Capstone Ideas, Ideas, & More Ideas…

It’s capstone time! That rings as both terrifying and exciting. As a senior with only two more semesters left of undergrad, the task of completing a capstone project that consists of both a research article and applied project component has me feeling the pressure. I’m confident though that upon completion of these I will have a better grasp on the direction I may take after graduation. So here it goes.

Research Article

  1. How can we transfer children’s enjoyment of sports and play into lifetime physical activities?
  2. Why are physical activity participation rates so low even though people are aware of its benefits?
  3. Does physical activity and exercise improve mental health?
  4. Is there a correlation between eating disorders and excessive exercise?
  5. Are students receiving sufficient time in physical education class?

The first topic, How can we transfer children’s enjoyment of sports and play into lifetime physical activities?, would require support from the disciplines of Exercise Psychology, Epidemiology, Psychology, and Sociology. I am very interested in the possibility of finding an answer to this question considering I am still young myself and would not only like to share my knowledge with children but remain active throughout my own life. This could become challenging however if the research behind this topic is slim as researchers are just beginning to scratch the surface.

The second question, Why are physical activity participation rates so low even though people are aware of its benefits?, is another topic that explodes my curiosity. What are the reasons individuals cease to remain active, it is mind boggling to me. In regards to answering this question, Exercise Psychology, Psychology, and Sociology are disciplines that would go hand in hand in attempting to make sense of the topic. This question could be challenging because it make lack sustenance in providing legitimate answers. For example, many responses may be as simple as having “no time” or simply not possessing the motivation to exercise.

Does physical activity and exercise improve mental health? This topic should be pretty self-explanatory, but hey, who am I to speak for everyone. Covering the disciplines of Exercise Physiology and Exercise Psychology, this topic could pose issues in that it is too basic and repetitive. Readers may find the topic to be boring as they more than likely have a strong opinion of the matter without having to reach the research I find on the topic.

Idea number four: Is there a correlation between eating disorders and excessive exercise? This topic is very interesting to me as I have always been perplexed by the lifestyle of someone who has or is suffering from an eating disorder. Then, to question whether excessive exercise can play a role, is even more intriguing. The disciplines that would reside among this topic are Exercise Nutrition and Exercise Psychology. Some trouble I could come across with this topic however, is the limited research that is out to date. There is endless research on eating disorders in general, but ones that are exercise specific may be more rare.

Lastly, Are students receiving sufficient time in physical education class? is a topic that could serve well for future physical educators and the school systems they work in. I am interested to see whether or not the numbers pose unrest or if schools are allotting enough time. Health Education, Health Promotion, and Physical Education are the disciplines that would work together in supporting this topic but could again be limited, in that the numbers show students are not getting enough PA and the solutions are at a stand still.

  Applied Project

  1. Shadow professionals in their line of work
  2. Ecuador video
  3. Health Awareness Presentations
  4. Volunteer with Special Olympics NH
  5. Interview exercise and health professionals

I am pretty set on idea #1, which is to shadow (at least) 10 different professionals in their line of work, be it Physical Therapy or Dietetics, but I’ve also included 4 other potential ideas. This project would consist of me not only getting to witness first hand what a day in their life as a professional would look like, but I would also be able to interview them on their journey before their job as well as their aspirations for the future. This would not only give me a glimpse into the many different professions I could pursue with my major, but it would also get their name out in the world through my showcasing of their achievements. The biggest challenge I may find with this project is the availability of these people and tracking down ones that are willing to let me join them during their workday.

Constructing a video from my time in Ecuador is another idea I have. I’ve served with a volunteer medical mission team to Guayaquil for the past two years where we have served the children in performing pro-bono, spine and orthopedic surgeries. By creating a video of our experience and transformation of these children throughout the years, I would not only be reliving the fulfilling experience I’ve had, but I would be able to share and showcase the work of our medical team and the miracles they perform. A challenge with this project could land in the technology aspect as I am not versed in videography. Simply put, my vision of the video could be much more glamorous than what I produce.

I could also take on the project of presenting to local schools on topic of health awareness. This would help to solidify my knowledge on the topic while simultaneously sharing it with younger generations with the hope that pieces of my presentation would reside with them. This could be a challenging feat as I would not only have to create a legitimate presentation that is appropriate for a variety of ages, but I would also have to coordinate a showing time with various schools.

Another extremely fulfilling project I have considered is volunteering for Special Olympics. As an Applied Exercise and Health Studies major, giving my time to these individuals and helping them through means of sport would grant me the experience of working with such an incredible population of people as well as give them my support and guidance. A challenge that I could come across in foreseeing this project through is the time commitment that may be required.

Lastly, and very similar to the first, would be to interview Exercise and Health Professionals about their career. Instead of shadowing them in their work place for the day, I would utilize brief meetings (in person or by phone) to interview them and get a sense of their timeline in formulating the career they now have today. This could have the potential of allowing me to reach out to a great number of people and hearing their stories in which I could share to others. A major set back that I would have to keep in mind were I to pursue this project would be that it may be hard to justify why it serves as worthwhile to my community.

So many ideas but I’m excited to see where they take me! Tune back in to see what I come with!


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2 Comments on “Capstone Ideas, Ideas, & More Ideas…

  1. Louisa,
    Hey girl! I find your research question, “Is there a correlation between eating disorders and excessive exercise,” very interesting. I feel like you could find a lot of varying data in this topic. Would you be focusing on one specific type of eating disorder or a couple different types of eating disorders? Also, what would you categorize as excessive exercise? More than four hours at the gym? I find this topic really intriguing, however, I do like your other research question, “Are students receiving sufficient time in physical education class.” Are you thinking of researching a specific grade level or elementary school in general? I feel like physical activity and being outside is very important for young students. When I was younger I went to a Waldorf school and basically their education model was imagination and play, so therefore, I was able to experience most of preschool/kindergarten outside. As for your applied project, I like all of those ideas! I especially like the first idea, however, I do feel like this is an ambition project, especially if you’re going to interview ten professionals! It is a great idea though because you’ll get a lot of insight and knowledge! The other idea that really struck me as interesting would be your Ecuador video. Do you already have photos and videos from that trip? it sounds amazing! Keep up the great work 🙂

  2. I love all the RA topics. I think I share your concern about the first one being perhaps hard to research on a couple of levels (search terms more obscure, maybe less data and research to deal with overall), but I think the other four are all great contenders, so I’d say just lean towards the one that really captivates your interest the most.

    Honestly, I think all of your APs would work really well! If you like the shadowing, that could be absolutely awesome assuming you can get it organized and find enough people to let you tag along (and don’t forget to work out the privacy issues with them, as they may have liability issues or just privacy regulations that mean you can’t be present for certain kinds of work). You will want to document your experience in a way that makes it useful to a wider group (students, early-career professionals, etc) without again intruding on privacy or compromising job security for the people you shadow. So lots to work out and organize, but it would be terrific! Again, most of these seem promising, so just keep me posted as you go forward!

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