The Aastrand Cycle Test Explained

May 24, 2022

As part of the LEAR Health Partners Assessment process, we conduct a cardiovascular test. The Aastrand Test is a submaximal test to check status of cardiorespiratory fitness and how efficiently the heart is at pumping oxygenated blood out to the body. It gives us an estimation of your VO2 Max. V02 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use. The VO2 max number will be really high in an athlete and lower in the general population. The Aastrand Cycle test is a well researched test and is widely used in health care settings where maximal tests are not available or appropriate.

The test involves a 6-minute bike test at a somewhat hard intensity where we aim to keep a steady heart rate. We look at the relationship between heart rate and WATTs (workload) to establish your VO2 max value. The values that we get are compared against normative data to see where your score places you within your age category. Most people will average at ‘Average/Fair’ in a normative population. A more active population who exercise regularly are likely to score above this, whereas a more sedentary will score below this. A lower score is associated with higher health risks in terms of cardiovascular disease. The higher you score, the better it is as it indicates that your heart is efficient at pumping oxygen out to your body.

As LEAR Health Partners we use this score to guide your exercise prescription. It gives us an understanding of what level of intensity exercise you will manage. A lower cardiorespiratory fitness will mean that more rest breaks will need to be incorporated to allow for sufficient recovery whereas a higher level will allow for a more continuous and higher effort. Our priority is to keep you safe whilst exercising and to maximise your enjoyment and ability to achieve your goals when you are challenged at the correct level for your fitness.

The Aastrand score is a great score to use as a marker of how your fitness improves as you embark on your health journey with us. If indicated your Health Partner will re-test your score at a later date to see how your cardiovascular fitness has improved and guide your transition through our classes.

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