Fitbit Cardio Fitness Score [All You Need To Know]

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If you bought or are considering buying a Fitbit device, I suspect you are interested in your cardio health and do not want to use your fitness tracker as a simple watch. 

In the last couple of years, all smartwatches and fitness trackers companies competed to offer the maximum of actionable data to make you a healthier self. 

When wearing a Fitbit device, you have access to many technologies and sensors that were only available to professional athletes and doctors just ten years ago. For example, the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Charge 5 are Fitbit flagship devices and do much more than tracking sleep stages or counting the number of steps you walk to the office.

These devices also detect your blood oxygen saturation, stress levels, and heart rate and compute your overall cardio fitness level. By combining data collected all day and all night long, Fitbits’ devices will also come with a daily readiness score that will let you know if today is the right day for a marathon training session or if you should better lay on your sofa and watch Netflix.

The Fitbit Cardio Fitness Score gained popularity among Fitbit users and does not require a top-of-the-line device to be computed. In a nutshell, this score will tell you how fit you are and if your exercise routine shows benefits not only for your waistline but also for your overall heart health.

This article will guide you through all you need to know about the Fitbit Cardio Fitness Score. How is it calculated? How to access it and fix it in case something goes wrong? We will share everything we know.

Ready to make the most of this critical score? Let’s dive into the world of the Fitbit Cardio Fitness Score.

What Is the Fitbit Cardio Fitness Score?

Fitbit Cardio Fitness Score is Fitbit’s answer to defining your cardiovascular fitness. Fitbit will compute a score and assign you to six different groups depending on how you compare to people of the same gender and age group.

The scores are defined as follow:

  • Excellent: > 44.0
  • Very Good: 39.6-44.0
  • Good: 35.4-39.6
  • Average: 31.1-35.4
  • Fair: 26.7-31.1
  • Poor: < 26.7

The Cardio Fitness Score will rely heavily on the resting heart rate and make the most of the personal information you entered while setting up your Fitbit Profile. 

If your weight changes, you should not forget to update it in your settings. To do so:

  1. Open the Fitbit App on your phone
  2. Tap on your profile
  3. Tap on personal
  4. Update your weight 

Is the Cardio Fitness Score the Same as The Vo2 Max?

When working out, the VO2 Max measures how well your body uses oxygen. The measure relates to the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use while exercising. In a nutshell, the higher your VO2 Max, the fitter you are. 

Traditionally, the VO2 Max is assessed in a lab while running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike until you feel exhausted. The measurement of the VO2 Max is quite stressful for the body as it will require you to reach your maximum level of endurance while wearing a mask that measures how much air you inhale and exhale. 

The Fitbit Cardio Fitness Score is defined much easier by relying on resting heart rate, age, gender, and weight. Even if this score is not as precise as a VO2 Max recorded in a laboratory setting, it is somehow an excellent estimate of cardiovascular fitness.

How Does Fitbit Define the Cardio Fitness Score?

As we mentioned, Fitbit fitness trackers will make the most of your resting heart rate and personal information to define your cardio fitness level compared to your age group.

Tracking the heart rate data and resting heart rate is essential as it will also be used to define your active zones. These zones include the Fat burn, Cardio, and Peak Zones used to calculate the number of active minutes you spend. 

As you may remember, the American Heart Association recommends you spend at least 150 active zone minutes per week improving and maintaining your overall health.

Is Fitbit Cardio Score Accurate?

We already said that Fitbit Cardio Score is not as accurate as a clinical VO2 max analysis but is a great way to understand your heart health better. 

Fitbit recommends connecting your device to the GPS or activating the built-in one and going for a quick run to improve the score accuracy. The reason is that when compared to people with lower VO2 Max, people with greater VO2 Max usually have a lower heart rate while jogging.

Also, do not forget to wear your Fitbit at night to improve the accuracy of your resting heart rate.

How to Access Your Cardio Fitness Score?

Some Fitbit devices allow you to check the Cardio Fitness Score on the device, but we recommend that you make the most of your Fitbit App.

The first step is to open the App. on your smartphone and tap on the Today icon. The following steps are as follows:

  • Swipe down the metrics to access the heart rate one and tap on it
  • From there, you will see a graph showing the evolution of your resting heart rate
  • Swipe it to the left, and there you are. You will see your Cardio Fitness Score.

How to Improve Your Cardio Fitness Score?

If you don’t have as much cardio fitness as you’d like, it could be due to several causes, such as a sedentary lifestyle, which can have long-term health consequences such as an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Exercise and healthy weight loss are the two strategies to increase your score and improve overall health.

While increasing moderate activity is beneficial, integrating high-intensity intervals in your workouts can yield noticeable results. Any workout that alternates between high-intensity bursts of activity and intervals of lower-intensity activity or rest is considered interval training. In scientific studies, participants’ VO2 Max increased in endurance and interval training experiments, although interval training had a more significant impact.

Spinning is especially beneficial for improving your cardio fitness score. Remember somehow to consult with your doctor before starting High-Intensity Interval Training exercises as you may suffer from an undiagnosed underlying condition, and such exercises may lead to health consequences.

Also, improving your heart health will require time and commitment, so do not expect to see dramatic changes in your cardiovascular health and cardio fitness score. However, if you see such a shift, your device may have an issue that we will hopefully fix below.

Help! My Cardio Fitness Score Changed Overnight?

Try restarting your Fitbit app and your Fitbit device if your score changes dramatically. First, check for the Fitbit app and firmware upgrades, then update if necessary.

If your cardio fitness score isn’t showing up in your app, Fitbit recommends trying the following:

  • Wear your device for a minimum of one to two days, and don’t forget to wear it while sleeping to improve the accuracy of the resting heart rate values
  • Complete multiple GPS runs to get a run-based score measurement.

To Wrap Up

The Fitbit Cardio Score is one of the key components you can get from your Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker. Used as a proxy for the VO2 max, this metric is critical for knowing your cardiovascular health level.
This score is also used for defining critical components that will impact how your device will compute the heart zones and keep track of your exercises.
Remember that improving your Fitbit Cardio Score is a long-term commitment starting with regular workouts and weight loss. Looking at your score improvements will be the ultimate reward if you are ready to make the needed efforts.