Improving Your VO2 Max for Better Workouts

By BullEyes 4 Min Read

People who work out regularly often track certain metrics. They want to know how long they work out, how many calories are burned during each workout, and their heart rate while exercising. Fewer people track their oxygen uptake or VO2 max numbers, but they should. These numbers provide information about their oxygen absorption and usage during a workout. 

V is for the volume, O2 is for the oxygen, and max means the maximum used. This figure gives you information about your oxygen utilization and provides a glimpse into your overall health. Using this number, a person can determine whether their training is effective and if they might want to look into a pump supplement

Why Measure VO2 Max

People choose to measure their VO2 max for several reasons. This number lets you know how well your heart delivers blood to the muscles and if your muscles are pulling oxygen from the bloodstream efficiently. Every time oxygen comes into the body, a metabolic reaction occurs within the muscle cells. This reaction provides the energy muscles need in the form of adenosine triphosphate or ATP. When exercising, you must breathe faster and deeper to produce more energy while expelling carbon dioxide with each exhale. 

Measuring VO2 Max

Measuring VO2 max involves determining how many milliliters of oxygen the body consumes in one minute based on body weight. A higher VO2 max number is a sign of good cardiovascular health. However, losing body fat can also raise your VO2 max. Athletes typically have a high number, but this figure declines as a person ages. Thankfully, exercise helps slow the decline. 

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Request a cardiopulmonary exercise test at your next doctor’s visit or schedule an appointment with an exercise medicine lab. The technician will put a mask over your face to measure the amount of oxygen consumed and the volume of carbon dioxide exhaled while you exercise. Not only will this test determine the volume of your breath but it also share information about the oxygen and carbon dioxide composition. 

The test lets the doctor know how many calories are being burned based on the exercise intensity level along with the heart rate at each level. Using this information, they then create an exercise plan to target specific heart rate zones. Today, certain wearable devices can also measure VO2 max using heart rate information. Many factors affect a person’s VO2 max number, including age and gender. 

Improving Your VO2 Max

Improving your VO2 max will allow you to exercise harder for longer periods. It’s helpful to know this number when you are trying to exercise at a certain level. Fortunately, if this number is not where you want it to be, there are steps you can take to improve it. 

High-intensity training or HIIT is an excellent way to boost your VO2 max. However, low-intensity training will also help you achieve this goal, so swim, hike, bike, or row. The goal is to lower your body fat percentage without decreasing lean muscle mass. 

Boosting your VO2 max helps benefit your health. You are less likely to suffer a cardiovascular event. In addition, you will have more energy to do the things you love, which means a better quality of life. Begin working on improving this number today, so you can see the benefits in very little time. 

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