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Everything to Know About VO₂ Max

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VO2 Max refers to the amount of oxygen that your body can absorb during exerciseTrusted source.

You might want to increase your aerobic fitness by increasing your VO2 max (or your oxygen uptake).

Continue reading to find out more about VO2 max, how it is measured and how you can increase it.

What’s VO2 max?

VO2 max refers to the maximum (maximum) rate (V), at which your body can use oxygen (O2) during exercise.

The respiratory process of breathing is dependent on oxygen. Your lungs take in oxygen and convert it into energy, adenosinetriphosphate (ATP).Trusted Source

ATP is the power source for your cells. It also helps to release carbon dioxide (CO2) from your lungs when you exhale.

These benefits are straightforward: Your body can absorb more oxygen, which in turn allows your body to use it more efficiently to produce the most ATP energy.

Your VO2 max is the amount of oxygen your body can take in. This will allow your body to use oxygen more efficiently to produce the most ATP energy.

This means your body is better equipped to handle cardio activities such as running and swimming.

A high VO2 max can also be a predictor of your athletic performance, particularly if you are a runner or swimmer.

If you want to monitor your progress in athletics or to maintain your performance, your VO2 maximum can be used as a benchmark.

How does VO2 max get measured?

VO2max tests are usually performed in a hospital or lab by a doctor, specialist in cardiology, or specialist in fitness.

Submaximal exercise tests

Personal trainers and instructors who are certified to run VO2 max tests may also be certified. These tests are sometimes called submaximal because they don’t provide the same level of detail as a laboratory test.

Submaximal exercise tests can still be a useful tool to determine your VO2 max and overall heart/lung endurance levels during exercise.

Your level of fitness will determine which type of VO2max test is best for you. If you are a highly trained athlete or at high fitness, your doctor may ask you to take one of these tests.

  • Astrand treadmill testingTrusted Source
  • 2.4 km run test
  • multistage bleep test

If your fitness level is low, you can do a simple run/walk test on a treadmill. You may also want to test your VO2 max.

  • Cooper 1.5-mile walk/run test
  • Test your treadmill
  • Compare your speed and time to get average results with others in similar activities

How to calculate VO2 max METS

You want to be really geeky? Here’s how to calculate your VO2 max using a number called metabolic equivalents. This is the official term for the amount of energy your body uses while it is resting.

1 MET is roughly 3.5 milliliters (mL), of oxygen (O2) divided times how much you weight times one minute.

It looks like this: 1 MEL = 3.5 mL of O2 / kilograms (kg). x Minute

What is a good VO2 max?

The following key factors affect VO2 max:

  • Age
  • gender
  • Fitness level
  • Elevation, such as at sea-level or in the mountains

There is no “good” VO2 maximum that everyone should aim for.

These averagesTrusted source are based on gender, activity levels and can be used as a reference.

Gender (18-45 years old) Activity level Average HTML2 max Male Sedentary 35-40 mL/kg/min Female Sedentary 27-30 mL/kg/min Male Active 42.5-46.4 mL/kg/min Female Active 33.0-36.9 mL/kg/min Male Highly active <= 85 mL/kg/min Female Highly active <= 77 mL/kg/min

How do you increase your VO2 max.

Your VO2 max decreases as you age.

There are many things you can do to maintain your VO2 max levels, regardless of your age or fitness level. A 2016 studyTrusted Source showed that even intense exercise can improve VO2 max levels.

Here are some ideas:

  • High-intensity interval training is recommended. This involves doing intense aerobic exercises like stationary cycling. After a while, increase the intensity.
  • You can switch between aerobic activities within a single workout. You can start by cycling, swimming, running, and then switching to other aerobic activities. Between each activity, rest.

Try the VO2 max workout

This VO2 max workout is used by many to prepare for the 10K race.

  1. Sprint fast for five minutes.
  2. You can measure how far you walked in 5 minutes.
  3. Take a 5-minute rest.
  4. You can run the same distance as before, but 20 percent slower. Try to run 2,000 steps in six minutes if you can’t complete the distance in five minutes.

Increase your VO2 max!

Research into the benefits of Vo2 max has shown that it will help you live longer.

It’s not a joke: A 2018 StudyTrusted Source in Frontiers in Biosciencefound out that increasing your VO2 Max can increase the delivery and use oxygen by your body. This will help you to maintain your physical and mental health well into your later years.

You may begin to notice other benefits every day as soon as you start improving your VO2 max.

  • Being less tired or winded while doing activities such as climbing stairs
  • reducing your stress levels
  • You can boost your immune system to avoid getting sick more often

More

Takeaway

The VO2 max benchmark is an excellent way to measure your aerobic fitness. It literally measures how efficient your body uses oxygen.

If you are an athlete who enjoys cardio, then VO2 Max should be on your list. It will help you assess your fitness and track your progress over time.

Your quality of life and VO2 max are strong indicators of your age. To stay healthy, it’s worthwhile to track your VO2 max score.

 

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