Body Composition and Metabolism Lab
The overarching goal of our translational research program is to create and disseminate knowledge regarding the importance of habitual exercise and appropriate nutrition for optimal body composition as it relates to health status, with a special interest in women’s health across the lifespan and aging. Our research program is interdisciplinary with collaborations with experts in nutrition, the behavioral sciences and biomedical imaging.
Graded exercise tests are commonly performed to cardiorespiratory fitness. These tests are sometimes called ‘stress tests’ or a ‘GXT’ depending on the setting in which they are performed. Although many types of testing equipment may be used, exercise testing is most commonly perfomed using a cycle ergometer or treadmill. The American College of Sports Medicine outlines four primary purposes of exercise testing:
- Screening for the presence of cardiovascular disease
- Diagnosis of disease when symptoms are present
- Prognosis of the patient relative to their coronary artery disease risk
- Guiding the management of an individual, including for use as an exercise prescription.
Depending on the purpose, exercise can either be to exhaustion (maximal exercise) or a lower intensity (submaximal exercise) determined by a cardiologist or exercise physiologist. Fitness level is measured by gradually increasing workload until the patient becomes fatigued and is unable to continue, or once a target heart rate is acheived. For many of our adults, this simply means walking on a treadmill as the workload slowly increases. For highly fit indiviudlas, they may be asked to jog for a short portion of the test. Although additional time may be needed to prepare for the test, the time spent exercising usually lasts for only 8-12 minutes.
Prospective Members of the Center for Physical Activity and Health are asked to perform an exercise test to make sure it is safe for them to begin an exercise program. Current members are also provided an annual exercise test to monitor their health and track their fitness improvements. All of the exercise tests are performed under the supervision of our medical director, Dr. Jonathon Morrow. Your test will also be performed with graduate students certified in advanced cardiac life support.
Dual-emission X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is a method used to assess bone mineral density (BMD) and body composition. Bone mineral content, lean soft tissue, and fat mass are measured in many of the research studies performed in our lab. This method is one of the most accurate assessments of total body composition, and can also provide regional measurements of the hip, lumbar spine, and forearm. A typical measurement lasts between 5 and 25 minutes, during which an individual is asked to lie on their back as a scanning arm slowly moves over them. Once the assessment is complete, a body composition report is provided to the participant. The American College of Sports Medicine reported DXA is able to estimate percent body fat within 1.8%.
Osteopenia and osteoporosis are terms used to describe levels of low bone density which can occur in adults as they age. Regular screening can help you monitor the strength of your bones, help identify those at risk, and slow disease progression. Measuring your body composition prior to beginning an exercise program will provide estimate to track and monitor your progress. Annual DXA measurements are provided to members of our adult fitness center as part of our membership services.
For more information about the services offered through our fitness center please contact Stacey Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.