Polar Pacer : Use The Walking Test Feature To Safely Gauge Your Fitness

polar pace walking test
Polar pacer : Using the walking test feature is a safe way to test your aerobic capacity.

If you’re like most people, you probably want to get in shape but don’t know where to start. Well, look no further than the new Polar Pace fitness tracker! This watch series is dedicated specifically to running, and can help you get started on your fitness journey with ease.

One of the coolest features of the Pace series is the walking test. This safe and repeatable test can help you gauge your personal aerobic capacity and see how far you can walk before becoming tired. So if you’re looking for an easy way to measure your fitness progress, look no further than the Polar Pace walking test!

So What Is The Walking Test?

The walking test is a simple, safe, and easy way to measure your VO2max. This is a good way to see how well your aerobic fitness is doing. People should do the test when they start training, and then repeat it every three months. But you can do it more often if you want.

To find out your aerobic fitness, you will need to walk as far as you can in fifteen minutes. This means walking faster than normal, so your heart rate goes up to 65% of your maximum. You should keep your heart rate up by walking quickly throughout the test. The distance you walk, your heart rate during the test, and your personal characteristics (age, sex, height and weight) all help determine your VO2max score.

The test is easy to do by yourself, but it’s best to have someone with you in case you need help. You can warm up for a few minutes before the test, but make sure you don’t tire yourself out.

So How Do you Know What Your Maximum Heart Rate is?

Your maximum heart rate is the highest number of times your heart can beat in a minute. You can find out your maximum heart rate by using a simple formula:

Max heart rate = 220 – your age, for example if you are 40 years old then your maximum heart rate is 180.

There are many other formula’s out there to calculate your maximum heart rate. I used this one as it is the easiest to calculate in your head. However please note that this formula isn’t quite accurate. It’s more of a general rule to work out roughly your maximum heart rate.

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There are several things that can affect your maximum heart rate. These include:

  • Medications : Some medications can slow down your heart rate
  • Exercise : If you are a very fit person, then your resting heart rate will be lower than someone who isn’t as fit
  • Genetics : Some people have genes that make their hearts beat faster or slower than average

Is There Anything you Need To Do Before You Begin The Walking Test?

In my experience I found it to be quite hard to start. Leading up to a test you need to prepare yourself well. I only say this because I wanted to get the most accurate information possible. Especially , when it comes to my personal fitness.

1. Monitor My Training Load

I normally do the walking test at the beginning of the week if possible. During my recovery days I would look at the training load data. The goal is to get it low as possible so you can begin the test fully recovered. I feel it’s better to do the test when your muscles are not so fatigued. My heart rate tends to spike quickly for minimum effort, if I’m fatigued. It’s best trying to avoid that.

2. Manage Your Stress Levels

Easy said than done, however maintaining your stress levels before the test is beneficial. During the test you want your heart rate to be as low as possible. If you are stressed out prior to the walking test, most likely your heart rate will be higher than normal. I would use the Serene guided breathing feature. This is a great feature where you take deep breaths to lower your stress levels. I will be writing a article about this feature in due course.

3. Get a Good Night Sleep

This is probably one of the most important things you can do before the test. A good night’s sleep will help your body recover and be rested for the test. It’s important to be well rested because during the test you want to avoid getting too tired.

4. Proper Nutrition

Eating healthy foods and staying hydrated is key leading up to the test. You want to have enough energy to get through the test. I would also recommend avoiding any type of caffeine before the test. Not to mention limit alcohol intake before test day.

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5. Plan Your Route

To do the test, you will need to find a nice flat track. Preferably a walkway or track that has no tall buildings or heavy tree area’s, bridges or tunnels. That way the polar Pacer can track your distance more accurately. I know the Polar Pacer has so many location sensor’s built in, but I like t take no risk’s and find an accurate route.

6. Make Sure The Pacer is Charged

This goes without saying but, you want to make sure your watch is fully charged before starting the test. I would charge it overnight so you can be guaranteed it will have a full battery. The GPS tracking and continuous heart rate tracking during the test will drain a lot of power. 40% power should be enough to get your through. Don’t get me wrong, the battery life of the Polar Pacer is excellent. I tend to forget as I normally get 7 days battery life.

7. Calculate Your Target Heart Rate

Earlier in the article, I mentioned a formula to calculate your maximum heart rate. Which is 220-your age. Then calculate 65% of your maximum heart rate. Which will give you your target heart rate.

Example if I was 30 years of age my target heart rate will be 0.65 X (220-30)=123.5bpm.

I find that having this number available is useful when you are walking very fast. Especially when you are on the last 5 minutes of the walk. You can take a quick glance and power on.

8. Warm Up

This is probably a no brainer, but you want to make sure you do a proper warm up before starting the test. A good way to warm up is by doing some light cardio such as jogging or jumping jacks. You don’t want to do anything too strenuous because you’ll be tired before the test even starts.

9. Repeat The Process

The great thing about the walking test is that it’s repeatable and safe. Repeat the steps again when you do a re test. I have done it twice in a month ( one every 2 weeks). I think the suggested time frame was every 3 months. However I chose to ignore that, just to get a feeling of how the test works. Although on a bright sunny day, my performance is way better. Maybe it’s just the weather changing my mood .

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How Does The Walking test Track your results?

There are a few things that the test requires to gauge your fitness level.  The test summary shows your VO2max. The result is also classified based your gender and age group ranging from very low to elite. 

  • Test distance : The test will record the distance you have walked in 15 minutes.
  • Test your heart rate : The test will take the average heart rate for the last 5 minutes of the test
  • Test speed and Pace : Your speed is recorded through out the test, then calculates your average speed.

Once all of this information is collected, the Polar Pacer will then calculate your fitness level. If you want to update your VO2max value based on your test result, you will need to sync the results to the Flow app. After syncing, you will be asked if you want to update it.

What should you do if your results indicate that you need to improve your fitness level?

If your results from the Walking Test indicate that you need to improve your fitness level, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to get started on a path to better health. Talk to your doctor about starting a walking program, or look for resources online or in your community.

We all have to start somewhere right. So the walking test, in my opinion is a good way to start. Not to mention it can give the best estimation of your bodies limits. This is an important factor to know because if you are first starting out, and go over your bodies limits, your body will take a long time to recover.

Final Conclusion

If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that will help support your new found interest in running, then the Polar Pace is definitely worth checking out. It’s packed with features that will not only help keep you motivated, but also provide you with meaningful metrics to track your progress.

Plus, the walking test feature is a safe and repeatable way to gauge your personal aerobic capacity. So if you’re looking to get fit in the new year, be sure to give the Polar Pace a try.

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