FIT Treadmill Score

This formula has soooo many variables it should be taken with a pinch of salt! Still a geeky interesting thing to perform.

The Mayo Clinic Proceedings (journal) has published findings into the examination of treadmill exercise v age, gender and metabolic indicators. Researcher Michael Joseph Blaha, along with John McEvoy, Roger Blumenthal and Steven Jones of the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. Mouaz Al-Mallah, Clinton Brawner and Steven Keteyian of Henry Ford Hospital and Khurram Nasir of Baptist Health Medical Group say you only need access to a treadmill to gauge a la BMI your FIT Treadmill Score.

58,020 people, ages 18 to 96 underwent standard exercise stress tests between 1991 and 2009 for evaluation of chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting or dizziness. The researchers then tracked how many of the participants within each fitness level died from any cause over the next decade. The results reveal that among people of the same age and gender, fitness level as measured by METs and peak heart rate reached during exercise were the greatest indicators of death risk.
Fitness level was the single most power full predictor of death and survival.

FIT Treadmill Score
How to calculate it:

Male low bodyfat image europafitness.com1.  Start walking on a treadmill at 1.7 mph, at a 10% incline.

Every three minutes, you increase your speed and incline.

Stage Minutes % grade km/h MPH METS
1 3 10 2.7 1.7 5
2 6 12 4.0 2.5 7
3 9 14 5.4 3.4 10
4 12 16 6.7 4.2 13
5 15 18 8.0 5.0 15
6 18 20 8.8 5.5 18
7 21 22 9.6 6.0 20

While you walk and run keep tabs on your heart rate and how much energy you’re expending measured by METs, or metabolic equivalents of task. One MET is equal to the amount of energy you’d expect just sitting around, two METs is slow walking, and so on. Or perhaps you can use perception, ie exercise to your limit. Then:

2. Get your hear rate:

When you feel like you’re at your absolute limit, you stop check your heart rate. MHR is the highest heart rate you can achieve without severe problems through exercise.

To measure your heart rate check your pulse. Place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery which is located on the thumb side of your wrist. When you feel your pulse count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats per minute.

Michael Fassbendeer running

Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) can also be calculated with the formula 220-age.

Alternatively try the formula, offered in a study published in the journal  Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, is 206.9 – (0.67 x age) which can also be used to more accurately determine VO2 Max, but may produce significantly different results.)]

It’s based on age; if you’re 40, it’s 180. So if your heart rate reaches 162 while you’re running max on the treadmill, you hit 90 % of your MPHR: 162 /180*100.
Now you can calculate your FIT Treadmill Score: [percentage of MPHR] + [12 x METs] – [4 x your age] + [43 if you’re a women]. You’re aiming for a score that’s greater than 100, which means you have a 98 percent chance of surviving over the next decade. If you’re between 0 and 100, you have a 97 percent chance; between -100 and -1, it’s 89 percent; and less than -100, it’s 62 percent.

Mayo Clinic Proceedings PR:

Images: Original photograph (c) Peter Torsal, to view more of Peter’s work please go to

Michael Fassbender gif (c) the film centurion

Images manipulated by me.

MHR table from Wikipedia.

Music by Bonobo.