysm can rupture, which can have devastating consequences.

“Currently, we’re looking for volunteers to do two short cycling tests, followed by 90 minutes of recovery under lab supervision. Their participation will be critical to the success of the study.”

Volunteers can register their interest at For more details, contact PhD researcher Mark Windsor at or on 0413 177 451.

— Gen Kennedy

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