The Garmin vívosmart3 recently became the first tracker in popular lifestyle series to track user fitness levels. This remarkable ability has been a fixture of the performance oriented Forerunner and flagship Fenix watches since 2013. While fitness is a hot topic for athletes, a better handle on fitness is also a game-changer for better health and personal well-being.
The Science of Tracking Fitness
Your vívosmart 3 will automatically calculate your VO2max fitness level during timed walking and running activities longer than 15 minutes. To reveal your VO2max, the Firstbeat analytics engine combines data from your vívosmart 3’s wrist-based heart rate sensor and movement speed data generated by onboard accelerometers. The more regularly you use your device, the more accurate your fitness level estimate will become.
Knowing your fitness level is essential to understanding whether you are fit enough to benefit from a health perspective. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, benefits associated with higher fitness levels include reduced risk of cardiovascular and coronary artery disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. There also fitness thresholds above which people widely report enhanced feelings of well-being, reduced anxiety and depression, and improved workplace performance.
Did you know that changes in your VO2max fitness level impact how you experiences stress? Research shows that when your fitness level is low, stressful experiences take a bigger toll on your body at a physiological level. By simultaneously tracking your VO2max and your All-day Stress, the vívosmart 3 delivers the personalized insights you need to keep life going in the right direction. If your measured stress levels are consistently high, boosting your fitness level may be one way of helping to reduce them.
The good news is that fitness related health benefits aren’t limited to elite fitness levels. With reasonable effort, practically anyone can achieve fitness levels that relate to enhanced health and personal well-being. Even a relatively small 10% boost in VO2max has been shown to decrease all causes of mortality risk by 15%1.
See Progress, Gain Motivation
Quick. How fit are you? Good? Room for improvement?
The words we use to describe fitness are not only imprecise, they can also make taking control of your personal fitness more challenging. No one goes from being out of shape to excellent condition overnight. Even the jump from fair to good takes time and effort. The ability to monitor progress, see granular improvements as your body begins to respond to training are a powerful source of motivation.
In the movie American Beauty, Kevin Spacey’s character, Lester Burnham, takes up jogging with his neighbors, motivated by a desire to “look good naked.” Well and honestly said. Weight loss and body shaping are among the top reasons that people become interested in fitness and exercise.
Before you see changes in the mirror or on the scale display, you will see an upward bump in your VO2max score. This is your body responding to your efforts. You have an opportunity witness your body ramping up, boosting your oxygen utilization capacity to meet greater challenges ahead.
If weight loss is your motivation for upping your exercise game, you’re in for a pleasant leveling-up surprise. Once your weight does start heading in the desired direction, you will almost certainly see a boost in your VO2max fitness.
Changes in body weight do impact your VO2max score. The reason for this is a little technical, but worth keeping in mind. VO2max describes how much oxygen your body can utilize in a single minute per kilo (2.2lbs) of body weight. It’s not the total amount of oxygen, but rather the amount of oxygen relative to your size. Keeping your weight updated as it changes will ensure that your VO2max fitness level is accurate.
By giving you the ability to quickly, easily see your VO2max, the vívosmart 3 unlocks a world beyond just fitness. You gain insight and the power to better manage your health and personal well-being. If you see room for improvement, you can realize your ambitions by setting clear and achievable goals related to your VO2max score. Tracking progress along the way confirms that you are on the right track and will serve as an excellent source of motivation.
With the right tools, anyone can make a difference. This is yours.
1. Kodama et. al. 2009. Journal of American Medical Association 301(19):2024-2035
Photos by Garmin