Recent studies have provided compelling evidence that better physical fitness is associated with better brain function and a larger hippocampus. People who improve their exercise capacity experience an improvement in their mood, memory, and other cognitive functions. Therefore, it is important for your neurologist to know your baseline exercise capacity.
What is the CPET?
The CPET is similar to a stress test that you would have in a cardiology office. It checks the strength of your heart, lungs, and muscles. To do the test, you sit on a stationary bike and keep pedaling as our certified exercise physiologist increases the resistance. He or she will check the amount of oxygen your body uses during peak exercise, the amount of carbon dioxide produced, your breathing pattern, and heart rate. The results tell us how good of shape you are in.
Why do I need to do this?
Patients need to see how “fit” they are so that they can understand how much they need to improve and establish a baseline. For some patients it is a reality check and can motivate change that will benefit not only the body, but also the brain.
How long does the test take?
The test should take approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Most of the time is setup and making sure you are comfortable on the bike; you will only be exercising on the bike for about 15-25 minutes.
Are there risks?
We will stop the test at any time if you feel uncomfortable. Potential risks include feeling lightheaded, fainting, developing chest pain, or having irregular heart rate.
How to prepare?
- Wear comfortable clothing and footwear that you would wear going to the gym.
- Wear closed-toe shoes proper for riding a bicycle (no high heels, sandals or flip flops).
- Avoid eating or drinking (except water) for 3 hours before your test.
- Refrain from exercise or intensive physical exertion for 12 hours before your test.