What is fitness training?
Fitness training means those forms of exercise where you increase your body's ability to absorb oxygen. There are many different ways to exercise, such as cycling, walking, running, or swimming.
If we don't incorporate enough movement into our lives, it quickly becomes apparent in everyday life. A lack of fitness training can show up, for example, if you get out of breath when you climb stairs or if you need to rush to the train and are out of breath when you need to half-jump to the station.
You can test your fitness in several ways, for example by performing a so-called Cooper's test. If you want to train to achieve a certain result, you need to do heart rate-raising exercises that challenge you. In this article, we will explain this in more detail.
What is fitness training?
Fitness training is when you make your body work efficiently with major muscle groups that significantly increase your heart rate. You also need to maintain the increase in heart rate over a longer period of time. By doing this, you improve your body's ability to absorb oxygen and therefore your fitness level.
When the word 'cardio' is mentioned, most people immediately think of running or cycling. Fitness training includes any activity where you increase your body's ability to absorb oxygen. Taking dance lessons or participating in a martial art such as karate or kickboxing is also cardio.
In the context of exercise, fitness training is sometimes referred to as aerobic training. If you want to know more about aerobic and anaerobic training, you can read more via the link!
Maximum heart rate and heart rate zones
Your maximum heart rate is genetic and goes down as you get older. It is not linked to your fitness level, but is useful to know if you want to know what zone you should be in to make your training as effective as possible.
The only way to know your exact maximum heart rate is to perform a so-called V02max test (the v in VO2max stands for Volume and O2 stands for oxygen) in a lab with equipment, but if you want a rough idea, you can calculate your maximum heart rate by doing the following:
For men: 220 - your age
For women: 226 - your age
Since the maximum heart rate is completely individual, there will be a margin of error, but you will get a rough idea and enough to use it as a starting point in your training.
The training intensity of cardio training is usually divided into different heart rate zones, and these are:
|Zone||% of maximum heart rate||Level|
|1||50–60%||Very light exercise|
|5||90–100%||Very strenuous training|
The zones are used as a benchmark to ensure you are training in the right way to reach your goal. It is designed for those who want to train in pulse zones.
How can I test my fitness?
There are many different ways to test your fitness. Some tests that are suitable for most people are:
- Cooper's test.
- Root test.
All tests have different approaches, and we will now look at these three in more detail..
The pulse is the same as the heartbeat. The resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute when you are at rest. The best time to take your resting heart rate is right when you wake up and get out of bed. Take two fingers, place them either on your wrist or on your carotid artery and count the number of beats over 15 seconds. Then multiply that number by 4 to get the number of beats in 60 seconds.
An adult human normally has a resting heart rate of between 60-70 beats per minute and a fit person may have between 45-55 beats per minute or even lower. Perform the test when you are otherwise healthy and have not eaten or drunk anything yet. Factors such as fever, caffeine or nicotine affect your heart rate and make it higher.
Cooper's test is a good way to measure your fitness. It is suitable for most people and does not require expensive equipment. The test is best performed outdoors on a 400-meter running track. You then have to run as far as possible in 12 minutes. Be sure to warm up for 5-10 minutes beforehand.
The advantages of this type of test are that you can perform the test several times to see your development and that it is suitable for all levels. If you want to compare your results with others, you can. If you want to calculate your maximum oxygen uptake capacity (VO2max), use the formula:
(distance in meters - 504.9) / 44.73.
There are tables produced by researchers and pages where you can see how you are doing.
The rowing test, also known as the O'Neill test, has the same principle as the Cooper test but is performed on a rowing machine instead of a running track. You sit on the rowing machine and warm up for 5-10 minutes. Then you start the timer and row as far as you can in 4 minutes. You can then see your distance based on your age and weight class in a table that you can find here, for example.
The advantages of the rowing test are that it is easy to do yourself, for example at a gym. A disadvantage is that many people are not used to rowing and that the right technique is required to get far. This can ultimately affect your test result.
How can I improve my fitness?
If you want to improve your fitness, you need to do the same as with other things you want to improve - practice! By training your body to absorb oxygen, it will get better and better at it. Make sure to exercise often but also leave time for recovery.
If you go from being inactive and start moving more, you will quickly improve your fitness. Changes you can make include walking or cycling instead of taking the car, or fitting in a 20-30 minute walk after work or school.
If you are already more experienced, you can increase your fitness by using the different heart rate zones in your training to make sure it is as effective as possible!
Read more: Positive effects of fitness training.