The Best Indicator of Life Expectancy: VO2 Max

Ever wondered how your fitness is paying off in the long run? Well more than any other aspect of your physical ability, VO2 Max has been shown to be the primary indicator of one’s life expectancy. Waist circumference, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and body-fat percentage are all well and good, but a body that can absorb and use high volumes of oxygen requires so many beneficial adaptations that the higher that volume capacity is, the longer that person can expect to stand the test of time.

Measuring your VO2 Max accurately requires pretty serious and expensive equipment, but you can bet that if you are not performing physical activity that is pushing your heart rate and breathing around 90% max capacity, and working to increase the duration you are able to sustain that intensity, you have a lot of room for improvement. While VO2 Max is most effectively enhanced with higher intensity, shorter duration exercise repeated a given amount of intervals, one cannot expect to be able to immediately jump into High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.). Just like someone learning how to perform resistance training should never begin with heavy weights, inexperienced or out-of-practice persons should begin with lower intensity, longer duration exercise. As fitness improves, progression further towards more difficult activity, particularly higher speeds and more demanding movements should be completed. Harder movements require more oxygen, which when performed triggers the body to stimulate adaptations that will improve thing like oxygen efficiency, lactate threshold, action potential and post-activation potentiation. It is because VO2 Max training tends to produce these and more beneficial biological enhancements that the more improvement to VO2 Max one has, the healthier their entire body is likely to be.

If you need help applying this information to your personal fitness, or are concerned about the fitness of another, contact me with an explanation of your situation and what you need assistance with. I’m happy to help!

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