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Press Release - 05 January 2009

Volunteers offered free gym membership to kick start a healthier lifestyle

The University of Bath is offering six months free gym membership to volunteers who take part in a trial to measure the benefits of exercise on reducing the risk of heart disease.

Researchers from the Sport and Exercise Science Research Group, based in the University’s School for Health, are looking for 20 volunteers to take part in the three-week trial beginning this month.

They are seeking men and women between the ages of 45 and 64 who are currently inactive and overweight.

The volunteers will be split into two groups. One group will be asked to undertake vigorous exercise and the other to do moderate exercise. Volunteers will also be asked to reduce their calorie intake, based on their normal diet.

The researchers will assess each volunteer before and after the trial. Their aim is to find out whether moderate or vigorous exercise is more successful in reducing heart disease risk factors.

Participants will be asked to come to the University most days of the week to visit the gym in the Sports Training Village.

Dr Dylan Thompson, from the Sport and Exercise Science Research Group, said: “We want to be able to tell people whether exercise at a moderate intensity for longer will achieve the same health gains as those who exercise vigorously but for a shorter time period.

“Both groups will receive the same dietary advice and we expect both groups to lose about the same amount of weight over the three weeks.

“This research has important implications for advice and policy on what people should do for long term health. It is important that we are able to give people the right advice – at the moment, we really don’t know how hard individuals need to push themselves in order to get the health gains associated with physical activity and weight loss.”

There are lots of benefits of taking part in the trial. Not only is it a good way to kick start a healthier lifestyle in the New Year, it is also a chance to enjoy six months free gym membership at the University’s Sports Training Village.

Dr Thompson said: “We will also give each volunteer feedback on results, such as their cholesterol reading, which you normally have to pay for.”

Those who are currently on medication or who suffer from heart disease are not able to take part in the trial.

For more information on taking part in the trial contact Natalie Dixon on 01225 383566 or email

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