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Learning to live a healthier lifestyle

Rathjens also calculated the VO2 max for her students doing the walk in her classes, which measures the maximum amount of oxygen their body can use per-minute of physical activity. To calculate their VO2 max, a students needs to know how long it took them to complete the mile, their pulse rate and then put in their body weight.

"It is a really good judge of their current cardiovascular health," said Rathjens. "Certain sports don't lend themselves to great cardiovascular fitness, so this gives them a more realistic view of where they are at form the cardiovascular perspective."

She said VO2 max is nothing new, but some people might have not heard about it. Also, previously she was a health teacher, so she has done a lot of reading on cardiovascular fitness.

"A lot of people judge fitness simply by a look,' said Rathjens. "If you are the right weight or the right look, then, oh you must be physically fit and that's simply not true. Certainly weight is part of the picture, but you can have people that are 10 pounds or 15 pounds overweight that are actually in better cardiovascular fitness than someone who is an ideal weight."

While some people might be active in a certain sport, they still might not have good cardiovascular health.

"There is certainly a population that thinks they are in a better condition then they are, because they excel at a particular sport, but that sport doesn't require them to maintain an elevated heart rate and an elevated breathing rate," said Rathjens. "That's the population that it is most important to. I would say they are willing to put in the effort, but they really don't get that they are not there yet."

Students in Tamar's class walked the outdoor track as a cold wind swept through the field and they shared some of the things they've learned from health class.

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