If you’ve ever hung around with elite runners, you may have heard them talk (or brag) about their VO2 max rates. Of course, the higher that rate the greater the bragging rights. But what exactly is VO2 max? In pure layman terms, it is a measure of your capacity to generate energy required for endurance activities. In more scientific terms, VO2 max is the maximal volume of oxygen that the body can consume during intensive exercise while breathing at sea level. Since oxygen consumption is directly related to energy burning, measuring oxygen consumption is a way of measuring a person’s capacity to do aerobic work. And, in a broad sense, of how fit a person is.
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Now, how do you know how fit you are? Simple. Check the charts below to see where you feature.
If you’re in the less than “Good” category for your age, don’t despair. While resting VO2 levels are often genetically determined, it is possible to increase your VO2 max by intensive practice. Goal-setting and constant timing improvements can lead to higher VO2 level, implying that you can train your body to consume more oxygen during exercise by pushing it to perform better.
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Caveat: The physical exercises described in Treadmill are not recommendations.
Readers should exercise caution and consult a physician before attempting to follow any of these.