K-State Students Help Researchers Study Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs for Producers
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Recovering from a heart attack is never easy, but it can be especially difficult for those in physically demanding occupations, such as farming and ranching. For three days in March, about 30 K-State agronomy students participated in a study that may help make this process easier and safer.
The study was conducted by Jenny Adams from the Baylor Research Institute of Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital and Shannon Jordan from Texas Woman’s University Department of Kinesiology. They came to K-State March 12-14 to measure oxygen consumption, heart rates and other physical factors of student volunteers as they did some routine farm chores.
The purpose of the study was to gather data on the physical demands of specific tasks so that medical professionals can have better information to guide the recovery of agricultural producers who are recovering from a cardiac problem event.
The question for both cardiac patients and their medical care providers is: What kind of strenuous activities around the farm are appropriate for producers recovering from a cardiac problem, and at what point in the recovery process are they appropriate?
“The main goal of this research is to publish recommended guidelines regarding heart rates and workloads reached while performing typical farming tasks. These guidelines will be used by professionals in cardiac rehabilitation,” Adams said.
This information could help a producer appropriately train at higher intensities in cardiac rehab to find out if he or she can safely return to work.
In this study, which was conducted at K-State’s Agronomy North Farm, students were asked to perform the following tasks:
- Shovel 100 pounds of seed/feed into a wheelbarrow
- Load 10 square bales of hay weighing 65 pounds each into the bed of a truck
- Load two 50-pound bags of seed into each of eight hopper boxes
- Dig holes with a post hole digger for 3 minutes
While performing these tasks, the students were asked to wear a portable oxygen consumption mask strapped to their bodies. This allowed the research team to discover the physiological difficulty of standard farming work tasks. The heart rate of the students was also measured as they performed the tasks.
Students involved in the study were not compensated. Their hope is that the information collected will benefit future farmers who have heart-related illness return to work and be physically able to perform the tasks required of a farmer, Adams said.
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.
Story by: Steve Watsonswatson@ksu.eduK-State Research & Extension News
Jenny Adams is at 214-820-1395 or jennya@BaylorHealth.edu