The other day Peter shared an interesting fact with me that he’d learned from Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Aalia Desai – that just a 10% improvement in your cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) may reduce your risk of a premature death by a significant 15%! That seemed to me a pretty good reason to find out how fit I actually was.

So I decided to let Aalia, who works at the ExerScience Clinic, put me through an exercise stress test – a first for me. The ECG would monitor my heart rate and rhythm during my stress test.

She first prepped my skin with alcohol wipes to ensure that the electrodes would stick firmly to my chest area. Men, don’t fret if you have chest hair. The Clinic is highly prepared with a good supply of shaving kits that would make the best of barber shops envious. Once all the electrodes were firmly in place and leads connected to the computer screen we were almost ready to get started.

The other day Peter shared an interesting fact with me that he’d learned from Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Aalia Desai – that just a 10% improvement in your cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) may reduce your risk of a premature death by a significant 15%! That seemed to me a pretty good reason to find out how fit I actually was.

So I decided to let Aalia, who works at the ExerScience Clinic, put me through an exercise stress test – a first for me. The ECG would monitor my heart rate and rhythm during my stress test.

She first prepped my skin with alcohol wipes to ensure that the electrodes would stick firmly to my chest area. Men, don’t fret if you have chest hair. The Clinic is highly prepared with a good supply of shaving kits that would make the best of barber shops envious. Once all the electrodes were firmly in place and leads connected to the computer screen we were almost ready to get started.

Next came the Darth Vader mask.

Aalia fitted me out with the oxygen mask which would measure the expired air during my exercise session. This in turn would give an accurate measure of my aerobic capacity i.e. VO2 max. I chose the treadmill over the cycle for my ECG as I’ve always been a runner but have a love/hate relationship with the bike! Initially the mask felt a little claustrophobic, but within 30 seconds I adapted easily and waited for instruction.

Aalia guided me throughout the test, starting with a light 2-3-minute walking warm-up. Then I settled on a 9km jogging pace throughout the test. With every passing minute the treadmill would incline 1% until I reached my peak - for me, at a 10% gradient. As I was nearing my peak … failure! My breathing became more laboured to the point where I don’t think I could’ve run 30 seconds more. As soon as I reached my maximum exercise intensity, I was then guided through the recovery phase of the test, which was still monitoring my ECG and blood pressure for 2 minutes.

And then the report.

After my test, Aalia printed out my Exercise Testing Report. I booked a follow-up appointment where she talked me through it and gave me an exercise prescription.

So, you’re probably wondering what score I got. For me this is not a number to share and compare with others, but rather for me to improve on next time.

I highly recommend that if you’ve never had an ECG test done before, or had one a few years back, it may be time to get your VO2 warrant of fitness. I now have a starting point and a plan to move forward. Not only will I continue my strength workouts, but I’ll up my game doing some Fast Cardio™ at BodyTech.