By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Starting a new diet or exercise program is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions people make. With 2012 approaching, the Peterson Health and Wellness Center has some new tools that can help anyone, from someone who is just starting an exercise program to a marathon runner, reach their fitness goals.
Jennifer Crowley, HAWC exercise physiologist, said the HAWC received $62,000 in quality of life funds from U.S. Northern Command to purchase a gait analysis system, a BOD POD for body composition testing, and a unit for cardio pulmonary exercise testing.
“We looked at a bunch of different equipment that could help us with our injury rates, our profiles, the (percentage) of overweight (individuals) or increased abdominal circumference, and looked at what would benefit Team Pete the most,” Crowley said.
The gait analysis system video tapes users running on a treadmill from three different angles, Crowley said. “We can put the pictures up next to each other and see if they’re favoring a certain side or if they’re pronating or supinating.”
Crowley said that with the gait analysis, they will be able to prevent over-use injuries and reduce the number of individuals on a profile. The system can also be used to fit an individual with the proper footwear.
The BOD POD body composition test gives a good baseline for those just beginning a fitness regimen and can be used regularly to check progress, Crowley said. “There will be a huge benefit for people who start out not losing weight as fast as they want, but if we can see the change in body composition it leads to people staying on their program a little bit longer.”
For accurate results from the BOD POD, users must wear tight fitting clothing like a swimsuit, Speedo or compression shorts and a sports bra, and users should take the test as least two hours after eating, drinking or exercising. To do the test, users simply sit in the BOD POD unit for about two minutes. The test uses air displacement to calculate body density and body fat. “You shut the pod and the air displaces. When the door shuts it will sound like something’s panting next to you as it fills with air. You can kind of feel the compression and then the test is over,” Crowley said.
The cardio pulmonary exercise testing system is a sub-max VO2 test for an individual’s anaerobic threshold and training zones. Testers put on a breathing mask to measure the oxygen they are using, a heart rate monitor and either use the treadmill or bike, Crowley said. The test measures resting metabolic rate and configures where a person’s anaerobic and baseline training zones should be. “We can basically walk through a test and give them a whole personal wellness program based on this machine,” she said.
Anyone with access to the base is able to ask for any of the tests and, while these tests would cost hundreds of dollars to perform off base, everything at the HAWC is free of charge.
To schedule an appointment or for information, call 556-4292.