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PFT Students Help Calgarians Find Their Inner Athlete

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Over 500 Calgarians started the new year off right at the Calgary Flames Foundation for Life’s inaugural Flames Health Training Camp at the Saddledome on Saturday, January 10.

A group of 25 Personal Fitness Trainer Diploma (PFT) students and graduates carried out the fitness testing protocols for adults and children. They worked closely with a volunteer group of physicians and MRU nursing students to assess participants’ fitness levels and provide counselling on next steps to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

This outreach event counts toward the PFT students’ practicum hours. “It was very exciting for the students and the graduates of all different years to have an opportunity to meet each other, ask each other questions and work together,” says Elaine Ori, PFT Program Coordinator and steering committee member for the Flames Health Training Camp.

Testing for adults started with the nursing students administering a risk assessment questionnaire, blood pressure reading, waist circumference measurement and body mass index calculation.

This was followed by a step test monitored by the PFT fitness testers to determine how quickly the heart rate would recover from a sub-maximal testing level.

“The risk assessment helped us determine the participants’ associated risk for things like metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease — things that we know are lifestyle-related chronic conditions that can be mitigated by lifestyle changes,” says Elaine. “They then reviewed all of their results with a physician and discussed where they need to make changes.”

This year’s Flames Health Training Camp was a pilot project but it is intended to become an annual event.

“We learned a lot from it,” Elaine says. “We learned how we can address the community a little bit more effectively to get more people involved. And we learned how the different professionals can work as an interdisciplinary team.”

“The biggest surprise was that the adults wanted to be put through their paces a little bit more. So for subsequent events we are going to look at protocols that will involve a bit more rigour,” Elaine notes.

“Even on the day of the event, we got emails from participants who said, you already changed my life,” she says. “You’ve given me that small push I needed to actually make lifestyle changes. The fitness testers, nurses and physicians were outstanding in pointing me in the direction I needed to go.”

The fitness testers also worked with children aged 8 to 12 on a series of tests including push-ups, sit-ups and timed shuttle runs. The children were thrilled when some of the Calgary Flames players came to join them.

“The kids were challenging the players to do push-ups and of course the players were compliant in letting the kids win. It was a lot of fun,” says Elaine.

Check out more photos from the event on Facebook.

Watch the Flames Foundation Health Training Camp video here.

— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Krystal Hurt

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