The 12-minute running fitness test was developed by Kenneth Cooper, M.D., in 1968 as an easy way to measure aerobic fitness and provide an estimate of VO2 max for military personnel. The Cooper test, as it's also known, is still used today as a field test for determining aerobic fitness.
Dr. Cooper found that there is a very high correlation between the distance someone can run (or walk) in 12 minutes and their VO2 max value, which measures the efficiency with which someone can use oxygen while exercising. This test is still one of the basic fitness tests used by the military.
It is also used by many coaches and trainers to determine cardiovascular fitness and track fitness over time. This simple test also allows you to compare your cardiovascular endurance with others of your age and gender.
What Is Cardiovascular Endurance?
In sports, cardiovascular endurance refers to an athlete's ability to sustain prolonged exercise for minutes, hours, or even days. Endurance testing is a way to measure the efficiency of an athlete's circulatory system and respiratory system in supplying oxygen to the working muscles and support sustained physical activity.
Endurance generally refers to aerobic endurance. Aerobic exercise requires oxygen to help supply the energy needed for exercise. The objective of endurance training, then, is to develop and improve the body systems that produce and deliver the energy needed to meet the demands of prolonged activity.
How to Perform the 12-Minute Run Test
The Cooper 12-minute run test requires you to run or walk as far as possible in 12 minutes. A stopwatch is required for ensuring that you only run for the correct amount of time.
Safety First. This is a strenuous fitness test and it's recommended that you have your physician's clearance before performing this test on your own.
Perform a short warm-up of 10 to 15 minutes of low to moderately strenuous activity before performing any fitness testing. When you are warmed up, get going. Run or walk as far as you can in 12 minutes & make a note of the distance.
Calculate Your 12-Minute Run VO2 Max Test Results
There are equations you can use to work out your VO2, but the easiest way is to use this link. This allows you to compare your results to the norms and recommendations for your age and gender.
12-Minute Run Fitness Test Results
Instead of using the link above to get your VO2 max, you can also use the distance you achieved to find how you rate on the chart below:
So, how did you do? As good as you hoped? Not quite so good? At least now you know, and can do something to improve it if you want to. A Get Fit Today group Fitness Session will improve your running, strength and all over fitness. If you feel you are ready to start some training with us (the moment lockdown is lifted), get in touch by clicking this link.