VO2 max testing
VO2 max is an indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance
What is VO2 max?
VO2 max, or maximal oxygen consumption, refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. This measurement is generally considered the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. Theoretically, the more oxygen a person can use during high level exercise, the more energy (ATP) a person can produce. This test is the gold standard to cardiorespiratory fitness because the muscles need oxygen for prolonged (aerobic) exercise, the blood carries oxygen to the muscles and the heart must pump adequate amounts of blood to meet the demands of aerobic exercise.
Measuring VO2 max
By putting a mask on the subject, we can directly measure the volume and gas concentrations of inspired and expired air. This measure is often used in research and is considered the most accurate. The test involves either exercising on a treadmill or riding a bike at increasing intensity every few minutes until exhaustion, and is designed to achieve a maximal effort.
What the numbers mean
The charts below show oxygen consumption for men and women by age and levels of fitness.
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