Patty Wellborn

Email: patty-wellborn@news.ok.ubc.ca


 

UBC research shows that participants who listen to motivational music reported greater enjoyment from their high-intensity interval training sessions.

UBC research shows that participants who listen to motivational music reported greater enjoyment from their high-intensity interval training sessions.

Insufficiently active people might benefit from choosing the right tunes

New research coming out of UBC’s Okanagan campus demonstrates that upbeat music can make a rigorous workout seem less tough. Even for people who are insufficiently active.

Matthew Stork is a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences. He recently published a study examining how the right music can help less-active people get more out of their workout—and enjoy it more.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT)—brief, repeated bouts of intense exercise separated by periods of rest—has been shown to improve physical health over several weeks of training. But, cautions Stork, it can be perceived as gruelling for many people, especially those who are less active.

“While HIIT is time-efficient and can elicit meaningful health benefits among adults who are insufficiently active, one major drawback is that people may find it to be unpleasant. As a result, this has the potential to discourage continued participation,” he says.

Previous research led by Stork and UBC Okanagan’s Kathleen Martin Ginis has examined the effects of music during HIIT with recreationally-active people. Their latest study tested the effects of music with participants who were insufficiently active, used a more rigorous music selection process and implemented a HIIT regimen that is more practical for less-active adults.

The study took place at Brunel University London and Stork worked with Professor Costas Karageorghis, a world-renowned researcher who studies the effects music has on sport and exercise. First, Stork gathered a panel of British adults to rate the motivational qualities of 16 fast-tempo songs. The three songs with the highest motivational ratings were used for the study.

“Music is typically used as a dissociative strategy. This means that it can draw your attention away from the body’s physiological responses to exercise such as increased heart rate or sore muscles,” says Stork. “But with high-intensity exercise, it seems that music is most effective when it has a fast tempo and is highly motivational.”

Next, a separate group of 24 participants completed what has been referred to as the ‘one-minute workout’—three 20-second all-out sprints, totaling 60 seconds of hard work. A short rest separated the sprints, for a total exercise period of 10 minutes including a warm-up and cool-down. Participants completed these HIIT sessions under three different conditions—with motivational music, no audio or a podcast that was devoid of music.

Participants in the music session reported greater enjoyment of HIIT. They also exhibited elevated heart rates and peak power in the session with music compared to the no-audio and podcast sessions.

“The more I look into this, the more I am surprised,” he says. “We believed that motivational music would help people enjoy the exercise more, but we were surprised about the elevated heart rate. That was a novel finding.”

Stork believes the elevated heart rates may be explained by a phenomenon called 'entrainment.'

“Humans have an innate tendency to alter the frequency of their biological rhythms toward that of musical rhythms. In this case, the fast-tempo music may have increased people’s heart rate during the exercise. It’s incredible how powerful music can be.”

Stork’s research indicates that for people who are deemed insufficiently active, music can not only help them work harder physically during HIIT but it can also help them enjoy HIIT more. And because motivational music has the power to enhance people’s HIIT workouts, it may ultimately give people an extra boost to try HIIT again in the future.

“Music can be a practical strategy to help insufficiently active people get more out of their HIIT workouts and may even encourage continued participation.”

The study was published this week in the Psychology of Sport and Exercise. Stork received financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research over the course of this project.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.

Leadership, prevention and health of children topic of keynote address

What: UBC Okanagan Diabetes Research Day
Who: Keynote speaker Dr. Tom Warshawski, Chair of Childhood Obesity Foundation
When: Wednesday, June 19 at 5 p.m.
Where: Eldorado Hotel, 500 Cook Rd, Kelowna

Type 2 diabetes was once a condition that only affected adults. But today Type 2 diabetes is on the rise among children and youth globally.

A recent Canadian study found that 95 per cent of children newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are obese. Dr. Tom Warshawski of the Childhood Obesity Foundation has made it his life’s work to stop this concerning trend.

As past-president of the BC Pediatric Society, Society of Specialist Physicians, and Surgeons of BC, Warshawski has been responsible for leading multiple initiatives across Canada. These include spearheading the development of Sip Smart (a campaign to reduce sugary drinks for children) and Screen Smart (a campaign to reduce screen time).

Warshawski’s goal to improve the health of Canadian children has driven his work as a pediatrician. On June 19, he will deliver the keynote address at the UBC Okanagan Diabetes Research Day, which takes place at the Eldorado Hotel. His presentation will share his work on diabetes prevention and translating diabetes research into practice.

The event is open to the public and free, but online pre-registration is required at: diabetesbc.ca/our-events/ubc-okanagan-diabetes-obesity-research-day-2019

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.

Ryan Hoiland has spent the past few years conducting research with UBCO’s Centre for Heart, Lung and Vascular Health.

Ryan Hoiland has spent the past few years conducting research with UBCO’s Centre for Heart, Lung and Vascular Health.

Governor General’s Gold Medal awarded for top academic achievement

A UBC Okanagan student, who has literally climbed mountains to conduct his research, has reached the peak of his university career by winning a top academic recognition.

Ryan Hoiland, who received his PhD in Interdisciplinary Graduate studies from the School of Health and Exercise Sciences today, is the Governor General Gold Medal winner for UBC’s Okanagan campus. It’s an award presented annually to the graduate student with the highest academic achievement. He has been at UBC Okanagan for nine years, earning three degrees: Bachelor of Human Kinetics, Master of Science, and finally his PhD.

Whether it’s the top of his class, or the top of the mountain, Hoiland’s goal has been to research and understand how the human body adapts to low oxygen levels.

“When people experience low oxygen—either at high-altitude or perhaps through illness— the brain works to increase the amount of blood it receives to maintain a stable supply of oxygen. Failure to do so can end in catastrophic consequences and neurological injury,” he explains.

Hoiland is no stranger to heights—conducting his research at high-altitude labs in Peru, California and Nepal. This research, along with his scientific travels, has led to more than 45 peer-reviewed published papers—15 as lead author—an accomplishment that Hoiland attributes to the mentorship of his supervisor Professor Phil Ainslie. He met Ainslie in the third year of his undergraduate studies. Less than a year later, the pair were 5,050 meters high near Mt. Everest Base Camp as part of an international research team.

“After that, I was hooked,” says Hoiland of the experience that satisfied his innate sense of curiosity.

Ainslie has taken several teams of scientists to the Mt. Everest research station, conducting numerous research projects each time. Much of Hoiland’s PhD work investigated high-altitude natives, like the Sherpa, who have lived in this low oxygen environment over thousands of years to determine if they possess unique evolutionary adaptations. One study, published in the Journal of Physiology this April, demonstrated that the blood flow response to low oxygen levels is distinctly different between high-altitude natives and those who live near sea level.

“Despite similarly low-oxygen levels in the blood, the Sherpa, who have lived at high-altitude for more than 25,000 years, had a lower oxygen supply to the brain,” he says. “This suggests that their brains may have evolved to be more resistant to low oxygen levels. Future investigation into how and why these differences exist may provide us valuable information that will help us better understand how the brain responds to low oxygen levels in certain clinical populations.”

While Hoiland’s research may sound lofty, it has practical applications for the general population—especially people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). An earlier PhD study demonstrated that oxygen therapy in COPD patients may reduce the risk of dementia by improving the health of blood vessels in the brain.

“This particular aspect of brain and neurovascular function is extremely important, with impaired neurovascular function implicated in the development and progression of diseases such as dementia,” says Hoiland. “This improvement in oxygen supply to the brain and neurovascular function might provide a physiological link between oxygen therapy and a reduced risk of certain brain diseases for people with COPD."

While difficult and intriguing questions have motivated Hoiland and fuelled his endless sense of curiosity, he believes it was the team culture in Ainslie’s lab that truly underscores his combination of academic and research success—including winning the UBCO’s student researcher of the year award in 2018

“I cannot stress enough the importance of the team I have been a part of,” says Hoiland. “Being part of a supportive group that is working together to grow and explore new research avenues is vital and what initially drew me to UBC Okanagan.”

Ainslie, the Canadian Research Chair in Cerebral Vascular Physiology, describes Hoiland as an exceptionally enthusiastic and driven researcher.

“I have been working in the field of cerebral vascular physiology for more than 15 years and cannot express how impressive Ryan was as a doctoral student,” says Ainslie. “Overall, out of the last 40 doctoral students I have supervised or co-supervised, Ryan has proven to be the best all-around at research and has continued to improve his abilities at an astounding rate.”

Ainslie notes Hoiland’s research will provide new information about the fundamental basis and mechanisms of how the human brain can cope with low levels of oxygen.

“His capacity for succinct scientific writing and communication is exceptional, and he possesses remarkable presentation skills,” says Ainslie. “There is no question that Ryan will become a figurehead within the field of human and molecular vascular physiology, and that at this point in his career is deserving of being awarded the 2019 Governor General’s Gold Medal.”

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.

Gabriel Dix was awarded the Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation at this year's UBC Okanagan Convocation.

Gabriel Dix was awarded the Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation at this year's UBC Okanagan Convocation.

Being a top student in high school not always a priority for Gabriel Dix

Gabriel Dix, winner of one of the top academic awards at UBCO's convocation this week, admits there is a slightly ironic twist to his accomplishment.

Today as he crossed the stage to earn his bachelor’s degree in human kinetics, Dix was awarded the Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation. It's presented to an undergraduate student who has remarkably high-academic standing and work in the community or around the world.

Dix is quick to confess he wasn’t a top student in high school. In Grade 12, instead of taking university prep classes like physics, biology or pre-calculus, he selected courses he thought would be fun or easy to complete.

“I used to be pretty self-limiting,” Dix says, who took a college upgrading program to gain entrance to UBCO. “I almost failed out of college and university. My first year of human kinetics at UBCO I earned an average of 69 per cent. The cut off to pass is 65.”

It was almost as if someone flipped a switch, he says. It wasn’t a matter of being smart. It was simply a case of applying himself.

“One day, I woke up and decided to try harder. When I was in high school, I thought I wanted to be a personal trainer, so I tried for that. Then I thought, maybe I could be a physiotherapist? So I tried a little harder. And I did well. Then I thought I could try medicine,” he explains. “I told myself I can do this if I tried hard enough. I kept trying and working hard and I kept getting the results I needed.”

Dix has just completed his honours thesis working under UBC Professor Kathleen Martin Ginis in her Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Lab. Next year, as a graduate student, he will conduct research on how diet and exercise affect inflammation and neuropathic pain for people with SCI.

As someone who likes to be fit, he was at the gym when he ran into Martin Ginis, director of UBCO’s Chronic Disease Prevention Program. His interest in research, and his goal for helping all people live a better life, was a perfect match for her team.

Martin Ginis at first thought she might be a “back-up plan” for Dix, common practice for students if they don’t get into med school. She accepted him as a grad student “on the spot” when she learned he had full intentions to complete a masters degree first.

“Gabriel is an outstanding student,” says Martin Ginis “But more importantly, he genuinely cares about the people he works with—whether that be people in our campus community, our local community, or our global community.”

It’s that global community that has helped foster his passion for humanitarian medicine. For the past three years, he has travelled to Africa to volunteer and work alongside a team of international physicians in Malawi providing care to people who might not have access to health practitioners. One of his jobs was to help deliver dozens of free vaccinations for pneumonia, measles, mumps, rubella and tetanus to children in rural villages.

“It is my long-term goal to work as a humanitarian medic in countries like Malawi,” he says. “I believe individuals are often at their most vulnerable when seeking medical care and it is at this time a person can have the largest impact.”

This is the first time UBC Okanagan has been able to offer the Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation. To be eligible, a student must also show some work in either inclusion, democracy and reconciliation—Dix has all three covered.

Along with his volunteer hours as a basketball coach with Special Olympics Kelowna, he also volunteers weekly at Kelowna General Hospital and is an executive member of the UBC Okanagan Pre-Medicine club. He currently works as a research assistant with the UBCO Community Health Research Eminence Project which focuses on people living with mental health challenges, diabetes or obesity in both aboriginal and non-aboriginal settings.

Martin Ginis says his accomplishments mirror his passion to make the world a better place for all citizens.

“Gabriel’s commitment to excellence, and to making a difference in the lives of others, are what make him deserving of this award,” she adds “Our lab is so proud of him and so pleased that he will be joining us in the fall for graduate studies.”

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.