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Healthy Balance

New Workout Plan? See the Science Behind Exercise [VIDEO]

With swimsuit season approaching, many people are looking to improve their overall physical fitness by starting a new workout plan, joining a group exercise class or even hiring a personal trainer.

And while the idea of wearing a swimsuit can quickly inspire us to exercise, we don’t often stop to ask if the workout plan we’re scrambling to adopt makes physiological sense.

Test Your Fitness Level First

That’s where the UVA Exercise Physiology Core Lab (EPCL) comes in. Experts at the lab perform a variety of fitness assessments, including:

  • V02 Max or maximal oxygen consumption (bike or treadmill) – maximum amount of oxygen you can use during intense physical activity; indicates aerobic fitness
  • Body composition – uses air displacement to determine body density; indicates the amount of fat relative to size or body fat percentage
  • Lactate threshold – measures activity at which blood lactate exceeds resting values; predicts highest activity level you can maintain
  • Resting metabolism – measures the amount of energy needed for normal body functioning at rest

Fitness Plans: Safe and Realistic

As Lab Director Art Weltman explains, the lab helps people create realistic fitness goals based on their current capabilities.

“We can tell people where they are right now and what they can do safely to design an exercise program, so that they don’t do too much too soon,” Weltman says.

While the lab offers a number of evaluations for a variety of fitness levels, from beginners wanting to improve overall health to athletes looking to achieve peak performance, all have a common goal: measuring ability.

“We can establish a baseline and talk to people about how to get involved in a safe and effective exercise program,” Weltman says.

See the Fitness Lab in Action

To learn more about how the EPCL evaluates fitness and performance, check out this video.


For more information or to make an appointment, call the EPCL at 434.982.3565.

Still not sure about getting an assessment? Watch this video to learn more about how the Bod Pod works.

Tags: exercise

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