Harvard step test
The Harvard step test is a type of cardiac stress test for detecting and diagnosing cardiovascular disease. It is also a good measurement of fitness and a person's ability to recover after a strenuous exercise by checking the recovery rate. The more quickly the heart rate returns to its normal rhythm.
|Harvard step test|
|Purpose||cardiac stress test|
It is a kind of cardiovascular endurance test. The test computes the capability of the individual to the exercise, continuously for extended intervals of time without tiring.
The person who is taking the test, he/she has to do steps up and down on a platform in a cycle of two seconds. The height of the platform is about 50 cm or 20 inches(usually 16 inches for women). The rate of 30 steps per minute must be sustained for five minutes or until exhaustion. To ensure the right speed, a metronome is used. Exhaustion is the point at which the subject cannot maintain the stepping rate for 15 seconds. The subject immediately sits down on completion of the test, and the heartbeats are counted for 1 to 1.5, 2 to 2.5, and 3 to 3.5 minutes.
The results are written down as time until exhaustion in seconds () and total heartbeats counted (). It is plotted into a simple fitness index equation:
|Good||83 - 96|
|Average||68 - 82|
|Low average||54 - 67|
The test was developed at Harvard University in 1943. Several modified versions of the original Harvard step test exist; examples include the Tecumseh step test and the Kasch step test. Another modified version, the Sharkey step test, was developed in the 1970s for use by the United States Forest Service at the University of Montana in Missoula.
- Brouha L, Health CW, Graybiel A. Step test simple method of measuring physical fitness for hard muscular work in adult men. Rev Canadian Biol, 1943; 2:86
- Top End Sports, Description of the Harvard Step Test
- Kasch FW, et al. A Step Test for Inducing Maximal Work. J Assoc Phys Ment Rehabil 19, 84-86. May-Jun 1965.