GEARed Up Participants Exceed Expectations at GEAR Games Challenge

Ten participants enrolled in GEARFit, an extension of the original Genetics, Exercise and Research (GEAR) program, have been recognized for their exercise achievements in the GEAR Games Challenge.

GEAR has enrolled more than 600 participants in the exercise program designed to identify genetic and lifestyle factors that influence how people respond to physical activity. The study, led by Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and co-principal investigator Evadnie Rampersaud, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., follows a strict exercise protocol over a three-month period. Participants receive pre- and post-fitness assessments, blood tests and cholesterol screenings, a month of supervised training and a tailor-made exercise program.

“These programs are essential to improving and maintaining cardiovascular health and reducing the devastating effects of diabetes and other diseases,” said Dr. Goldschmidt, Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of UHealth. “I am thrilled that faculty and staff are continuing the healthy lifestyles they developed through our GEAR program.”

The two winners for outstanding adherence during the GEAR Games Challenge were Walter Lambert, M.D., associate professor of clinical pediatrics and medical director for the UM Child Protection Team, and Marvin Katz, director of medical finance.

“When I enrolled in GEAR, my goal was to reduce my cholesterol numbers,” said Katz. “One of the things I was not expecting from GEAR was to have dedicated professional and degreed research trainers helping me every step of the way. Now that I am 10 months into the program, I am in the best shape I have been in 47 years!”

The overall MVP was Luis Espinoza, M.D, associate professor of clinical medicine, who improved his fitness and strength by the greatest percentage over the duration of the challenge.

The most improved team overall, “Team Winning,” was led by GEAR trainer Orontes Talavera. All members received GEAR certificates for their continued dedication to health, fitness and research.

The GEAR Games Challenge included nine teams of four who underwent a mini fitness test to measure improvement. Individuals and teams were evaluated based on percentage changes in fitness, adherence and attendance, and team participation. The winning team and individual winners received a healthy and nutritious lunch, courtesy of the GEAR staff, and other prizes.

“I was impressed by the positive response to this program,” said Jeff Farmer, GEAR project manager. “Everyone kept asking me, ‘What’s next?’ So we developed a post-GEAR exercise and lifestyle intervention program called GEARFit, which allows participants to apply their newly learned skills toward more challenging fitness routines.”

If you are interested in learning more about the GEAR program, please call Karyn Meshbane at 1-877-686-6444, or visit the website.

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