VANCOUVER, WA — The Nautilus Institute, formed in March by Nautilus Inc. to research fitness and educate the public, is launching its $10 million research program by looking at cardiovascular workouts and stretching before exercise. The efforts are part of the company's category growth initiative and an effort to offer its customers with sound research that will help them adopt lifelong fitness habits, said Ron Arp, spokesperson for the company.

The Nautilus Institute commissioned the Sports Performance Clinic at the University of California at Davis to perform research that would lead to a more complete understanding of the appropriateness and functionality of various cardiovascular exercise machines.

The institute also will develop and present industry guidance on the appropriateness of vigorous stretching before exercise.

“There's a lot of confusion about stretching,” Arp said. “Some say stretch vigorously and others say not at all. We want to bring to the public a prevailing point of view that is research backed.”

The Nautilus Institute also will evaluate knowledge regarding the merits of achieving optimal weight and body health through proper nutrition, exercise or both.

“It sounds simplistic, but you'd be surprised how much confusion is out there,” Arp said. “[There's an] idea that women can starve and walk themselves to great health and men can lift themselves to great health. But proper strength, cardio and nutrition as well as rest are necessary for good health.”

Arp said that the institute could become its own entity someday or could fuel an industry-wide initiative. In the meantime, he said that Nautilus felt an obligation to step up and lead the way in educating the public.