HPER fitness assessments gain popularity

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Five years ago, HPER Fitness Center Director Ary Servedio created a program to give UCA students and faculty the information they need to implement a workout program to achieve their personal fitness goals.

The program has become popular, serving between 60 to 80 students and faculty a month.

“There is a lot of information in the media that can be confusing at times with so many products claiming to give quick and painless results,” Servedio said. “Many people resort to one diet after another in search of the magic bullet that will yield those quick and painless results. The best piece of advice I can give to someone is there is no magic bullet to quick and easy fitness and low body weight.”

Qualified staff members perform a series of fitness tests that measure individuals in the following areas: cardio-respiratory fitness; muscular strength and endurance; and body composition and flexibility. Assessment activities include a bicycle ergo meter test, sit-ups, push-ups, a sit and reach exercise and a skin fold caliper test that determines body mass index.

The purpose of a fitness assessment is to identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Results are compared with other individuals of the same gender and age and ranked from poor to excellent.

The assessment takes about an hour and is administered by one of four skilled workers. Lindsay Poulsen, is a senior double major in dietetics and exercise science, is one of those workers.

“My favorite part about the assessments is seeing all the great results my clients achieve from them,” Poulsen said. “It’s just an awesome feeling when you know you have truly helped someone accomplish a goal that they worked so hard to achieve.

“These assessments are helpful because they make people aware of their current fitness levels and sometimes they are wake-up calls to those who heading down the path to some long-term, health-related complications because of their current lifestyle.”

At a follow-up meeting the tester goes over the test results and outlines a cardio and weight training workout designed to help the individual achieve his or her fitness goals. The tester also demonstrates the fitness room machines and weight machines to ensure their proper use.

“Often people either work out too hard and end up injuring themselves and they never work out again, or they don’t work hard enough, don’t see results and they become discouraged and quit,” Servedio said. “This program offers students a service that gives them proper information on how to start and continue a safe and effective workout program based on their current health and fitness levels and the goals they want to achieve.”

Appointments can be made in person at the fitness center. Participants receive an information sheet with guidelines for the day of the test. Some individuals with certain medical conditions may need to get a physician’s clearance before the HPER Center employees can prescribe a workout program for them.

Servedio wants the UCA population to know that repeated research has shown the best way to stay fit and fight off America’s most common diseases – heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and certain cancers – is to eat a healthy diet and stay physically active.

If you have concerns about your health, if you want to lose weight or advance beyond your current level of fitness, an assessment can be the catalyst to your success.

“The students at UCA need to know that fitness is something not achieved overnight,” Poulsen said, “but it is something that our culture takes for granted, and the results show with our obesity and overweight populations increasing. There are 1440 minutes in each day, so try to set aside at least 30 minutes of each day to devote to exercise.”

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