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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