Modern equipment takes NWU's sport science to a new level

Issued by North West University
Johannesburg, Apr 2, 2020

Have you ever wondered where the iconic Superman goes to maintain his excellent physique? It is quite probably to the sport science division of the new Centre for Health and Human Performance (CHHP) of the North-West University (NWU), especially now that it has acquired another ultramodern piece of exercise equipment that is the first of its kind in the country.

The most recent addition to this centre's modern sports toys is a technologically advanced treadmill with a value of more than half a million rand.

What makes the Woodway treadmill different from a traditional treadmill is the safety harness to which sportspeople can attach themselves to eliminate the risk of falling - especially when they exercise or test themselves at high speed. This enables sportspeople to exercise, test or evaluate themselves at their full potential and performance, without the risk that injuries can wreck their season.

According to Dr Yolandi Willemse, head of the NWU's Institute for Sport Science and Biokinetics, the Woodway PRO XL treadmill is an absolute must for their training and service delivery for human performance in the exercise centre.

"The very best and elite athletes cannot stop talking about our new equipment. It not only takes service delivery to our athletes to the next level, but also presents an opportunity for new research - which was limited previously," she said.

The running deck of the treadmill is made of a soft rubber-like material, which places much less stress and shock on the body of sportspeople. "It gives you the feeling of 'running on air'," is the opinion of Dr Willemse.

The fact that the incline of the treadmill's broad running surface can be raised by as much as 25%, and that it can maintain a speed of up to 24km per hour, presents a good challenge even to the fittest and fastest of athletes.

"In the past, we have often seen that sportspeople do not want to give their best on a traditional treadmill, as there is a great risk of falling and sustaining serious injuries during a test or an exercise," says Kyra Duvenage, a sports scientist.

"This treadmill totally eliminates that risk, as the safety harness acts like a safety net if sportspeople should fall or trip. This enables us to do accurate measurements when athletes' VO2-Max (aerobic capacity test) is tested.

"It also provides us with the opportunity to do more tests and research on athletes with disabilities. In the past, we had a blind athlete who made use of our services. Unfortunately, the existing equipment was of such a nature that we could not exercise, evaluate or develop the athlete's full potential. This new treadmill, which is our third and most advanced one in the Woodway range, now makes it possible."

The NWU's Institute for Sport Science and Development falls under the recently established CHHP. Here leading scientific expertise can be applied to all their diverse services, clients and students. The CHHP combines the expertise and experience of the Institute of Psychology and Wellbeing, the Institute for Sport Science and Development, as well as the Institute for Biokinetics.

The NWU's Institute for Sport Science and Development is not only there to provide a service to professional athletes. The public is also welcome to make use of its specialised services and equipment, with expert staff who are on standby with advice and recommendations. They can help with any recreation and sports-related evaluations.

Please contact Dr Willemse and her sport science team at [email protected] or at 018 285 2493 for more information.

Who knows, perhaps you might come across a Marvel superhero...