What is VO2 Max and why is it important?
VO2 max is the highest rate of O2 use that can be achieved at maximal exertion; in other words, the maximum amount of O2 that your body can extract or utilize.
For the general population, VO2 max will predict general performance for endurance activity. After the age of 30, if activity level stays constant, VO2 max will decrease about 1% per year regardless of fitness level. It’s important to note that elderly people require a VO2 max of around 20 ml/Kg to remain independent. A well structured program can bring most people to this level of fitness within three months, while a six month well structured and individualized program can increase VO2 max by about 20%.
To improve your VO2 max, you need to do cardiovascular training to improve Stroke Volume (the volume of blood pumped from the heart each beat) and to improve your muscles ability to extract and utilize the oxygen they receive.