Physical exercise as a laboratory tool

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The current American coronary heart disease epidemic can be utilized to focus the student's attention on cardio-respiratory physiology. It can be pointed out that although once thought of as a disease of aging, cardiovascular disease is now the major cause of death in the 35 to 44 yr old age group and accounts for 13% of all deaths in the 25 to 34 yr old age group. Since the majority of heart disease related deaths occur outside the hospital, it is evident that preventive medicine provides the most logical approach for arriving at a solution to the problem. The lab work outlined has been well received by students. The data is meaningful since it is derived from themselves rather than a laboratory creature. Not only has the information gained from the labs served to stimulate discussions which draw together the cardiovascular and respiratory units but it has also stimulated many students to alter their sedentary life styles. This latter fact may serve to improve their quality of life if not their longevity and that, after all, is at least part of what education is about.

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