CR Fitness Tests
There are many ways to test your level of cardiopulmonary fitness. Some of the tests are performed in a laboratory setting. Large pieces of fitness equipment, such as tread-mills and stationary bikes, are attached to analytical computers and miscellaneous data recording equipment. The subject is then connected to a great deal of wires and tubes that measure heart rate as well as how much CO2 is exhaled during the test.
The end result of all of these tests is an accurate record of physiological data from which the evaluators can figure the maximum amount of oxygen that a subject is able to utilize during certain forms of exercise. The greater the amount of oxygen you are able to utilize, the higher your level of physical fitness is going to be.
Here are two tests that you may choose from in order to figure out approximately your own maximum amount of potential oxygen consumption (VO2 max). It's a good idea for you to perform this test before starting any new exercise program. You would also benefit from repeating this test after the first eight weeks of your training. Repeating the test will allow you to compare the figures of your initial test to the new figures, giving you a better all-around picture of the physical results of your training. You may find yourself surprised at the difference in both your ability and appearance after eight weeks of training with a consistent exercise program.
Stopwatch (or at least a watch with a second hand)
1-mile walking distance (premeasured)
This test is ideal for those who are unable to run due to injury or from a prolonged duration of no physical exercise. Whatever the case, you should be able to at least walk briskly in order to bring your heart rate up to the 120 beats per minute (bpm) while you walk for one mile. The best place to administer a test like this is on a track. Your local high school or college usually has a track that is open to the public at certain times. Four laps around a standard-sized running track is a total of one mile.
The test requires that you walk as fast as you can (speed walk) for one mile without breaking into a run. Walking is roughly defined in fitness as always having at least one of your feet in contact with the ground at all times. The time it takes you to finish walking this mile needs to be measured and recorded. Immediately after completing your mile-long walk, you should count your heart rate for exactly fifteen seconds. Write down this number and multiply it by four in order to determine your one-minute recovery heart rate in bpm. The equation may appear to be a little messy, but this has been proven to be a quite accurate method.
Sometimes high-school jogging tracks are not the standard quarter-mile length. Be sure to confirm the length of the track you will be using in order to prevent inaccuracies in your test.
You may want to fill in your information in the spaces provided below (or make a few copies of this page to use for later tests, such as your eight-week test):
WEIGHT: kilograms (to find your weight in kilos, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2, for example, 120 lbs / 2.2 = approx. 54.5kilograms)
HEART RATE: bpm (this should be your heart rate at the completion of your mile)
TIME: needs to be measured to the nearest sixtieth (1/60) of a minute (for example, 15:42 = 15.7. Whole minutes are left out. This is figured by taking the seconds and dividing by 60. So in this case, you would divide 42 by 60 to come up with .7).
VO2 MAX: The formula for finding your VO2 max is gender specific. If you are female, please take note that you should not add the 6.135 below to your total.
132.853 - (.1692 × WT) - (.3877 × AGE) + (6.135 for men only) - (3.2649 x TIME) - (.1565 × HR) = your VO2 max
For example, if you were a twenty-nine-year-old female weighing 120 pounds with a completion time of 12.6 minutes and a final heart rate of 100 bpm, your formula would look like this: 132.853 - (.1692 × 54.5 kg) - (.3877 × 29 yrs) - (3.2649 × 12.6 minutes) - (.1565 × 100bpm) = 55.60056 VO2 max. If math is not your strong suit, use a calculator for this.
Stopwatch 1.5 mile track, accurately measured
This test is not recommended if you are an unconditioned beginner, have a history of heart disease or heart trouble, or if you've been diagnosed with heart disease or any other heart condition.
In order to complete this test effectively you will need to be able to maintain a jogging pace for a minimum of twenty minutes.
Again, this test should be done on a standard-sized track where one lap will be a quarter mile. You may need to compensate the number of laps you complete if your track is a nonstandard eighth mile or half mile. For a standard-sized track, six laps will be equal to 1.5 miles. If this is the test you choose to perform, it's important for you to evenly pace yourself throughout the test (no breaking into a dead sprint for the last quarter lap). Effective pacing and motivation are key variables to ensure an accurate outcome for this test.
There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself to the limit as you near the end of your run or alternating between jogging and sprinting. However, doing either of these during your 1.5-mile run test will cause you to have an inaccurate measurement. Remember to keep an even and steady pace. The point of this test is not to see how fast you can run but to measure your maximum capacity for oxygen consumption.
This test requires you to run or jog the entire distance of 1.5 miles. Immediately after the completion of your run or jog, measure and record the time that it took you. Again, be sure to record your completion time to the nearest sixtieth of a minute. For example, a time of 11:12 will be recorded as 11.2. This formula is not gender sensitive, so it will be the same for both men and women:
3.5 + (483 / TIME) = your VO2 max
VO2 MAX: So if you complete the run in nine minutes, your formula will appear as follows 3.5 + (483 / 9) = 57.16