Students in Mrs. Lawson’s anatomy classes perform Harvard Step Test

Earlier this week, students in Mrs. Lawson’s Anatomy & Physiology classes conducted Harvard Step Tests to analyze the cardiorespiratory fitness of their classmates.

The test was developed in 1943 at the Harvard Fatigue Laboratories during WWII. It is based on the heart rate recovery following a given work load of five minutes or until exhaustion. There are many variations of stepping tests. The students in Mrs. Lawson’s classes stepped up onto platforms at an increased speed that could be sustained for five minutes.

Students recorded their resting heart rates before exercising. They then took steps up and down on a stepping stool for a certain number of time. After exercising they took their heart rate again and kept recording it every few minutes until it returned to the previously recorded resting heart rate.

This test provides a good yardstick for measuring overall cardiovascular fitness by monitoring changes in heart rate during and after exercise. The faster the heart rate goes down (recovery rate), the higher the level of cardiovascular fitness. After exercise, the students calculated their index of physical fitness using a formula.

Photos from the lab can be found below.