Fitness 2022

What é VO2 mámaximum and how to increase

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What é VO2 mámaximum and how to increase
What é VO2 mámaximum and how to increase

The VO2 max corresponds to the volume of oxygen consumed by the person during an aerobic physical activity, such as running, for example, and is often used to assess the physical conditioning of an athlete, as it represents the best a person's aerobic capacity.

The acronym VO2 max stands for Maximum Oxygen Volume and specifically expresses the body's ability to capture oxygen from the atmosphere and deliver it to the muscles during physical exertion. The higher the VO2, the greater the ability to take oxygen available in the air and make it reach the muscles efficiently and quickly, which depends on the person's respiratory and circulatory capacity and level of training.

High VO2 max is related to he alth benefits such as lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression and type 2 diabetes, especially due to he althy habits and fitness.

What is the normal VO2

The VO2 max of a sedentary man is approximately 30 to 35 mL/kg/min, while the most famous marathon runners have a VO2 max of approximately 70 mL/kg/min.

Women have, on average, a slightly lower VO2, ranging from 20 to 25 mL/kg/min in sedentary women and up to 60 mL/kg/min in athletes because they naturally have a greater amount of fat and lower amount of hemoglobin.

People who are sedentary, that is, who do not practice physical activity, can improve their VO2 faster, however, people who are already well trained and who practice physical activity regularly, may not be able to increase their VO2 much, although it can improve your performance in general.This happens because this value is also related to the person's genetics, and that's why some people manage to increase their VO2 in a relatively short time of training.

In addition to VO2 being related to genetics, it is also influenced by the person's age, ethnicity, body composition, level of training and type of exercise performed.

VO2 max test

1. Direct test

To measure VO2, you can perform the ergospirometry test, also called lung capacity test or exercise test, which is performed on a treadmill or exercise bike, with the person wearing a mask on the face and with electrodes glued to the body. This test measures VO2 max, heart rate, gas exchange in breathing and perceived exertion according to training intensity.

The test is usually ordered by the cardiologist or sports doctor to evaluate athletes, or to evaluate the he alth of people suffering from lung or heart problems, and in some cases, it also measures the amount of lactate in the blood, at the end of the test.

See also the ideal heart rate to lose weight.

2. Indirect test

VO2 max can also be estimated indirectly through physical tests, such as the Cooper test, which assesses aerobic capacity, through the analysis of the distance covered by the individual during 12 minutes, in walking or running at its maximum capacity.

After recording the values, it is necessary to make a calculation through an equation, which will give the individual's VO2 maximum value.

Learn how the Cooper test is performed and see how to determine your VO2 max.

How to increase VO2 max

To increase VO2 max it is necessary to increase physical training because this improves physical conditioning, making the body better capture oxygen using it in the best way, preventing fatigue. Normally, it is only possible to improve VO2 max by about 30% and this improvement is directly related to the amount of body fat, age and muscle mass:

  • Amount of fat: the less body fat, the higher the VO2;
  • Age: the younger the person, the higher their VO2;
  • Muscles: the greater the muscle mass, the greater the VO2 capacity.

Also, strong training with at least 85% heart rate also helps a lot to increase VO2 rate, but as this is a very strong training, it is not recommended for those who are starting physical activity. To start physical activity and increase VO2, a lighter training is recommended, with about 60 to 70% of VO2, which should always be guided by the gym coach. In addition, an option to improve VO2 is through interval training, performed at high intensity.

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