Uni seeks volunteers for new study

SOUTHERN Cross University researchers are seeking volunteers to assist with a new project aimed at shedding more light on managing high blood pressure without the use of drugs.

The study, which has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of Southern Cross University, is seeking participants aged 18-60 with higher than normal blood pressure but who are not yet on medication.

Research sessions will take place in the pool at the Southern Cross University's Lismore campus and will investigate how immersion in water and water exercise may affect blood pressure.

Roz Beavers from Southern Cross University's School of Health and Human Sciences, who is undertaking the project as part of a PhD in exercise physiology, said the research would focus on management of high blood pressure, or hypertension, as an alternative to medication.

"There is a stage between normal blood pressure and high blood pressure which is called pre-hypertension - so we are looking at that small window before people go on medication to see what effects exercise in the water may have on slowing the progression to hypertension," said Ms Beavers.

"We'll be asking the volunteers to participate in neck deep immersion and water exercise in a heated pool in order to monitor and investigate their blood pressure and heart rate responses.

"People don't need to be good swimmers to participate, just confident in a swimming pool and able to attend the pool in Lismore on a few occasions.

"What makes this research interesting is that exercising in the water may have additional benefits to just exercising on land because of the effect of the water pressure on the body itself, and the resulting release of hormones that have an effect on our fluid regulation.

"We already know that exercise is part of a good hypertension management strategy, but we think that exercise in water could be even more beneficial and this study will help to establish that.

"Not only that, but as hypertension and being overweight often go hand-in-hand, exercising in the water presents a safe way for people to get regular exercise without putting pressure on their joints, so it's an important area of research."

For more information on the research project or to participate, email rosalind.beavers@scu.edu.au or call (02) 6620 3499.

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