Michelle Zitta

Age-related Changes in Running Economy


Mixing one of her passions in life with her research, Michelle Zitta completed a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) project last year by looking at age-related changes in running economy, i.e., “how much oxygen a person uses while running at a certain pace, and how efficiently they use that oxygen,” says Michelle.

“I had runners from ages 19 to 83 running on a treadmill in the exercise science lab in the UNH Field House, while measuring their breathing, heart rate, muscle endurance, flexibility, and other factors. My fellowship was a great way to get to know faculty in the exercise science department and do something really fun and interesting,” says Zitta, who majored in kinesiology and runs track and cross-country at UNH.

“I met runners from all over New England and gained valuable experience and knowledge about the research process, which put me a little bit ahead of the game in grad school. In the future, when I start to work on my thesis, I’ll have a better time frame of how the research is actually going to proceed, and the importance of using the right statistics.

“After I graduate I plan to work in cardiology, either in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation or clinical stress testing, and eventually I’d like to go back to school to get my doctorate.”