VO2 Max

Original Editor - Lucinda hampton

Top Contributors - Lucinda hampton, Mandeepa Kumawat and Kim Jackson  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max or maximal aerobic capacity) was defined as the maximum rate at which a subject could take up and utilize oxygen while breathing air at sea level and was determined during a continuous incremental exercise test to volitional exhaustion while running on a motorized treadmill. VO2 max testing is the gold standard or most accurate test of aerobic or cardiovascular fitness. VO2 max calculates how efficiently your cells use oxygen for energy.[1]. This is an excellent measure of physical fitness because it provides a metric of efficiency.

Image 1: : JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata, Expedition 38 flight engineer, performs a VO2max session.

Image 2: Athlete during the vo2 max test in the Biohacking Laboratory

VO₂ Max Tests[edit | edit source]

Vo2max test.jpeg

Typically, VO₂ max tests are conducted in a medical facility like a lab or hospital by a doctor, a cardiologist, or a specialist in fitness. In athletic and clinical settings, sometimes VO2 max estimated value assessed through cycling protocol, walking protocol or treadmill protocol due to the expensive equipment setup.

Submaximal exercise tests: Some personal trainers and fitness instructors may also have certifications that allow them to conduct VO₂ max tests. These tests may be called “submaximal” because they won’t necessarily give you the level of detail that a controlled laboratory test can give you. Submaximal exercise tests are still a useful way to measure your VO₂ max levels and your overall levels of heart and lung endurance during exercise. [1][2]

  • The simplest formula to calculate VO2 max is VO2 max = 15 x (HRmax/HRrest). This method is considered to compare well with other common formulas. The units for VO2 max are milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute (mL/kg/min).[3]

VO2 Max calculation[edit | edit source]

Fick equation[4]

The Fick equation states that VO2 is equal to the product of cardiac output (Q) and the difference between arterial and venous oxygen content at the level of the capillary (a-vO2diff).

VO2 max= Q * (Ca O2 - Cv O2)

These values are obtained during exertion at maximal effort. Q= cardiac output of the heart, Ca O2- arterial oxygen content, Cv O2- Venous oxygen content, (Ca O2 - Cv O2)- arterio venous oxygen difference.

Q value increases at a linear rate similar to VO2 upon initiation of increment to maximal exercise. There are few studies which states that improvement in VO2 max is due to improvement in Qmax but not due to a-v O2 max.

3 min step test/ Tecumseh step test and Cooper test[5]

Participants are instructed to step up and down from a single step 8 inches in height at a rate of 24 steps per minute for 3 minutes and are fitted with a chest-worn heart rate monitor. The radial pulse was measured from the 31st second to the 60th second after 3 minutes of stepping. Upon completion of the test, the participants were asked to sit in a chair and rest. After a minimum of 10 minutes of rest, participants completed a 5-minute self-determined light intensity warm-up. They were then instructed to cover as much distance as possible on a flat 400-m track for 12 minutes. The distance traveled was measured after 12 minutes.

VO2 Max= d12 - 504.9 / 44.75

where, d12 is the distance covered in meters. Based on the measured distance, an estimate of V̇O2 max is calculated in mL/(kg·min)].

VO2 Max Ranges[edit | edit source]

VO2 max ranges will depend on a variety of factors, such as the person's age and gender.

Gender (18 to 45 years of age) Activity level Average VO₂ max
male sedentary 35–40 mL/kg/min
female sedentary 27–30 mL/kg/min
male active 42.5–46.4 mL/kg/min
female active 33.0–36.9 mL/kg/min
male highly active ≤ 85 mL/kg/min
female highly active ≤ 77 mL/kg/min

For males between the ages of 50 and 59, the range is about 32 to 49.

Women who are 50 to 59 years old generally have a VO2 between 29 and 39.[2][6].

Types of VO2 Max [7][edit | edit source]

Absolute VO2

Absolute VO2 reflects the total (absolute) amount of oxygen consumed by a body, regardless of size, age or gender. It is expressed in Liters per min (L/min).

Relative VO2

The total volume of oxygen consumed related to body weight . It allows comparison of aerobic fitness among individuals of various body size and it is expressed as mL/kg/min.

VO2 - Not the whole story[edit | edit source]

Aerobic exercise improves V02 max significantly. Interestingly, much of this improvement results from an increase in the size of the heart. So clearly, V02 max is a great measure of physical fitness. But it is a poor predictor of athletic performance. If you measured the V02 max of eight athletes before a race, you would be hard pressed to predict which of them would win if you only had their respective V02 max values. This is where the lactate threshold levels come in. Lactate threshold is defined as the intensity of exercise at which lactate begins to accumulate in the blood at a faster rate than it can be removed.[8]

Heritability of VO2 Max[edit | edit source]

Endurance woman.jpeg

The heritability of VO2max is 0.43 to 0.72, which means that genetic factors account for 43-72% of the difference in values between individuals.[9]

Although the VO2max has a significant genetic component and is affected by the aging process, it can improve significantly at any age with regular endurance training by approximately 15–20% or 0.5.l/min. Accordingly, it is possible that a trained 70-year-old can exhibit the biological age of an untrained 50-year-old based on the VO2max, which declines at about 7% (women) to 10% (men) per decade from the age of around 25 years, but in an endurance-trained person starting from a higher level[10]

  • Elite endurance athletes have a high .VO(2,max) due primarily to a high cardiac output from a large compliant cardiac chamber (including the myocardium and pericardium) which relaxes quickly and fills to a large end-diastolic volume. The magnitude and mechanisms of these changes probably involve underlying genetic factors, as well as the length, duration, type, intensity and age of initiation of the training stimulus.[11]

Longevity[edit | edit source]

World Masters Mountain Running Championships 2021 Antonio Molinari-2.jpeg

VO₂ max is also a strong predictor of your quality of life as you age and future life expectancy in both healthy and cardiorespiratory-diseased individuals.

Age-related physiological adaptations occurring with regular exercise training, with specific reference to the main organs (lung, heart, skeletal muscles) improved VO2 max. The importance of exercise training is essential for improving life expectancy. It is not possible to extend the genetically fixed lifespan with regular exercise training, but it possible give the years more life by changes that occur with an improved VO2 max.[10]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bundy M, Leaver A. A Guide to Sports and Injury Management E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2012 Aug 12.Available: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/vo2-max(accessed 27.11.2021)
  2. 2.0 2.1 healthline VO2 max Available: https://www.healthline.com/health/vo2-max#benefits-of-vo%E2%82%82-max-training (accessed 28.11.2021)
  3. Wikihow How to Measure VO2 Max Available: https://www.wikihow.com/Measure-VO2-Max (accessed 27.11.2021)
  4. Beltz, N. M., Gibson, A. L., Janot, J. M., Kravitz, L., Mermier, C. M., & Dalleck, L. C. (2016). Graded Exercise Testing Protocols for the Determination of VO2max: Historical Perspectives, Progress, and Future Considerations. Journal of sports medicine (Hindawi Publishing Corporation), 2016, 3968393. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/3968393
  5. Webster, D. E., Tummalacherla, M., Higgins, M., Wing, D., Ashley, E., Kelly, V. E., McConnell, M. V., Muse, E. D., Olgin, J. E., Mangravite, L. M., Godino, J., Kellen, M. R., & Omberg, L. (2021). Smartphone-Based VO2max Measurement With Heart Snapshot in Clinical and Real-world Settings With a Diverse Population: Validation Study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 9(6), e26006. https://doi.org/10.2196/26006
  6. Livestrong How to Calculate Your VO2 Max for Cycling https://www.livestrong.com/article/461725-how-to-calculate-your-vo2-max-for-cycling/ (accessed 27.11.2021)
  7. Rankovic, G., Mutavdzic, V., Toskic, D., Preljevic, A., Kocic, M., Nedin Rankovic, G., & Damjanovic, N. (2010). Aerobic capacity as an indicator in different kinds of sports. Bosnian journal of basic medical sciences, 10(1), 44–48. https://doi.org/10.17305/bjbms.2010.2734
  8. Active Lactate Threshold and V02 Max Explained Available:https://www.active.com/triathlon/articles/lactate-threshold-and-v02-max-explained (accessed 27.11.2021)
  9. Aozata VO2 Max-> How to calculate? Available: https://www.aozata.com/vo2-max-how-to-calculate/(accessed 27.11.2021)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Strasser B, Burtscher M. Survival of the fittest: VO2max, a key predictor of longevity. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2018 Mar 1;23(23):1505-16.Available:https://www.fbscience.com/Landmark/articles/10.2741/4657 (accessed 28.11.2021)
  11. Levine BD. : what do we know, and what do we still need to know?. The Journal of physiology. 2008 Jan 1;586(1):25-34.Available:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18006574/ (accessed 27.11.2021)