• Position: Associate Professor, School of Health Sciences
  • Department: School of Health Sciences
  • Division: Exercise Science Division
  • Campus Address: Health Professions Building 1175
  • Phone: 989-774-2926
  • Email: nelso1rk@cmich.edu
  • Area(s) of Expertise: Obesity, Insulin Resistance, Exercise Physiology


  • HSC 220:  Basic Principles of Health Fitness
  • HSC/PES 308: Physiology of Sport and Exercise
  • HSC 503:  Health Implications of Obesity
  • HSC 547:  Health Risk Identification and Management
  • HSC 550: Stress Test Administration
  • HSC 551: Stress Testing Interpretation
  • HSC 634: Experimental Design in Exercise Science

Degrees and Universities:

B.S., Eastern Michigan University (2004), Psychology 
M.S., Eastern Michigan University (2007), Exercise Physiology 
Ph.D., University of Michigan (2013), Kinesiology

Research Area:

My research interests are focused on the understanding, and importantly applying, physical activity/exercise interventions aimed at reducing chronic disease risk with a particular emphasis on type 2 diabetes prevention. We have a number of ongoing studies in the laboratory related to examining the impact of acute exercise on smooth and skeletal muscle insulin action, the influence of exercise training on gestational diabetes prevention, and health benefits related to non-traditional forms of exercise (e.g., yoga).      


Haeny, T., Nelson, R., Ducharme, J., and Zuhl, M. (2019). The Influence of Exercise Workload Progression across Thirty-Six Sessions of Cardiac Rehabilitation on Functional Capacity. J Cardiovasc Dev Dis, 6: 1-8. In press.

Horowitz, J.F., Ortega, J.F., Hinko, A., Li, M., Nelson, R.K., and Mora-Rodriquez, R. (2018). Changes in markers for cardio-metabolic disease risk after only 1-2 weeks of a high saturated fat diet in overweight adults. PLoS One, 13(6): e0198372.

O'Neil, S., Thomas, A., Pettit-Mee, R., Pelletier, K., Moore, M., Thompson, J., Barton, C., Nelson, R., and Zuhl, M. (2018). Exercise Prescription Techniques in Cardiac Rehabilitation Centers in Midwest States. Clin Ex Physiol Assoc, 7(1): 8-14.

Boyd, C.N., Lannan, S.M., Zuhl, M.N., Mora-Rodriquez, R., Nelson, R.K. (2018). Objective and subjective measures of exercise intensity during thermo-neutral and hot yoga. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, 43(4): 397-402.

Mora-Rodriguez, R., Ramirez-Jimenez, M., Fernández-Elías, V.E., Guio de Prada, M.V., Morales-Palomo, F., Pallares, J.G., Nelson, R.K., Ortega, J.F. (2017). Effects of aerobic interval training on arterial stiffness and microvascular function in patients with metabolic syndrome. J Clin Hypertens, 20(1): 11-18.

Ortega, J.F., Morales-Palomo, F., Fernández-Elías, V., Hamouti, N., Bernardo, F.J., Martin-Diomeadios, R.C., Nelson, R.K., Horowitz, J.F., and Mora-Rodriguez, R. (2016). Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and oleate enhances exercise training effects in patients with metabolic syndrome. Obesity, 28(8): 1704-1711.

Mora-Rodriguez, R., Ortega, J.F., Guio de Prada, V., Fernández-Elías, V.E., Hamouti, N., Morales-Palomo, F., Martinez-Vizcaino, V., Nelson R.K. (2016). Effects of Simultaneous or Sequential Weight Loss Diet and Aerobic Interval Training on Metabolism Syndrome. Int J Sports Med, 37(4): 274-281.

Sessions, J., Borbeau, K., Rosinski, M., Szczygiel, T., Nelson, R., Sharma, N., and Zuhl, M.  Carbohydrate gel ingestion during running in the heat on markers of gastrointestinal distress. Euro J Sports Sci. 2016 (epub ahead of print). 

Mora-Rodriguez R, Ortega JF, Guio de Prada V, Fernández-Elías VE, Hamouti N, Morales-Palomo F, Martinez-Vizcaino V, Nelson R.K.  Effects of Simultaneous or Sequential Weight Loss Diet and Aerobic Interval Training on Metabolim Syndrome. Int J Sports Med. 2015 (epub ahead of print).

Fernández-Elías VE, Ortega JF, Nelson R.K., Mora-Rodriguez R. Relationship between muscle water and glycogen recovery after prolonged exercise in the heat in humans.  Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015. 115(9): 1919-1926. 

Nelson, R.K., and Horowitz, J.F.  Acute exercise ameliorates differences in insulin
resistance between physically active and sedentary overweight adults.  Appl Phyiol Nutr Metab. 2014 39(7): 811-818.

Cornford, A.S., Hinko, A., Nelson, R.K., Barkan, A.L., Horowitz, J.F. Rapid development of insulin resistance with overeating is not accompanied by robust changes in skeletal muscle glucose or lipid metabolism. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2013 38(5): 512-519.

Nelson, R.K., Horowitz, J.F., Holleman, R.G, Swartz, A.M., Strath, S.J., Kriska, A.M. and Richardson, C.R. Daily physical activity predicts degree of insulin resistance: a cross-sectional observational study using 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013 (10).

McGregor, S.J., Weese, R.K., Ratz, I.K.  Performance modeling in an Olympic 1500-m finalist: a practical approach.  J Strength Cond Res. 2009 (9): 2515-2523.

Invited Editorial:

Richardson, C.R. and Nelson, R.K.  Active Voice: Have We Actually Established Links Between Physical Inactivity, Low Aerobic Capacity and Diabetes? Sports Medicine Bulletin: A weekly news and information resource from the American College of Sports Medicine.