The Secret to Determining How Fit You Really Are

Photo of Peter Hartmann
August 15, 2016
Reading time
3 minutes

If you’ve ever wondered if your workout routine is making you more fit – or if it is just a waste of time – there’s now an easy, accurate way to find out.

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We’re working out like crazy. But are we getting in better shape?

That’s a question all of us who push to stay fit often ask ourselves. Sure, maybe we’ve shaved a few seconds off our last time or done a few more reps, but is all that time, sweat and effort we put in at the gym making us any healthier?

Fortunately, finding the answer to that question just got a whole lot easier. It’s why I’m so excited about our Jabra Sport Pulse headphones. They’re the first headphones that provide automatic fitness testing.

With them, along with the Jabra Sport Life app, we can determine our cardiorespiratory fitness, or – in nonscientific language – how well our heart and lungs work, which is an outstanding indicator of overall health. It’s all done by measuring something called VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen our bodies can effectively use while working out.

The more oxygen we can use, the more energy we can produce and thus the better we can run, bike, ski, chase Pokemon, you name it. Our VO2 max score is represented by a two-digit number, say 42. In technical terms, this stands for 42 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute. Whether your score is good or bad depends on your fitness level, of course, as well as your age and gender.

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In general, the higher the number, the more fit you are. For a 25-year old male, a VO2 max score over 50 is considered excellent, while 45 and above is excellent for a woman of the same age. Professional athletes can have off-the-chart scores. Take Tour de France winner Chris Froome. His VO2 max is nearly 85!

Measuring Your Fitness… Right from Your Phone

The problem is, although VO2 is the gold-standard for measuring cardiorespiratory fitness, determining it isn’t easy. Gauging yours would require a visit to a specialized lab, where you’d don a breathing mask, tether yourself to a bunch of machines and proceed to work out like crazy. It’s time-consuming and expensive, and something few of us can afford to do often.

Fortunately, with the Jabra Sport Pulse we don’t have to.

By combining Jabra Sport Pulse headphones with the Jabra Sport Life app, you can get a real-time picture of your VO2 max anytime and effortlessly track your fitness over time. The Sport Pulse headphones measure your heart rate via your ear while you’re running. Enter your age, weight, and gender into the Jabra Sport Life app, and it can instantly show you how fit you are – and where you can improve. Plus, it’s amazingly accurate: about 95% compared to traditional lab tests.

Since VO2 max is a great indicator of our general physical health, what’s the key to increasing it? It isn’t much of a secret, actually: Exercise. Studies show that consistent exercise can noticeably increase VO2 max. The effect increases with intensity, too. Six weeks of moderate workouts can boost VO2 max by 10%, while high-intensity workouts can push that to 20% or more.

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And the health benefits of boosting our VO2 max are potentially life-changing. For an average person who regularly works out to stay fit, a 10% increase in VO2 max can mean a 15% reduction in mortality risk.

Plus a high VO2 score also has a measurable effect on our athletic performance. If you’re already a good distance runner, increasing your VO2 max by just 5% can shave about five minutes off a 10K run.

It’s about time we settle the question of whether our workouts are making us healthier. With Jabra Sport Pulse headphones with the Jabra Sport Life app, now we know for sure.

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