Research Profile: Dr. Paul Loprinzi, exercise science

February 8, 2012

Dr. Paul Loprinzi's research focuses on promoting physical activity across the lifespan and examining the effects of different training methods on endurance performance in distance runners.

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Dr. Paul Loprinzi
Assistant Professor of Exercise Science
Phone: 502-272-8008

BS and MS, Portland State University
Ph.D., Oregon State University

Listen: radio interview on exercise aiding sleep
His research model is that the promotion of positive health behaviors (i.e., physical activity) during early childhood may lead into lifelong engagement in physical activity, as well as the development of athletic excellence during late childhood and adulthood.

In the area of physical activity promotion, Loprinzi's primary area of research, he conducts studies in each phase of the Behavioral Epidemiological Framework, including:
  • examining the link between physical activity and health
  • assessing the validity and reliability of methods used to measure physical activity behavior
  • identifying psycho-social factors that influence physical activity behavior
  • evaluating the efficacy and feasibility of physical activity interventions
  • translating research into practice through review studies

Sleep & Physical Activity
A recent study, published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, examined the association between physical activity and sleep in a nationally representative sample of over 2,600 adults ranging in age between 20 and 85 years. Findings showed that adults who engaged in 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week were less likely to feel overly sleepy during the day, have leg cramps while sleeping and have difficulty concentrating when tried, compared to those engaging in less physical activity.

Pregnancy & Physical Activity
As a follow-up to the previous study, also published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, he showed that among 138 pregnant women, for every one-minute increase in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, pregnant women were 17 percent less likely to have difficulty finishing a meal because of being tired or sleepy.

Other pregnancy-related research, published in the Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Neonatal Nursing, shows that among 141 pregnant women, those who were not depressed spent significantly more time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day than pregnant women with some depression (14.4 minutes per day vs. 8.7 minutes per day). After controlling for age, race-ethnicity, marital status, smoking status, body mass index and gestation, pregnant women who met current physical activity guidelines (150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week) were 10.7 times less likely to be depressed.

Hearing & Physical Activity in Women
Published in the American Journal of Audiology, Loprinzi has shown that among 1,082 adult women, those with higher cardiorespiratory fitness had better hearing function at high and low frequencies.  Additionally, women with higher aerobic fitness were 6 percent more likely to have good hearing compared to worse hearing.

Breast Cancer & Physical Activity
Published in the Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness, he demonstrated that women who are regularly active have a 29 percent reduction in breast cancer risk. Among those who do develop breast cancer, however, his study published in the journal Breast Cancer showed that regular participation in physical activity may reduce common side effects of breast cancer treatment, such fatigue.  Following this, his study published in the Oncology Nursing Journal demonstrated that breast cancer survivors who begin participating in physical activity on a regular basis are less likely to develop recurring breast cancer.

Making Time for Physical Activity
"Given that physical activity has numerous health benefits, it is a public health priority to increase the activity levels among all individuals," said Loprinzi. "However, this is a challenging problem as most adults report they do not have enough time to be active."

A study by Loprinzi published in the American Journal of Health Promotion suggests that adults who perceive themselves as having little time to exercise may still be able to enhance their health by accumulating physical activity in short periods throughout the day, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or pacing while talking on the phone. "We examined the association between physical activity accumulated in short periods and in longer structured exercise bouts with numerous health outcomes, such as blood pressure, triglycerides, and total cholesterol, and showed that both physical activity approaches (short and long bouts) were equally associated with these health outcomes," he said.


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