By Wesley Lefferts, Ph.D. Candidate, Syracuse University
I received a Foundation Research Grant from ACSM to compare the effects of acute aerobic exercise on arterial stiffness, cerebral perfusion and cognitive function in middle-aged hypertensive and normotensive adults. Increases in artery stiffness have been strongly linked to detrimental changes in cerebral blood flow and cognitive function with aging and disease, and aerobic exercise is recognized as a potent means to improve artery stiffness, blood pressure and slow cognitive decline. Hypertensive adults, however, may not experience reductions in artery stiffness following exercise, which may alter the typically beneficial effects of exercise on the brain and cognition.
Receiving this grant from ACSM has allowed me to pursue my own line of research while directly supporting my dissertation. Additionally, the ACSM-FRG will strengthen my ability to get further funding in pursuit of a post-doctoral research position in the next step of my career. My appreciation for the ACSM Foundation in supporting my research cannot go understated as it will likely serve as a springboard for the rest of my research and academic career.
I would advise applicants to apply for the funding at any opportunity they get. ACSM has a long legacy of supporting student research and if your research questions align with the mission of ACSM it is well worth pursuing despite the acute stress of applying for funding! Even if you do not receive funding on the first submission, ACSM grant reviewers provide helpful comments that strengthen your study and further develop you as a scientist. More information is available on the ACSM website if you’re interested in learning more.