Cardio Fitness Levels on Fitbit: The Ultimate Guide

cardio fitness score in Fitbit app

The cardio fitness levels on Fitbit watches are Fitbit’s way of calculating whether you are fit or not – and precisely just how fit you are. This guide talks a bit more about how it works and how you can use it. 

So, without any further ado, let us get right into it!

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What is “Cardio Fitness Level” on Fitbit? 

Cardio Fitness mostly a measurement of your VO2 max levels. VO2max is regarded as the best indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness.

VO2 max is a measurement of your body’s maximal oxygen uptake, meaning the maximum amount of oxygen your body absorbs and uses during intense exercise.

But other conditions such as resting heart rate, age, gender, and other pieces of information, play their own role. 

Your Fitbit measures our overall cardiovascular fitness level by taking into account: 

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Resting heart rate
  • Heart rate during exercise
  • VO2 Max

Fitbit cardio fitness

Based on those criteria, other pieces of personal information, and workout results, a Fitbit watch can determine your overall cardio fitness level. At the moment of writing this article, there are 6 cardio fitness levels: 

  1. Poor 
  2. Fair
  3. Average
  4. Good
  5. Very good
  6. Excellent

The exact scores that represent those levels differ depending mostly on age and gender, though. 

Plus, your overall cardio fitness level changes depending on how you perform over time. And that’s basically what the cardio fitness levels on Fitbit are. 

Simply put, it’s an easy way for you to know just how fit you are at this moment.

How to see your Cardio Fitness Score and levels on Fitbit

Fitbit automatically tracks your overall cardio fitness levels. All you have to do to see them is to go to: 

  • Open the Fitbit app.
  • Tap on the Today tab then scroll down and choose the heart rate tile.heart rate information in Fitbit app in the Today tab tile view
  • Swipe on the Heart Rate graph. See your cardio fitness score in the Fitbit App using the heart rate graph and swiping
  • And tap on the arrows icon at the upper right part of the screen if you want more information.

Cardio Fitness Levels on Fitbit

Most Fitbit devices track workouts and cardio fitness scores automatically

If your Fitbit does not automatically track exercise, use your Fitbit’s exercise app to find and start an exercise. 

Fitbits do not currently include an option of adding manual workouts, so choose a workout category that’s closest to the exercise you intend to do.

Make sure you track your workouts with heart-rate tracking enabled and your cardio fitness level updates accordingly. turn on Fitbit tracker heart rate

One thing to keep in mind is that running on flat terrain yields more accurate results. That’s because running uphill makes your muscles and heart work harder to push you forward, and that can mislead the Fitbit app. 

How can I improve my Fitbit Cardio Fitness Score? 

First, there is not a single score to aim for! Remember that the score varies for women and men and by different age groups.

As we get older, our cardio fitness score declines.

However, weekly intense workouts can help improve your cardio fitness regardless of age! In particular, exercising with intervals of high-intensity exercises followed by rest periods really helps improve cardio fitness.

And remember that you can’t change your cardio fitness in just a few days. It takes time!

If you’re overweight, add exercise and better eating strategies to lose some of that excess weight.  Changing up your workouts to add in some interval training also improves your cardio fitness levels–again, over time!

Seeing how our overall score improves over time with effort is great for keeping us motivated and on track.

How long does it take to improve cardio fitness? 

Usually anywhere from three to four weeks, and things get better over time. Workout consistency is key here. 

How do I get a more precise estimate of my cardio fitness score? 

Ensure that you have a strong GPS connection and that you are on a terrain that’s as flat as possible.

That’s because Fitbit measures both your heart rate and how much distance you’ve covered to calculate VO2 max and the overall cardio fitness score. 

Don’t see a cardio fitness score or level in the Fitbit app?

Make sure that you wear your watch for at least a couple of days and while sleeping.

Then complete a few runs with a good GPS signal (built-in or using your phone’s GPS) on flat terrain, and you should get your overall cardio fitness score.

If that doesn’t work, follow our troubleshooting guide above and give it another try. 

Suddenly getting a low cardio fitness score, what gives? suddenly low cardio fitness score in Fitbit app

Was your score excellent yesterday and dropped to average today? First, check that your weight, height, gender, and age information are all correct in the app. 

Then, look at your resting heart data.

If it’s unusually high, that could be why your cardio fitness plummeted seemingly overnight! Wear your Fitbit while you sleep to get a more accurate resting heart rate.

If your score suddenly and radically changes, try restarting both the Fitbit app and your Fitbit device. Also, check for any updates to the Fitbit app and the Fitbit’s firmware and update if available.

Then, once both restart, go for a short 10 minute or longer run making sure you turn on GPS before you begin. Try running on flat and level ground for the duration of your run and see if your score returns to your normal level.

If not, check your exercise history in the Fitbit app’s Today > Exercise tile for any runs where GPS data wasn’t tracked or poorly tracked, and delete them. Also, look for any walks that your Fitbit accidentally recorded as a run (will show recorded GPS activity) and delete those walks.

Then, check and see if your cardio score returns to normal.

Plus, if you recently starting exercising uphill that can also impact the cardio fitness score. Try deleting those uphill exercises and see if your score returns to normal.

Unfortunately, at this time Fitbit does not take elevation into account when quantifying your cardio fitness score.  

Finally, if you’re running on a treadmill, select the Treadmill exercise category instead of Run–this often returns your cardio score to normal and expected ranges. treadmill workout category in the Exercise app on Fitbit Versa 3

My Fitbit’s Cardio Fitness Score disappeared – how do I fix it? 

There are quite a lot of reasons why you may not be able to find your fitness cardio score. Some of the most common fixes are: 

  • Check that your Fitbit monitors and tracks your heart rate–you cannot get a cardio fitness score without your heart rate information. Some models allow you to turn this feature off, so make sure it’s on! turn on fitbit watch heart rate
  • Turn GPS on using either built-in GPS (on select models only) or Connected GPS (uses your paired phone to gather GPS data.)
  • Make sure your Fitbit syncs with the Fitbit app. In the app, to force a sync, tap your account icon or picture, then choose your Fitbit from the list. Scroll down and tap Sync Now to manually start a sync. Sync Now feature in Fitbit app
  • On your phone, force stop the Fitbit app and then relaunch it.
  • Restart your phone and your Fitbit.
  • Log out of the Fitbit app and then log in again with your Fitbit account credentials. how to log out of Fitbit app
  • Try reinstalling the app. 
  • Check if there is an app or device update. If so, update the app or your Fitbit device.

FAQ FAQ frequently asked questions

What is a good score and an average score for Cardio Fitness? 

Generally speaking, the higher that you can go, the better. But obviously, not everyone is an athlete. 

So, Fitbit describes a score of 36.5 as dead average. However, the highest, lowest, and average scores differ depending on both your age and gender. 

What does Fat Burn Cardio and Peak Mean on Fitbit? 

The Fat Burn zone and peak on Fitbit refer to the intensity of your workout.

The most intense workouts, such as fast running, are the ones that often burn the highest levels of fat. 

What are the benefits of knowing my cardio fitness? 

Having good cardio fitness is beneficial in several different ways including, but not limited to: 

  1. Lower risk of several diseases.
  2. Generally better heart health and strength.
  3. Ideal for weight loss.
  4. Improving your sleep quality.
  5. Strengthening your lungs.
  6. Improving your mental health.

What is the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness? 

A low resting heart rate is usually a great indicator of strong cardiovascular fitness, and the same goes for good cardio fitness (VO2 max) levels.

But you should also be able to do moderate workouts without feeling exhausted. 

How can I see just my VO2 Max score on Fitbit?

Your Fitbit combines your VO2 Max measurement with other factors (like resting heart rate) to display a cardio fitness score. 

At this time, you cannot pull out just the VO2 Max level from your Fitbit’s data. However, your Fitbit’s cardio fitness score is predominately your VO2 Max level so that you can use these values interchangeably. 

Wrapping Up

That’s basically all there is to know about the Cardio Fitness levels on Fitbit. If you have anything else to ask, please let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section below. 

Also, if you liked this article, feel free to stick around as we regularly post about everything that has to do with fitness, health, well-being, and tech gadgets related to such categories. 


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