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Exercise & Save A Life (Maybe Your Own) – With the Help Of Our Pelotonia Fellowships

Exercise & Save A Life (Maybe Your Own) – With the Help Of Our Pelotonia Fellowships

Erica Toivonen and Christine Knopp want to study your exercise habits (or lack of exercise habits) – and help educate you and motivate you to get into better shape.

And it could save your life.

Here's Erica (L) and Christine (R) and their friend, Gina Verhoff, practicing what they teach, during Pelotonia

“Science has determined that being more physically active can reduce your risk of getting cancer,” said Erica, who, along with Christine, is an exercise science major at Ohio State – and a Pelotonia Fellowship recipient.

“And cycling is the very best way to do this, right?” I asked.

“Well, it’s one of the best ways,” Erica said.

I’ll take that as a resounding yes!

Here’s how their Pelotonia Fellowship research/study works:

Erica is looking for men between the ages of 18 to 65 with a family history of prostrate, kidney or colon cancer; Christine is looking for women 18 to 65 with a family history of breast, colon or endometrial (uterine) cancer.

According to Christine, 24 percent of endometrial, 20 percent of breast, and 19 percent of colon cancer cases among women can be prevented if physical activity levels are adequate.

Here's the Bod Pod on display at COSI

Male and female subjects will head over to COSI (Center of Science and Industry) Columbus and the Life Exhibition, a joint exhibit and educational program of COSI and OSU. Once here, they will undergo a body composition assessment, comprehensive fitness testing and counseling on the importance of exercise, plus suggestions and recommendations on how to increase this level.

The body assessment measures a person’s percentage of body fat – and takes place in the super-cool Bod Pod.

According to Erica, a healthy percentage for men is between 5 to 20 percent; and between 15 to 30 percent for women.

If you are interested in participating in the study, and fit the guidelines, contact Erica and Christine at: 614-437-4472 or

Erica and Christine have been working at COSI for about a year, mostly doing research for other projects.

“We wanted to do our own research and then I heard about the Pelotonia Fellowships and it’s such an awesome opportunity,” Erica said. “We built our study around the idea that physical activity can reduce the risk of cancer and save lives.”

Erica practices what she preaches – and researches. She is a runner and climber – and rode in Pelotonia 11, with Christine, of course.

“It was awesome and incredible to see the support and so many people coming together to raise money for something so important,” she said.

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