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THREE-MINUTE TEST MAY CHANGE YOUR LIFE; CREATOR OF ROCKPORT WALKING TEST INTRODUCES NEW TEST FOR THE '90s

 ATLANTA, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Is improving your physical health worth three minutes of your time?
 If so, then you need to take The STEP Fit Test(TM), released by Dr. James Rippe at the Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
 Dr. Rippe, whose research in the '80s encouraged millions to take The Rockport Fitness Walking Test(C), was commissioned by The STEP Company in 1992 to conduct the first fitness test measuring behavioral (history of physical activity) and physiological variables (heart rate response to exercise). The research provides a solution to what some health and fitness experts regard as the country's biggest health obstacle: finding a starting point to introduce regular physical fitness into the lives of the 80 percent of Americans who do not exercise regularly.
 "With this research, we have an outstanding opportunity to reach out and bring the health benefits of regular physical activity to the widest possible audience of different ages and fitness levels," stated Dr. Rippe. "If we are able to do this, we will have entered a new era in health and fitness."
 Between September 1992 and June 1993, Dr. Rippe's laboratory conducted extensive research on 445 men and women of all fitness levels, ages 20 through 79. Forty men and 40 women were studied in the following decades: 20-29, 30-39, and 40-49 years old. Additionally, more than 200 individuals ages 50-59, 60-69 and 70-79 years old were studied, making this the first fitness study to include such a large number of individuals over 50.
 "Our work, and the work of other laboratories, has led us to new information about the vital role that an individual can play to improve their health, performance, and productivity," stated Dr. Rippe. "We must now focus on the individual's daily habits and activity and how they impact their long-term health."
 Each subject performed a maximum exercise tolerance test by walking on a treadmill at progressively higher inclines with direct measurement of their maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max). During the second testing each volunteer stepped up and down on a STEP platform set at eight inches at three varying cadences which were chosen based on predicted oxygen consumption levels derived from American College of Sports Medicine equations. The results indicated that an accurate measurement is obtained after the first stage and provided the basis for the development of a simple three-minute test that can be conducted in the home, in a health club, in a mall, or any place that provides an elevated step eight inches in height.
 The three-minute test, known as The Step Fit Test(TM), is based on the correlations found between direct measurement of maximum oxygen consumption measured on the treadmill and a variety of parameters measured during the submaximal step test on the eight-inch platform. The individual's heart response to exercise, their age, sex, body weight, and for the first time, level of physical activity are factored into The STEP Fit Test(TM) equations. The activity level, which accounts for the behavioral component of the test, is based upon the Physical Activity Questionnaire, developed by Dr. Anthony Jackson for use by NASA.
 Having observed the subjects perform the procedure with relative success in all cases, Dr. Rippe's research has led him to declare Fitness Stepping(TM) as the exercise best suited to meet the fitness needs of the vast number of inactive adults. Fitness Stepping(TM), developed by Dr. Rippe and industry expert Linda Wilkins, is a modified version of step training that offers a simple, easily accomplished step exercise program with easy-to-learn moves and choreography.
 To determine an individual's correct exercise program, The STEP Fit Test(TM) results are matched on the "Fitness Stepping(TM) Program" chart which provides a personal program. The program entails 10 weeks of Fitness Stepping(TM) to be maintained three-to-four days a week for a prescribed number of minutes based on the individual's test results. Incremental increases are included to account for increases in aerobic capacity during the program. At the end of the 10 weeks, The STEP Fit Test(TM) is taken again to determine the new aerobic fitness level and the next Fitness Stepping(TM) program.
 "Fitness Stepping(TM) is the type of activity which has been demonstrated in major studies to result in decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases," stated Dr. Rippe. "Because it is low impact, easy to learn, can utilize simple choreography, and most people can experience success in their first session, Fitness Stepping(TM) is a very appropriate exercise for this wide audience."
 -0- 7/21/93
 /CONTACT: Dean Trevelino or Charles Talbert of A. Brown-Olmstead, 404-659-0919, for The STEP Company/


CO: The STEP Company ST: Georgia IN: LEI SU: PDT

BR-BN -- AT002 -- 3782 07/21/93 09:09 EDT
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jul 21, 1993
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