James Madison University

NEW COLLEGES FORMED A plan to reorganize the College of Integrated Science and Technology into two colleges took effect July 1, 2012. The new colleges are the College of Health and Behavioral Studies and the College of Integrated Science and Engineering.

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Student Selected to Present Paper at National Conference

By: Beth Principi
Posted: March 25, 2009

PHOTO: Students exercisingHave you ever told yourself you were going to exercise, but ended up not following through on it?  Maybe all you needed was a little motivation.

In her paper titled, Increasing Physical Activity in College Students: Testing a Motivational Intervention, senior Nishi Vijay tested this motivational theory.  Vijay was selected to present her paper this April at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

With help from her advisor, Dr. Monica Reis-Bergan, Vijay conducted a multiple baseline study involving six participants, all of whom were inactive in exercise at least five to six days of the week.  Each participant wore a pedometer, which measures how many steps are taken daily.  ‘The aim was for them to meet the prescribed goal, which is to take 10,000 steps five times a week,” said Vijay.  “That is what the American College of Sports Medicine says you should do to be active.”

PHOTO: Student exercisingIn order to take these six inactive exercisers and make them take 10,000 steps a day, Vijay had to instill motivation in each of them.  Vijay used a planning strategy called implementation intentions, which has been used in various other behavioral situations, including smoking cessation programs.

This planning strategy tells the participants when, where and how they are going to work out.  “We needed to have an exact plan, like after my class at 2:30 I am going to catch the bus and go to UREC and go to kickboxing class,” said Vijay.  “It gives people cues, and is an active process where the participants are also involved in the planning.”

Vijay is currently in the data collection phase, so the results are indefinite, but by the conference in April, Vijay will be prepared to present her paper.   “I am looking forward to the conference,” said Vijay.  “I am definitely excited, there are going to be researchers from all over America coming.”