In three episodes, we have tested health metrics, mobility, physical literacy and strength. The final challenge tests our cardiovascular capacity with a five-minute run for maximum distance.
The five-minute run is a measure of how hard you can work aerobically. It would be strongly linked to one’s VO2 max, and a high VO2 max correlates with a lower risk for cardiovascular diseases.
READ MORE: What’s your fitness age?
We chose running as the activity to test our cardio fitness to make it accessible to as many people as possible.
But you can do a similar five-minute test with any activity like cycling, rowing, swimming, etc.
If you did this challenge at home and you want to improve your score, our expert and overall competition designer Adrian Lightowler (head strength coach at the University of Toronto) wants you to think about your maximum aerobic speed (MAS).
MAS is measuring your total distance and dividing it by five (i.e. the five minutes of work) to give you your maximal aerobic speed in metres per minute.
To improve your MAS, a simple thing you can do is take your MAS and multiply it by 120 per cent (1.2) and keep that pace for interval training. That will train your body to move at that increased speed. And as you move faster, you can improve your progress by increasing sets and reps and decreasing the rest.
After a few weeks of doing these intervals two to three times a week, you can retry your five-minute test.
But the competition is over for us. It was a blast to be a part of it, and we all learned something about our levels of fitness that we didn’t know at the start of the series.
Now all that’s left is individual exit interviews with Adrian to see what he thought of our performances. Check out the video here:
We hope you have enjoyed following along this fitness journey. Thanks for watching and reading and good luck lowering your own fitness age!
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