Human Performance Lab


Would you like to reach your fitness potential or would you like to increase your activity but need a medical evaluation? Under the guidance of a physician at the Human Performance Lab, people of all abilities can identify their body's strengths, weaknesses and physical potential. Athletes can learn how to improve their performance and avoid injury. People living with physical limitations or concerned about the risks of exercise can find out which types of exercises are safe and appropriate for abilities.

Our laboratory tests can be tailored to match your abilities and goals. We offer the following services:

Body Composition Testing

Are you starting a new exercise or nutrition regimen and would like to know your baseline body composition? We can measure your body composition by using the skin-fold thickness technique or our new BOD PODTM

Skin-fold technique: Measurements are taken at seven sites on the body to determine percent body fat. Wear shorts and a tank top. This service is not covered by medical insurance. The cost is $20.

BOD PODTM: Air displacement plethysmography is used in a non-invasive technique, measuring body density. Results include body fat and fat-free mass as a percentage and total kg of body weight. The cost is $75 to the general public, and $60 per test for OHSU employees, students, and March Wellness and Fitness members.

Diet Analysis

Find out where your calories are coming from and how much you are actually eating. This analysis requires recording what you eat for three days. One of these days should be a weekend day. Your food record will be analyzed and the results reviewed with you. You may download food record form and instructions here. This service may or may not be covered by medical insurance. Costs vary; call for additional information.

Resting Metabolic Rate Assessment

Get your resting metabolic rate measured to see how fast or slow your metabolism is. For this test you must fast for 12 hours. You may drink water but no caffeinated beverages. The test needs to be scheduled first thing in the morning. We request that you keep your activity level to a minimum the morning of the test in order to have a true resting result. The test itself involves lying on a bed, and breathing through a mouthpiece for 30 minutes. This service is not covered by medical insurance. The cost is $100.

Maximal Aerobic Exercise Testing and Risk Identification

Electrocardiographic and computerized expired-gas analyzers monitor how well your heart and lungs work together during exercise. Sophisticated monitors inform you and your physician of possible disabilities such as coronary heart disease or lung problems. (If you are over the age of 35, we urge you to visit the Human Performance Lab before beginning a strenuous exercise program.)

Your lab session will take about one hour. You may wear your own comfortable, loose-fitting exercise clothes during the session.

To begin your performance evaluation, the physician will take a short health history. We will monitor your blood pressure while you rest and throughout the exercise test. Your heart rate will be monitored at rest and during exercise by electrocardiography. The test will show your normal heart rhythm, indicate any abnormalities and provide a guideline from which the physician will determine your exercise capabilities.

Before your resting ECG test, your lung capacity will be measured. You will be asked to take a deep breath, then quickly and forcefully exhale into a tube attached to a monitoring device. Your cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) function will be tested under physical exertion, increased steadily and slowly. The exercise portion of the test usually lasts from seven to 15 minutes. You may choose between pedaling a stationary bicycle and running on a treadmill. You may stop anytime you wish, but achieving your maximal capacity provides the most information. The most important part of the session will be the review of your performance test data with the lab physician. The physician will discuss your current physical performance; answer your questions about health, fitness and exercise; and suggest exercises to help you improve your performance levels and reach your best level of fitness. Your test results will be forwarded to your personal physician at your request. Costs vary; call for additional information.