Saturday, February 19, 2011

My heart is in better shape than my legs

For this College of Health and Human Sciences mini-marathon deal, we were all provided the opportunity to participate in body composition testing as well as cardiovascular fitness testing.

For body composition, I had to put on a swim suit and sit in a giant egg thing all Mork and Mindy style. It's called a BodPod and is a very sophisticated piece of equipment that measures fat mass and fat free mass through air displacement plethysmography. That's a fancy way of saying changes in air pressure are used to determining total body volume and with a measure of weight, there are calculations that can be used to derive fat mass and fat free mass. No real surprises. My percent body fat is 22%. That puts me in the fitness, but not athlete range. About what I would expect since I would consider myself somewhat fit, but no where close to an athlete.

The second test was for cardiovascular fitness. The outcome was a measure of maximal oxygen consumption or VO2 max. VO2 max depends on how much blood can be pumped by the heart in one minute, the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen, and the amount of exercising skeletal muscle and that muscles' ability to use the oxygen supplied by the blood. My result completely surprised me. I've been working out fairly regularly over the past year, but I wouldn't say I'm in great shape. I can barely run 3 miles without dying! My VO2 max is 52 ml Oxygen/ kg-min. That puts me in the 99th percentile for girls my age and my cardiovascular fitness is "superior." What? Really? I would expect Lance Armstrong to be in the 99th percentile and to be considered to have superior cardiovascular fitness, but me? Not so much. Problem is, I'm being compared with all women my age. And most people in the US are sedentary. So if you compare me to sedentary people, then being in the 99th percentile is sad and logical at the same time. I looked into the situation a bit more and will post on that tomorrow. Get excited!

1 comment:

Kevin @ said...

How much did it cost to get in one of those futuristic machines? I'd live to try one day!