Your fitness can be measured through the assessment of the amount of oxygen the body can transport from the lungs to the heart and then to the muscles via the blood under certain load or stress (aerobic exercise).
Aerobic exercise or endurance activities is predominant in many individual and team sports where repeated bouts of running are required. However, in every individual there is a maximum level of exertion or intensity that can be reached using the oxygen/aerobic energy system.
When that point is reached an alternative energy resource is needed and is known as the anaerobic energy system. Anaerobic respiration relies on blood sugars/ glucose stored in the muscles for energy and is short lived usually lasting from 6 secs to 2 minutes and is characterised by very high intensity.
However, with aerobic energy , exercise is repeated or continual and is greater than 2 minutes. The maximum intensity of exercise an individual can reach using this system (aerobic respiration) is commonly known as VO2max and is measured in millimetres of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute.
Here are some very good VO2max assessments…
1.5 Mile Walk/Run Test (2400m)
1.0 Mile Walk Test
12 Minute Cooper Run Test
Multi Stage Fitness Test (MSFT)
YMCA Bike Test
Rockport Walk Test
Undertaking any one of these tests will allow you to determine your VO2max fairly quickly. My favourite VO2max assessments are the MSFT and the 1.5 mile walk/run test. The accuracy of the 1.5 mile run for measuring fitness is fairly high at 0.89 compared to a scientific indoor running test which is 1.0. The MSFT is also accurate and its accuracy is measured at 0.91.
For the 1.5 mile walk/run test, I measure a 1.5 mile route ensuring that the route is flat and when undertaking the test there is no head wind. Alternatively 6 laps of a 400m athletic track is ideal. Depending on the time it takes to complete the 1.5 run, if you enter your time in the 1.5 mile walk/ run calculator you will get an accurate VO2max reading.
The Bleep test is another useful aerobic assessment which I use with personal clients and sports teams and which can be done indoors or outside. The benefits of doing the Bleep Test is that the test is standardised especially if done indoors. The conditions are repeatable so there is no deviation in the scores when done on a random or regular basis.
The Bleep Test and the 1.5 Mile Run Test are maximal tests that require you to give it your best shot! With that in mind if you have not undertaken any exercise in a long time it is prudent to made an appointment with your health advisor and have a medical check up.
Why should I have a fitness assessment?
Fitness tests, health tests, body measurements such as the BMI and waist circumference give you a starting point and also tell you exactly where you are in terms of health which is invaluable. Without this information you won’t have a direction to take, have any idea of what you need to achieve in terms of health and it would be similar to sailing a ship without a compass.
Once you have this information you can then make plans, set targets and goals and most of all remain motivated as you can chart your progress. Additionally, with the correct type of aerobic/ endurance training, maximum oxygen uptakes can be improved to a level that can guarantee protection against diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and many other associated metabolic diseases.
In summary, physical exercise and activities is not reserved just for the elite athlete or football team but has an important role to play in everybody’s life to ensure good health, energy and freedom to live, work and play.
Disclaimer: The aerobic test information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. HLMfitness.com makes no representations or warranties in relation to the aerobic testing information on this website.