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Fitness Test with wrist-based heart rate

The Polar Fitness Test with wrist-based heart rate is an easy, safe and quick way to estimate your aerobic (cardiovascular) fitness at rest. The result, Polar OwnIndex, is comparable to maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), which is commonly used to evaluate aerobic fitness. Your long-term training background, heart rate, heart rate variability at rest, gender, age, height, and body weight all influence OwnIndex. The Polar Fitness Test is developed for use by healthy adults.

Aerobic fitness relates to how well your cardiovascular system works to transport oxygen to your body. The better your aerobic fitness, the stronger and more efficient your heart is. Good aerobic fitness has many health benefits. For example, it helps in decreasing the risk of high blood pressure and your risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. If you want to improve your aerobic fitness it takes, on average, six weeks of regular training to see a noticeable change in your OwnIndex. Less fit individuals see progress even more rapidly. The better your aerobic fitness, the smaller the improvements in your OwnIndex.

Aerobic fitness is best improved by training types that use large muscle groups. Such activities include running, cycling, walking, rowing, swimming, skating, and cross-country skiing. To monitor your progress, start by measuring your OwnIndex a couple of times during the first two weeks in order to get a baseline value, and then repeat the test approximately once a month.

To make sure the test results are reliable, the following basic requirements apply:

  • You can perform the test anywhere - at home, at the office, at a health club - provided the testing environment is peaceful. There should be no disturbing noises (e.g. television, radio, or telephone) and no other people talking to you.
  • Always take the test in the same environment and at the same hour.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal or smoking 2-3 hours prior to testing.
  • Avoid heavy physical exertion, alcohol, and pharmaceutical stimulants on the test day and the previous day.
  • You should be relaxed and calm. Lie down and relax for 1-3 minutes before starting the test.

Before the test

Before starting the test, make sure your physical settings including training background are accurate in Settings > Physical settings.

Wear your M430 snugly on top of your wrist, just behind the wrist bone. The heart rate sensor on the back of the M430 must be in constant touch with your skin, but the wristband should not be too tight to prevent blood flow.

You can also perform the Fitness test by measuring your heart rate with a compatible Polar heart rate sensor. When you're wearing a Polar heart rate sensor that's paired with your M430, the M430 automatically uses the connected sensor to measure your heart rate during the test.

Performing the test

To perform the fitness test, go toTests > Fitness Test > Relax and start the test.

  • Searching for heart rate is displayed. When heart rate is found, a heart rate graph, your current heart rate and Lie down & relax is shown on the display. Stay relaxed and limit body movements and communication with other people.
  • You can interrupt the test in any phase by pressing BACK. Test canceled is shown.

If M430 cannot receive your heart rate signal, the message Test failed is shown. In which case, you should check that the heart rate sensor on the back of the M430 is in constant touch with your skin. See Training with wrist based heart rate for detailed instructions on wearing your M430 when measuring heart rate from your wrist.

Test results

When the test is over, your M430 notifies you with a vibration and shows a description of your fitness test result and your estimated VO2max.

Update to VO2max to physical settings? is shown.

  • Select Yes to save the value to your Physical settings.
  • Select No only if you know your recently measured VO2max value, and if it differs more than one fitness level class from the result.

Your latest test result is shown in Tests > Fitness test > Latest result. Only your most recently performed test result is shown.

For a visual analysis of your Fitness test results, go to the Flow web service and select the test from your Diary to view details from it.

Your M430 syncs with the Flow app automatically after the test if your phone is within the Bluetooth range.

Fitness level classes


Age / Years Very low Low Fair Moderate Good Very good Elite
20-24 < 32 32-37 38-43 44-50 51-56 57-62 > 62
25-29 < 31 31-35 36-42 43-48 49-53 54-59 > 59
30-34 < 29 29-34 35-40 41-45 46-51 52-56 > 56
35-39 < 28 28-32 33-38 39-43 44-48 49-54 > 54
40-44 < 26 26-31 32-35 36-41 42-46 47-51 > 51
45-49 < 25 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-43 44-48 > 48
50-54 < 24 24-27 28-32 33-36 37-41 42-46 > 46
55-59 < 22 22-26 27-30 31-34 35-39 40-43 > 43
60-65 < 21 21-24 25-28 29-32 33-36 37-40 > 40


Age / Years Very low Low Fair Moderate Good Very good Elite
20-24 < 27 27-31 32-36 37-41 42-46 47-51 > 51
25-29 < 26 26-30 31-35 36-40 41-44 45-49 > 49
30-34 < 25 25-29 30-33 34-37 38-42 43-46 > 46
35-39 < 24 24-27 28-31 32-35 36-40 41-44 > 44
40-44 < 22 22-25 26-29 30-33 34-37 38-41 > 41
45-49 < 21 21-23 24-27 28-31 32-35 36-38 > 38
50-54 < 19 19-22 23-25 26-29 30-32 33-36 > 36
55-59 < 18 18-20 21-23 24-27 28-30 31-33 > 33
60-65 < 16 16-18 19-21 22-24 25-27 28-30 > 30

The classification is based on a literature review of 62 studies where VO2max was measured directly in healthy adult subjects in the USA, Canada and 7 European countries. Reference: Shvartz E, Reibold RC. Aerobic fitness norms for males and females aged 6 to 75 years: a review. Aviat Space Environ Med; 61:3-11, 1990.


A clear link exists between maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) of the body and cardiorespiratory fitness because oxygen delivery to tissues is dependent on lung and heart function. VO2max (maximal oxygen uptake, maximal aerobic power) is the maximal rate at which oxygen can be used by the body during maximal exercise; it is related directly to the maximal capacity of the heart to deliver blood to the muscles. VO2max can be measured or predicted by fitness tests (e.g. maximal exercise tests, submaximal exercise tests, Polar Fitness Test). VO2max is a good index of cardiorespiratory fitness and a good predictor of performance capability in endurance events such as distance running, cycling, cross-country skiing, and swimming.

VO2max can be expressed either as milliliters per minute (ml/min = ml ■ min-1) or this value can be divided by the person’s body weight in kilograms (ml/kg/min = ml ■ kg-1■ min-1).