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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 258-261

Fitness scores of Indians assessed by the Harvard step test

Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Correspondence Address:
Om Lata Bhagat
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur - 342 005, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-8093.149751

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Background and Aim: The Harvard step test (HST) assesses the physical fitness of individuals. The standard 50.8 cm step of the HST is tailored to western anthropometrics and is rather high for the average Indian whose height is relatively less. Therefore, the height of the step is lower (41 cm) in the modified HST. Even so, it is unlikely that a single step-height will be appropriate for all Indians with different heights. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to verify the same in a group of Indian students with heights ranging from 1.45 to 1.83 m on 41 cm high step. Methods: This study was conducted on 74 healthy subjects in the age group of 17-22 years. Protocol comprises stepping up and down a 41 cm high step at a rate of 30 times/min for the duration, not >5 min. The total duration of stepping exercise and the post-exercise pulse count for 30 s after 1 min recovery was noted and used for calculating the physical fitness index (PFI). Results: The height of subjects positively and significantly correlated to the fitness score and also to the duration of exercise. The mean fitness scores of subjects with height ≥1.66 m were significantly higher than mean scores of subjects with height <1.66 m. Conclusion: The shorter duration of effort and the lower score in short subjects may be due to muscle fatigue rather than cardio-respiratory impairment. Our findings suggest that the height of the step used in the HST should be adjusted according to the height of the subject. Considering our small sample size, further studies are required to delineate the effect of step height on PFI in HST.

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