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Measuring Your Cardiorespiratory Fitness
copyright 2006 by Greg Landry, M.S.

 

 

 

 

Your Cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness level is improved through a program of consistent aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, aerobic dance, rowing, etc. Increasing your Cardiorespiratory fitness level is important because of the many positive affects on your health and well-being. It has a direct affect on your quality of life and it enables to you to lead a more active lifestyle. It also enables you to increase the intensity and duration of your exercise sessions, which leads to increased caloric expenditure and an increase in your basal metabolic rate (metabolism).

Testing your Cardiorespiratory fitness level periodically enables you assess your progress and motivates you to continue to improve. Dr. Kenneth Cooper developed a simple cardiorespiratory fitness level test called the "12 minute walk/run." The objective is simply to travel as far as you can in 12 minutes by walking, jogging, or a combination of the two. 

PLEASE NOTE: You should NOT do this test if you are not currently exercising on a regular basis or if you have just started an exercise program. Also, you should always check with your doctor before making any changes in your activity habits or participating in any strenuous physical activity.

This test can be used on a regular basis, perhaps monthly, to monitor your progress. You start with a five to ten minute warm-up of walking at a slow to moderate pace. Then you start at a given point and travel as fast as you can for twelve minutes. Measure the distance that you traveled and refer to this chart for your score:

Note: distance is in miles
"<" means less than
">" means greater than

Age 15 - 30

Female
>1.5 = excellent
1.4 = good
1.3 = borderline
<1.2 = needs work

Male
>1.7 = excellent
1.5 = good
1.4 = borderline
<1.3 = needs work

Age 31 - 50

Female
>1.4 = excellent
1.3 = good
1.2 = borderline
<1.1 = needs work

Male
>1.5 = excellent
1.4 = good
1.3 = borderline
<1.2 = needs work

Age 51 - 70

Female
>1.2 = excellent
1.1 = good
1.0 = borderline
<0.9 = needs work

Male
>1.3 = excellent
1.3 = good
1.2 = borderline
<1.0 = needs work

If your score isn't what you want it to be, you CAN improve it by losing fat and by developing a program of regular aerobic exercise. Keep a record of the date and the distance you travel for the twelve minute test. Do the test once a month and I think you'll be encouraged by your progress. The key is to get movin'!

 

 

 

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