In every fitness test you need to know what the given result means to benefit from it. In Polar Fitness Test the person gets a score, Polar OwnIndex, which is comparable to VO2max (maximal oxygen uptake in ml.min-1.kg-1), a commonly used descriptor of aerobic fitness. VO2max is a good indicator of performance in endurance sports.
The range of the OwnIndex is the same as that for VO2max, from 25 which can be measured for unfit sedentary individual to 95 which is the level reached by Olympic athletes such as top cross-country skiers. VO2max is highest in sports that involve large muscle groups such as cross-country skiing and cycling. Fitness tests are most useful when following individual progress by comparing new results to previous ones.
Comparing test results to population norms
National norms can be used to compare individual test results to the average values of those with the same age and gender. For this comparison up-to-date results measured in a large sample of a representative population are needed. Below is one example of average values presented as mean and standard deviation (SD) values according to the age group (Fletcher et al. 1995).
VO2max in ml.min-1.kg-1 (SD)
Individual OwnIndex can be compared to the population norms as follows:
one standard deviation around the mean (half of SD up and half down) represents "average fitness". E.g. for a 33-year-old woman an index between 31-37 (34-3 and 34+3) represents "average fitness" compared to other women of the same age. An index less than 31 is below the average and an index more than 37 is above the average.
Fletcher, Balady, Froelicher, Hartley, Haskell, Pollock. Exercise Standards. A statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association. Circulation 91,2,580-615,1995.