BLOOMINGTON, IN -- A partnership between the U.S. Navy and Indiana University (IU) designed to increase physical fitness among sailors recently was extended for a second year.

The Navy’s Senior Health Assessment Program Enterprise (SHAPE) helps sailors aged 40 and older prepare for their Physical Readiness Tests and achieve their personal health goals.

Fitness and exercise science experts from the university’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation are hired by the Navy to live on military sites at Pearl Harbor, HI, San Diego and Norfolk, VA, for the SHAPE program.

“SHAPE really is a 'win-win' for the Navy and our academic program,” Carol Kennedy-Armbruster, principal investigator of the service contract for IU, told student reporters. “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.”

Kennedy-Armbruster said the program has been well-received by sailors who reported benefits such 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.

One of last year's IU SHAPE employees went on to enlist in the military as an officer, while one of his colleagues became a permanent health and fitness expert for the Navy, she said.