• An intergroup analysis investigating the effects of holding a side handrail support on oxygen uptake values during the completion of the Chester Step Test

      Buckley, John P.; Reid, Graham (University of Chester, 2012-01-03)
      This dissertation investigates what effects a side handrail support has on oxygen uptake during the completion of the Chester Step Test (CST) in younger healthy individuals, older healthy individuals and in cardiac patients who are participating in a cardiac rehabilitation programme. This study was an intergroup analysis project which collaborated with two other University of Chester MSc research projects. Fifteen young healthy participants (5 males, 10 females), ten older healthy participants (3 males, 7 females) and seven cardiac patients (7 males, 0 females) were recruited for this study. The study followed a repeated measures design. The younger healthy participants completed three test protocols; performing the CST hands free, holding onto a side handrail with one hand and holding onto a side handrail with two hands. Due to time limitations, the older healthy participants and cardiac patients completed two CSTs; hands free and holding onto a side handrail with one hand. Oxygen uptake ( O2), heart rate (HR), metabolic equivalents (METs) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded at each stage of the CST. The exercise test was terminated if the participant: managed to complete all five stages of the CST, appeared to be stressed and indicated that they wanted to stop, reached their target heart rate point of 80% HR maximum or recorded an RPE value ≥ 15. Results: In all three testing groups, handrail support was found to have no statistically significant effects (p < 0.05) on O2 values at each stage of the CST. Handrail support was also found to have no statistically significent effects (p < 0.05) on MET, HR and RPE values in the three testing groups at each stage of the CST. The majority of participants found that handrail support made the test feel easier with 93% of the healthy young individuals, 57% of the older healthy participant group, and 86% of the cardiac patients stating that they preferred the test when handrail holding was allowed in comparison to hands free. Conclusion: In accordance with the findings by Barnett (2010), the current study found that handrail support had no statistically significant effect on oxygen uptake values when individuals performed the CST. Results from the current study provide encouraging support for the use of a side handrail support during the CST when testing both healthy individuals and cardiac patients in a cardiac rehabilitation setting.