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Memorial assesses health and fitness of Hydro employees

By Jeff Green

Joyce Kieley considers herself to be in decent shape. She exercises regularly, tries to eat right and has lost some weight.

Thanks to a partnership with Memorial, Ms. Kieley – and two dozen other residents from all over the Avalon Peninsula – got a chance recently to evaluate her fitness regime and see she is headed down the right path.

“I wanted to know if what I was doing was OK and to also see how I could improve my fitness routine and lower my health risks,” said Ms. Kieley, the area office clerk with Newfoundland Labrador Hydro’s Holyrood Thermal Generating Plant. Hydro is now part of the province’s new Nalcor Energy Company.

She was one of 25 Hydro employees – eight from Holyrood and 17 from offices in St. John’s – to go through a series of health and fitness assessments organized by Allied Health Services (AHS) in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation. AHS offers assessments ranging from advanced fitness testing to sport massage and athletic therapy to sport dietetics.

Ted Smith, an asset specialist with Hydro, contacted the unit’s co-ordinator, Dr. Amy Butt and from there the ball started rolling.

“I thought it would be a good way to make people aware of their fitness level and inform them of their strong areas and others that may need improvement,” said Mr. Smith, a member of Hydro’s corporate wellness committee.

Last fall, employees went through a series of tests, assessing things such as their body mass, strength, endurance, flexibility and health risks.

Some also participated in aerobic fitness determination, better known as V02 max testing. That’s an oxygen consumption test measuring aerobic fitness, which is the ability to use oxygen at an efficient rate during muscular work.

AHS is the only accredited fitness appraisal centre with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology in the province and the only facility that offers V02 max tests to the public.

In the end, reports were prepared and sent to each employee detailing test scores. Allied Health Services also delivered presentations to both sites to discuss results.

Dr. Butt said the assessments will give the Hydro employees a better idea of how they can improve their overall health and fitness. Employees will go through re-testing later this year.

“I think this testing may have served to help them establish a benchmark or baseline from which they can start to implement changes to positively affect their overall health status,” she noted.

“I guess for some people it is about seeing the numbers and having that act as the motivator to get started implementing important lifestyle changes. For other individuals, who train and exercise regularly, this was an effective way for them to evaluate their overall fitness and receive recommendations on ways to further enhance their training objectives.”

As for Ms. Kieley, the testing and advice offered by AHS have given her motivation to keep active and stay fit.

“This was an opportunity to have someone trained in kinesiology to perform the assessment, which in my opinion gave me a more thorough and accurate assessment than the average gym would have been able to give me.”