Assessing Cardiovascular Fitness


The Twelve-Minute Run Test

Locate an area where a specific distance is already marked, such as a school track or football field; or measure a specific distance using a bicycle or automobile odometer.

Use a stopwatch or wristwatch to accurately time a twelve-minute period.

For best results, warm up prior to the test, then run at a steady pace for the entire twelve minutes (cool down after the tests).

Determine the distance you can run in twelve minutes in fractions of a mile. Your score is the distance covered.


The Step Test

Warm up prior to exercise, and after finishing be sure to cool down.

Step up and down on a twelve-inch bench for three minutes at a rate of twenty-four steps per minute. One step consists of four beats; that is, "up with the left foot, up with the right foot, down with the left foot, down with the right foot."

Immediately after the exercise, sit down on the bench and relax. Don't talk. Locate your pulse or have another person locate it for you.

Five seconds after the exercise ends, begin counting your pulse. Count the pulse for sixty seconds. Your score is your sixty-second heart rate.


The Astrand-Ryhming Bicycle Test

Ride a stationary bicycle ergometer for six minutes at a rate of fifty pedal cycles per minute (one push with each foot per cycle). Cool down after the test.

Set the bicycle at a work load between 300 and 1,200 kpm. For less fit or smaller people, a setting in the range of 300 to 600 is appropriate. Larger or fitter people will need to use a setting of 750 to 1,200. The work load should be enough to elevate the heart rate to at least 125 bpm but no more than 170 bpm during the ride.

During the sixth minute of the ride (if the heart rate is in the correct range--see step 2), count the heart rate for the entire sixth minute. The carotid or radial pulse may be used. Your score is the heart rate for the last minute (60 seconds) of the ride.


The Walking Test

Warm up, then walk one mile as fast as you can. Keep track of your time to the nearest second.

Count your heart rate for 15 seconds immediately after the walk.