Odd Results On A Cardiovascular Fitness Test

HUH?

You may or may not recall, in October 2011 I tested my cardiovascular fitness using the UKK (Eurofit) walking test. According to the walking test score, my  cardiovascular fitness was average. I was a bit disappointed because I walked a lot – and I mean a lot – last year.

Yesterday I took the test again and the results were nothing short of mysterious.

Like a year ago, I walked the same 2km trail at top speed, noted the time I took and my heart rate at the end of the performance. When I got home I entered my data in a calculator I was in for a nasty surpise.

According to the calculator, even though I walked the trail almost 60 seconds faster than in October 2011, my level of aerobic endurance has dropped 27 points (!) and I’m now in the group of people who are slightly less fit than the average.

Say that again?!

I haven’t walked half as much this year so I can certainly accept the fact that my cardiovascular fitness has declined a bit, but 27 points is a bit too much. For comparison’s sake, below are my results from both years.

 

Time Heart rate Fitness Index
October 2011  19 min 9 s  74  103
October 2012  18 min 21s  178  76

 

What is mysterious is that my heart rate at the end of the test was 74 last year and now it was a whopping 178 beats per minute. If that number is accurate, I was practically walking at my maximum heart rate. Yet I didn’t feel especially exhausted after the walk,  I was just a bit out of breath (and energized).

I wrote about my results on my Finnish fitness blog. A reader – who also happens to be a personal trainer – confounded things even more by leaving a comment that she actually thinks that it the last year’s results that are suspect.

If my heart rate really was 74 at the end of test a year ago, that would be a very good result, because my heart rate would’ve barely risen during the performance. (Last year I had nothing to compare to, so I just accepted the heart rate as normal.)

Personally, I’d rather think that last year’s results were correct and this year’s results a consequence of a malfunctioning heart rate monitor or something like that.

Then I could at least think that my fitness result had been at least average a year ago.

I guess the only thing I can do to clarify the issue is to retake the test. I just replaced the battery in my heart rate monitor before I took the test, but maybe I should also wash the belt carefully before I take the test again.

******

Other than the odd test result, I was happy with my performance.

I walked almost a minute faster than I did last year and I could feel how my calf and thigh muscles effectively propelled me forward. I have the Fit Female Breakthrough program to thank for that!

Have you taken a cardiovascular fitness test recently? Were you surprised/disappointed by the result?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Lori says:

    I don’t know – 178 is quite high for walking. I would think you would be a bit more than a little out of breath. I know when I run my HR gets in the mid 160s to 170s and I am definitely breathing harder.

    Strength training really helps, though – keep up with that FBB!

  2. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! Well, I’m glad you improved with your speed. I bet that felt super awesome! Yay you!

    Regarding heart rate, I’m just not knowledgeable enough on that subject to make a smart comment about it.

    🙂 Marion

  3. Personally I feel that something is wrong with the decice used to measure HR

  4. Hi Satu. OK, that IS weird. (not that I know much about heart rates. Other than having one is a good thing! 🙂 ) Have a wonderful Friday.

  5. Satu says:

    Thanks, Robert and Roz!

    I’ve been wondering whether my pedometer could affect the results. I wear around my neck and it’s close to the sender unit (or whatever it’s called).

  6. When I used to walk up steep hills etc my heart rate would be through the roof (I’m not good with stairs or hills) but I haven’t used a monitor for ages so can’t offer any advice.

    I think it’s great though that you did it faster this year and that you’re taking the time to measure it at all.

    Don’t forget as well that other aspects of your health and fitness: strength, flexibility etc may have changed and improved.

    The only times my fitness has been tested I’ve been surprised at how bad my aerobic fitness is!

    Deb

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