Fitness calculator – CERG – NTNU

fitness calculator

The Fitness Calculator estimates your fitness age measured as maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max). VO2max is the most precise measure of overall cardiovascular fitness. You can also find your own risk of dying early from cardiovascular disease, and we give you some ideas on how you can reduce the risk.

Estimates fitness accurately

In 2007 and 2008, several thousand Norwegians tested their VO2max on a treadmill in The HUNT Fitness Study. They also answered several questions and had a complete health check-up as part of the third HUNT study (HUNT3).

Therefore, we could establish the most important factors for fitness among healthy women and men. These facors – namely age, waist circumference or body mass index (BMI), leisure-time physical activity and resting heart rate – are those included in the algoritm that constitutes our Fitness Calculator.

Read the full research article:
Estimating V˙O2peak from a Nonexercise Prediction Model: The HUNT Study, Norway

Later, we showed that The Fitness Calculator is even more accurate in older adults if we add simple measures of lung function to the model. However, the current calculator is accurate enough for all age groups, and we have not included the lung function measurements in the formula. The study was based on our large Generation 100 study, and included direct measurements of VO2max and lung function in almost 1500 older adults.

Read the full research article:
Lung function parameters improve prediction of VO2peak in an elderly population: The Generation 100 study

Reveals your risk

After we made The Fitness Calculator, we showed that the estimated fitness number is of great importance for how long you can expect to live. That’s why we now recommend every physician to use the calculator to identify patients with high risk of lifestyle diseases and early death. We still use The Fitness Calculator in much of our research, and each study makes us even more convinced that the calculator is a very useful tool to prevent lifestyle diseases. 

Predicts early death

By use of the Fitness Calculator, we estimated fitness in 37,000 healthy individuals who participated in the HUNT1 study in the 1980s. We then followed them for 24 years and looked at health outcomes. The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was 21% lower for each increase of 3.5 mL/kg/min, or 1 MET. This associations persisted after adjusting the analysis for confounding factors. The risk of dying from all causes during follow-up was also gradually reduced with better fitness.

Read the full research article:
A Simple Nonexercise Model of Cardiorespiratory Fitness Predicts Long-Term Mortality

Moreover, the number you get from The Fitness Calculator seems to be all you really need to estimate the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death in presumably healthy individuals. We studied this in almost 40,000 participants from the HUNT study who were followed for up to 17 years. The calculator estimated the risk about just as good on its own as when traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease are included in the model.

Read the full research

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Fitness numbers – CERG – NTNU

Average fitness numbers

The mean maximal oxygen uptake in women and men participating in the HUNT3 Fitness Study were 35 and 44 mL/kg/min, respectively. The results suggest a ~7% decline in maximal oxygen uptake with every 10 year age increase in both genders.

Mean maximal oxygen uptake across the age-groups

Age Women Men
20–29 years 43 54
30–39 years 40 49
40–49 years 38 47
50–59 years 34 42
60–69 years 31 39
Over 70 years 27 34

Active elderly persons are as fit as inactive young persons

  Age Inactive Active
Men 20–29 years 47 60
  50–59 years 38 47
Women 20–29 years 37 49
  50–59 years 31 37

Read the full research article:
Cardio-respiratory reference data in 4631 healthy men and women 20-90 years: the HUNT 3 fitness study

The HUNT3 Fitness Study is Europe’s largest database of directly measured fitness in a general population. The study also allow us to find reference values for various other cardiorespiratory measures, such as the maximum tidal volume. The data further suggests that the anaerobic thresholds is around 77% of maximum oxygen uptake for most, or at an intensity equivalent to approximately 88% of maximum heart rate.

Read the full research article:
Cardio-respiratory reference data in 4631 healthy men and women 20-90 years: the HUNT 3 fitness study

Higher fitness, lower disease risk

Fewer cardiovascular risk factors

Women and men below the gender-specific mean were four to eight times more likely to have a cluster of at least three cardiovascular risk factors – called the metabolic syndrome – compared to the most fit quartile of subjects. We also observed that maximal oxygen uptake may represent a continuum from health to disease, and that a general 5 mL/kg/min lower maximal oxygen uptake was associated with ~56% higher odds of having the metabolic syndrome.

Read the full research article:
Peak oxygen uptake and cardiovascular risk factors in 4631 healthy women and men

Fewer heart attacks

Moreover, high cardirespiratory fitness reveals the risk of heart attack in healthy persons. We found a strong link between higher fitness and reduced risk of a coronary event during the nine years following the HUNT3 Fitness Study. Only 147 participants had a heart attack or were diagnosed with angina pectoris during follow-up. The 25 % who measured the highest fitness levels had half the risk compared to those with the lowest fitness levels.

Read the full research article:
Peak oxygen uptake and incident coronary heart disease in a healthy population – The HUNT Fitness Study

Larger left atrium

The HUNT3 Fitness Study has also shown us that the left atrium of the heart is larger in healthy adults with high fitness than in health adults with lower fitness. A large left atrium is a criterium for diastolic dysfunction, where the hear has reduced capability to fill with blood between each beat. However, our study shows no association between atrial size and diastolic heart function. This suggests that fitness should be taken into consideration when assessing if left atrial volume

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