The Importance of the VO2 Max Test

vo2 max test portland oregon

In offering the VO2 Max Test…

… our goal is to provide data and knowledge to our community; to help people find a starting point on their fitness and health journey. The importance of the VO2 max is becoming widely accepted as an important number to know! We aim to inform and educate our community about what it is, and why they need to know it!

We know there is mounting evidence backing the correlation between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and longevity.

Here we break down a study to make it easier to understand WHY you need to care about your VO2 max.

Study in question: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000461

What better way to help our community tackle their health and fitness than to show them definitive data that their health is improving.

Another goal of ours is to help individuals better adhere to lifestyle changes over the long term. It’s easy to set goals. To accomplish goals you almost always need a measurable in order to show that you are progressing toward the goal set. The VO2 Max Test is perfect for any health, fitness and wellness goal. It shows the current state of your cardiorespiratory system, and is extremely easy to measure. This makes it accessible to anyone – making it the best place to start your health and fitness journey.

What is the VO2 Max?

The VO2 Max assesses how well your heart, lungs and muscles function during intense exercise (schedule your test here) to reach VO2 max, the common approach, and what we use here, is to work on a treadmill for 8-12 minutes. This test is completely personalized, and each person can take it at their own pace, eventually reaching their VO2 max.

The VO2 max can be used on an ongoing basis to track improvements in CRF.

The American Heart Association released a study highlighting the importance of Cardiorespiratory fitness.

They take a deep dive into the correlations between low CRF, measured by VO2 max, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, all cause mortality rates, and mortality attributable to various cancers.

“A growing body of epidemiological and clinical evidence demonstrates not only that CRF is a potentially stronger predictor of mortality than established risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes mellitus, but that the addition of CRF to traditional risk factors significantly improves the reclassification of risk for adverse outcomes. The purpose of this statement is to review current knowledge related to the association between CRF and health outcomes, increase awareness of the added value of CRF to improve risk prediction, and suggest future directions in research.”

To summarize a summary (yes that is a summary of the goal of the study) They find that CRF shows great promise in being a STRONG predictor of future health risks.

By knowing your VO2 max, you put health into your own hands, and harness the ability to make improvements to it over time. You can ensure that you are doing the right types of exercise and fitness/health practices to keep your body in a place with at least minimized risk of serious medical conditions.

How is VO2 Max a predictor of health outcomes?

Here’s a lot of info at once for ya:

“CRF reflects the integrated ability to transport oxygen from the atmosphere to the mitochondria to perform physical work. It therefore quantifies the functional capacity of an individual and is dependent on a linked chain of processes that include pulmonary ventilation and diffusion, right and left ventricular function (both systole and diastole), ventricular-arterial coupling, the ability of the vasculature to accommodate and efficiently transport blood from the heart to precisely match oxygen requirements, and the ability of the muscle cells to receive and use the oxygen and nutrients delivered by the blood, as well as to communicate these metabolic demands to the cardiovascular control center. ”

What this means, is that the VO2 max is a single number that actually reflects a summary of how numerous processes work inside the human body. Because it has to do with the mitochondria, which are in every single sell, it is a huge indicator of overall health. A decrease in efficiency in any of the mechanisms up or down the chain, will result in a lower number, and indicate suboptimal health, along with higher risk for disease.

Estimated VO2 versus Measured VO2

There is a way to calculate VO2 max, but the calculation is not nearly as accurate as an actual measurement. While it can be useful to calculate as an overall indicator, there is no substantial backing to the number calculated. What is important, is that the estimate is better than nothing, and can be a good indicator in at-risk populations. If the estimate is exceedingly low, then an actual measurement would be the best next step.

Biological Adaptations Elicited by Exercise Training That Improve CRF

That’s right, what we preach here at APEX is demanding biological adaptations via exercise – resistance training and cardiovascular training – to improve VO2 max. In any group tested, the main variable that elicits the best improvement in VO2 max was intensity of exercise. Think of faster running, or heavier weight training. Obviously, there are plenty of other methods, but intensity was leading the pack. Intensity over a consistent timeline was best. Also, the higher the VO2 max was, the more intense and rigorous the session needed to be.

Takeaway TIP: Just move. The better you get at moving… move more. After that, move more in a shorter period of time.

 

 

 

 

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