Vitamin D has an important role in calcium homeostasis and is known to have various health-promoting effects. Moreover, potential interactions between vitamin D and physical activity have been suggested. This study aims to investigate the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and exercise capacity quantified by cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET). For this, 1377 participants from the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP-1) and 750 participants from the independent SHIP-TREND cohort were investigated. Standardised incremental exercise tests on a cycle ergometer were performed to assess exercise capacity by VO2 at anaerobic threshold, peakVO2, O2 pulse and peak power output. Serum 25(OH)D levels were measured by an automated chemiluminescence immunoassay. In SHIP-1, 25(OH)D levels were positively associated with all considered parameters of cardiopulmonary exercise capacity. Subjects with high 25(OH)D levels (4th quartile) showed an up to 25 % higher exercise capacity compared with subjects with low 25(OH)D levels (1st quartile). All associations were replicated in the independent SHIP-TREND cohort and were independent of age, sex, season and other interfering factors. In conclusion, significant positive associations between 25(OH)D and parameters of CPET were detected in two large cohorts of healthy adults.