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Carol Kennedy-Armbruster
Department of Kinesiology

Tracy James
University Communications

Lisa Sexauer
U.S. Navy

Last modified: Tuesday, September 22, 2009

U.S. Navy, Indiana University team up for SHAPE

Sept. 22, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The U.S. Navy has extended for a second year a unique partnership that allows fitness and exercise science experts from Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation to help sailors get into better shape and to maintain healthy lifestyles.

Fitness specialists hired by the School of HPER for the Navy will again live on Navy sites at Pearl Harbor, San Diego and Norfolk, Va., as they help sailors ages 40 and older prepare specifically for their Physical Readiness Tests, and also work toward other health-related goals. The program, now in its second year, is called Senior Health Assessment Program Enterprise, or SHAPE.

"SHAPE really is a 'win-win' for the Navy and our academic program at the School of HPER," said Carol Kennedy-Armbruster, principal investigator of the service contract for IU. "The fitness specialists, most of whom graduated from IU, work with Navy sailors to encourage and promote proper physical activity programs to enhance mission readiness. The program helps IU faculty keep a pulse on what's happening in the 'real world' and it allows our graduates to apply their skills and to give back by helping the sailors."

Lisa Sexauer, Mission Essential Branch Head for the Navy, and Kennedy-Armbruster will work together this year to create a system for monitoring best practices regarding the mission readiness and general health and wellness of the sailors.

More information about SHAPE can be found at

Carol Kennedy-Armbruster

Carol Kennedy-Armbruster

Print-Quality Photo

Kennedy-Armbruster said "giving back" was a reason given by several of the fitness specialists hired for the program this year. One of last year's inaugural SHAPE employees enlisted in the military as an officer while one of his colleagues was hired for a permanent health and fitness position in the Navy.

She said the program also has received enthusiastic feedback from sailors who reported such benefits as significant weight loss, increased running speed and a sense of empowerment regarding their personal health.

"One sailor who worked with Brad Roberts, one of our fitness specialist alums who is spending a second year at the Norfolk site, said their work together has helped him accept new ideals of physical training and reach several personal goals, including 'running without having hours or days of knee pain afterward,'" she said.

The School of HPER's fitness specialist bachelor's degree program is one of the few such four-year degree programs in the country.

For more information, contact Kennedy-Armbruster at 812-855-6083 and