According to the American College of Sports Medicine, cardiorespiratory endurance is the ability to perform dynamic, moderate- to high-intensity exercise involving large-muscle groups for prolonged periods of time. There are tests that may be performed in order to determine a person's cardiorespiratory endurance or fitness level. Besides testing for medical purposes, you may perform these tests in order to determine your current fitness level, to design a fitness program, to provide motivation during a training regimen, or to determine progress during your training program.
Resting Heart Rate
It is important to monitor your resting heart rate. Generally, the more fit a person is, the lower his or her resting heart rate. Normal resting heart rates may range from 40 to 100. Pro athletes have reported resting heart rates in the high 20s. Heart rate must be taken in the morning, upon waking before you get out of bed. Count your pulse for sixty seconds, or for thirty seconds and multiply that number by two. Disadvantages of this test occur when the person has a low resting heart rate to start with, because he or she will not see much difference as training goes on. On the other hand, someone with a naturally high heart rate might not see his or her level of fitness reflected in the resting heart rate numbers.
The Rockport fitness walking test was developed to provide an estimated VO2 max, which tells how much oxygen your body uses during exercise. The higher the number, the higher your endurance. To perform the test, warm-up and stretch for ten minutes. Walk one mile as fast as possible, and take your pulse for ten seconds as you slow to a more comfortable rate. Multiply that number by six, and write down that number, as well as the time it took you to walk the mile. Cool down for ten minutes. To calculate VO2 max, use the formula 132.853 - (0.0769 × Weight) - (0.3877 × Age) + (6.315 × Gender) - (3.2649 × Time) - (0.1565 × Heart rate). Weight is expressed in pounds. Males = 1 and females = 0. Input time using minutes and 100ths of minutes. Heart rate is in beats per minute. Age is in years. The only drawback to this test is that it might seem to easy to some participants. It is good for beginners as it is not overly stressful.
Shuttle Run Test
The 20 meter multistage fitness test, also called the shuttle run test or the beep test, uses a flat surface with cones marking out lines 20 meters apart. A special recording is used which uses a beep to indicate when the runner should begin and when the runner should have reached the other cone and turned. The runner may not turn and begin running until the beep is heard. The beeps get closer together by each minute as the test goes on. Each minute represents a level. If a runner doesn't get to the line by the time the beep is heard, he or she has two beeps to catch up. If the runner fails to catch up, the test is stopped. Record the last level completed successfully in order to determine fitness level. Results range from very poor to excellent depending on the result. Test results can be converted to a VO2 max score using online calculators, and provides a fairly accurate view of fitness. This test is not suitable for persons not suited to maximal testing, such as those with medical concerns, injuries, or of low fitness level.
Never perform a cardiorespiratory endurance test if you're not in good physical shape. Consult a physician if you have any health concerns, and always complete a PAR-Q, or Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, before proceeding. The PAR-Q will tell you if you need to consult a doctor before testing. Choose a test most suited to your fitness level.
- American College of Sports Medicine Resources for the Personal Trainer, 2007
- "Physiological Assessment of Human Fitness"; Rockport Walking Test; Maud and Foster; 2006