Vo2max to the max

Recent research has classified Vo2max as one of the key indicators of mortality.

In fact, in 2016, the American Heart Association published a scientific statement that recommended that cardiorespiratory fitness (quantified as Vo2max) should be regularly assessed as a clinical vital sign like your body temperature or your blood pressure.

Essentially, Vo2max is a major indicator of your health in general.

So what does Vo2max mean, exactly? Well, let’s break it down into its parts.

V equals volume.

o2, well, that’s oxygen.

And max? That, of course, means maximum.

So, in its simplest terms, your Vo2max is the maximum amount (or volume) of oxygen you use when exercising at a high intensity. Or, even simpler again, it’s a measure of your body’s ability to consume oxygen.

To determine your VO2max, you have to work out at a level that’s sufficient to fully tax your aerobic capacity, with the intensity of the workout gradually increasing.

Your Vo2 max is reached when your oxygen intake remains steady despite an increase in workload.

Historically, Vo2 testing has been done in a lab or clinic using a treadmill or similar cardio machine and highly advanced (and expensive) diagnostic equipment.

But now, thanks to the advent of wearables and other more user friendly technology, we can accurately estimate your Vo2max using your heart rate data.

Serious runners in particular have always placed a lot of importance on Vo2max, because it is a key indicator of endurance and aerobic capacity. But because of this newfound accessibility, more and more people are reaping the benefits of it.

So, why do we at HeadUp rate Vo2max so highly, and how do we use it to your advantage?

Your body’s effective and efficient use of oxygen relates directly to the performance of your heart. And your heart is the centre of your physical universe. How well it functions determines how well you are overall.

And the higher your Vo2max is, the more blood your heart can transport with each beat to your muscles.

Also, a higher Vo2max has been linked to a lower incidence of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and even dementia and depression.

So, it goes without saying that to get the maximum out of your physical and mental wellbeing, Vo2max is at the heart of everything.

At HeadUp Labs we’re digging deeper into heart health every day, and part of that is exploring the link between Vo2max and people’s wider physical and mental health.

We’ve been able to calculate our users’ VO2max from their heart rate data, cut through the jargon previously reserved for professional athletes and provide an accurate indication of their cardiorespiratory fitness. Combined with their activity data and personal information, we then moved onto evaluating their cardio fitness and heart health more precisely.

But here’s the best bit. Unlike other markers like cholesterol and high blood pressure, Vo2max can be simply and relatively quickly improved without any medication.

All you need to do is exercise a bit more. And the higher intensity that exercise is, the higher the gains you’ll get in your Vo2max.

So to help maximise your health (and your life), focus on your Vo2max.

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