Today the EP NEPA crew got the first glimpse of what they really signed up for.
To start the day, the class met at Dr. Sweeney’s office and after some brief introductions, proceeded down to the new Leahy Hall to conduct the first bout of fitness tests. Assistant Professor Michael Landram introduced the group to the Bruce protocol treadmill stress test and the various diagnostic tools that would measure heart rate, oxygen consumption (VO2), blood lactate levels, arterial oxygen saturation and perceived exertion during the exam.
The test itself required participants to run on the treadmill through 3 minute stages, each with progressively increasing speeds and inclines.
Most members of the class reached a point of exhaustion at or around the 5th stage, peaking at a speed of 5.0 miles per hour up an 18% incline.
This enabled the determination of each subject’s VO2max, or maximum oxygen consumption.
After the Bruce test, the class had lunch on the campus green and returned to the Loyola Science Center. There, Dr. Sweeney and Professor Fay gave a summary of the requirements for the course, and outlined the day’s remaining tests. The Harvard Step test was next on the docket. This required the class to step up and down from a block for 5 minutes. The size of these blocks varied a few inches based on each participant’s respective height. Immediately after the five minutes of exercise, heart rate measurements were taken for alternating 30 second intervals over the course of several minutes to determine the post-exercise decrease in heart rate. The faster the decline in heart rate, the fitter the subject was, and the less “oxygen debt” from exercise there was to make up. These heartbeat numbers were inserted into an equation, along with other variables, to produce a result that could be evaluated relative to a fitness index.
Lastly, the group performed the muscular strength section of the President’s adult fitness challenge. For this, we had to complete as many half sit-ups as possible in one minute, and separately, as many pushups as possible.
Tomorrow, the class will conclude fitness testing with the Wingate Anaerobic Test and a timed 1.5 mile run.
At the end of the course, the human performance tests will be repeated to determine the effect of the training done during the 3 1/2 weeks of the course.
Ryan Clarkson & Gared Zaboski, for the EP NEPA crew…