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Time to step up: test your cardio fitness

Stop by the Health 1st Wellness Wednesday table between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Nov. 5 in the Children’s Hospital lobby to test your cardiovascular fitness.

by April Taylor
MUSC Wellness Center
Do you consider yourself physically fit?  Would you be able to walk up five flights of stairs without stopping?  The five-flight test is a quick judge of your cardiovascular fitness.
Individuals who are successful at the five-flight test have been found to have maximum oxygen uptake values of at least 20. Oxygen uptake is the body’s ability to transport and utilize oxygen during incremental exercise, thus helping to indicate the cardiovascular fitness of the individual.  Oxygen uptake values greater than 20, indicating a higher fitness level, are desirable. 
One of the ways that cardiovascular fitness can be analyzed is through a field-test known as the YMCA 3-minute Step Test.  The test is conducted by having the participant step up and down on a single 12-inch step following a 96 beats per minute cadence (24 steps per minute).  Following the completion of the three minutes, the participant sits quietly.  The participant’s pulse is taken for one full minute.  Results are compared with a standard chart based on age and gender. 
While the step test is suitable as a baseline of cardiovascular fitness for most individuals, there may be situations where it is not appropriate. As with any exercise program or testing, always consult with your physician before you begin. For severely de-conditioned individuals, a one-minute pretest may be taken.  
For a complete fitness assessment, stop by the MUSC Wellness Center for information. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 792-9238 or the Free Weight desk at 792-5754. A full fitness assessment, which takes about one hour, includes a health questionnaire, additional cardiovascular testing, body composition, and tests of muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and stability. The fee for members is $40. Students receive one free assessment per year. An individualized report with recommendations will be generated following the assessment.

Friday, Oct. 31, 2008

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.