What the results mean
Aerobic fitness is a measure of how much oxygen your body uses during exercise or physical work. The score is your maximal oxygen uptake and the higher the value, the better your aerobic fitness.
Higher levels of cardiovascular fitness have been related to reduced risks of many chronic diseases and conditions (for example, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, depression, some cancers). It’s also related to improved quality of life (for example, better mood, better ability to process thoughts and information, and enhanced bone health).
How to improve aerobic fitness
Regular participation in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity will improve and maintain your aerobic fitness.
The President's Challenge Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) can help you maintain a regular program of physical activity. We suggest that you complete the six-week PALA program before retesting your aerobic fitness.
Re-testing your aerobic fitness
Periodically, you can repeat the 1-mile walk or 1.5-mile run to determine if you have improved your aerobic fitness. Typically, you will be able to walk the mile or run the 1.5-miles faster, with your heart rate being the same or lower than in the first test if you have been following the FITT principles. Both changes (faster walk; lower heart rate) point to improvements in your aerobic fitness. Give yourself 6 - 12 weeks of consistent physical activity to allow for improvements.
Moderate and vigorous physical activity:
Frequency: 5+ days/week for moderate activity, 3-4 days/week for vigorous activity
Intensity: Moderate activity that is somewhat hard and elevates the heart rate above resting levels. Vigorous activity that is hard and elevates the heart rate above that for moderate levels, but you should not be breathless. An example of moderate physical activity is brisk walking; an example of vigorous physical activity is running.
Time: Moderate - At least 30 minutes each session (you can break this into three 10-minute or two 15-minute sessions); Vigorous - 20-30 minutes per session. Begin each session with a warm-up and finish with a cool-down.
Type: Activities that use large muscle groups (that is, arms, legs) such as walking, cycling, dancing, or swimming.