If you have been inactive for a while, you may be wondering if it’s safe for you to start exercising. Or maybe you’re a fitness buff and want to know how to improve your performance. Or perhaps you’re struggling with a medical illness causing exercise intolerance, undiagnosed fatigue and muscle pain. Or you’re overweight and struggling with weight loss. In all cases, the Human Performance Lab at Samaritan Athletic Medicine Center (The SAM) can help you move forward.
“Testing your performance gives you an objective measurement of individual fitness and we can use that to compare to others in your same age group,” said Joshua Lenhof, DO, from The SAM. “Getting information about how your body is responding to exercise can help you be more effective in your fitness goals.”
Most people who come to the performance lab are looking to measure their health and fitness in a way that lets them set goals and improve. Occasionally, there are people who feel tired or run down all the time, or have had difficulty losing weight. Dr. Lenhof notes that if an underlying medical issue like a hormonal or thyroid imbalance is not the issue, performance testing may be able to help pinpoint the problem.
“The tests we give provide valuable information that you can use to improve your well-being and make better choices for your health,” said Dr. Lenhof.
Tests Offered at the Human Performance Lab
When you come to the lab, there are a variety of tests that may be useful for you depending on your goals and medical conditions.
1. Resting Metabolic Rate
Nutrition labels on our food products are based on a typical adult 2,000 calorie per day diet. This is often not the case for many individuals who struggle with weight issues. This test provides an accurate number of calories your body burns in a 24-hour period by analyzing the air you exhale while at rest.
Who it helps:
- People struggling to lose weight.
- People who need to lose weight for other medical issues such as blood pressure control, diabetes, surgery, arthritis joints and other metabolic syndromes.
Once you know your resting metabolic rate you can calculate a range of how many calories your body needs each day. A scientific dietary plan can be constructed using this number.
2. Maximal Aerobic Fitness Test
During a maximal aerobic fitness test, you will wear a mask while exercising on a stationary bike. The test becomes more and more difficult until you can no longer continue. A computer will analyze the air you exhale to determine how well your lungs use oxygen and your subsequent fitness level. It also tells us a lot about your lung function, and your cardiovascular function during exercise.
Who it helps:
- People who have been inactive but are interested in starting an exercise program, or have a medical condition that may limit activity, this test can help set safe goals using your current fitness level.
- Recreational athletes who are interested in improving their aerobic fitness. The test can provide a reference point for improvement and will help your physician decide on a training program to give you the most benefit.
- People who have undiagnosed exercise intolerance, muscle pain with exercise, or chronic undiagnosed fatigue.
“Learning your numbers and getting a fitness program that is tailored to your specific metabolic needs is the boost that some people need to find success,” said Dr. Lenhof.
3. Exercise Metabolic Testing
During exercise metabolic testing you will run on a treadmill in the cardiopulmonary laboratory in the second floor of Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. After reaching your maximal exercise ability, we draw blood over a period of 10 minutes after you get off the treadmill.
Who it helps:
- People with undiagnosed muscle fatigue, muscle pain, or exercise intolerance.
- People who have an otherwise negative work up from their doctor for chronic fatigue.
- People with rare muscle/metabolic diseases.
Request an appointment for performance testing at The SAM or request a referral from your primary provider if this type of testing is indicated.
Get tips for staying active in the winter and exercising during the rainy season.