Throughout the semester, we have tested and evaluated several techniques used to assess cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular fitness is an important concept because it is a representation of the heart, lungs, and vascular system’s ability to work together in providing oxygen to the working muscle so physical work can be maintained. Physical inactivity and poor cardiovascular fitness are associated with several health concerns including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes which can lead to higher morbidity and mortality rates.
By testing cardiovascular fitness, these health risks can be identified and addressed before they are turned into greater problems. The techniques we used this semester include aerobic field tests, semi-laboratory tests, step tests, and laboratory VO2 max tests. Each technique required a different application, and had its own list of advantages and disadvantages which I will further discuss.
The first technique, aerobic field testing, includes the Rockport 1 Mile Walking Test, the Cooper 1.5 Mile Test, and the 12 Minute Cooper Test. The Rockport Fitness Walking Test is a fairly simple and safe method used for determining VO2 max, or aerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity indicates the maximum rate that the respiratory, cardiovascular, and muscular systems can take in, transport, and use oxygen during exercise. This reflects the body’s ability to provide energy to the muscles using oxygen. The higher the number, the more aerobically fit a person is considered. To perform this test, the subject walks one mile as fast as they can and stops the stopwatch as soon as the mile is completed. The subject should take their pulse while continuing to walk, but at a slower pace and record their time and heart rate. After these steps are complete, the subject simply plugs their values into the VO2 max formula (88.768 + (8.892 * gender) – (0.2109 * body weight) – (0.1194 * heart rate). If the subject is male, he should input “1” for gender and females should input “0” into the gender portion. VO2 max is measured in milliliters per kilogram per minute (ml•kg-1•min-1). The Rockport 1 Mile Walking Test is preferred amongst most because it is a low-impact test that does not require maximal testing; therefore, no specific medical equipment is necessary and it is considered a lower-risk than some other cardiorespiratory endurance tests. It also allows for subjects who do not perform regular physical activity or are unable to run to test their cardiovascular fitness. However, this test may prove to be too easy for highly fit people, and its accuracy depends on the subject’s pacing ability and level of motivation.
The second aerobic test performed was the Cooper 1.5 Mile Run Test. Like the Rockport 1 Mile Walking Test, this technique has also proven to be simple, only requiring a stopwatch and a track. This test is to be completed as quickly as possible, and time and heart rate should be immediately recorded afterwards. For this...