VO2 max has been around for quite a while, but people have only now started asking: why is VO2 max important? This is mainly due to the recent emphasis of the new Apple watch on the improved formula to calculate VO2 max as a marketing probe. Before we learn more about the significance of this metric, let’s take a look at what it is. There are still individuals out there who are not familiar with the terminology at all. To enlighten those readers, I will try to define the metric to the best of my knowledge.
VO2 Max Definition
Based on the writing from Garmin’s official website, VO2 max definition is as follows:
“The maximum volume of oxygen (measured in millimetres) that can be consumed by the human body per minute of exercise, depending on body size.”
To put it simply, it measures your body’s oxygen intake at the maximum aerobic activity. Since the metric is based on maximum intake, the higher the number of VO2 Max, the healthier you are. It is a good measure of fitness because the amount of energy produced by us is derived from the combination of food and oxygen. There is a direct correlation between oxygen intake by our bodies and the amount of energy we produce. Therefore, the more you work the more oxygen your body demands. Or the other way round, the more oxygen you can intake, the more work you can do.
VO2 max is greater for those with high-aerobic daily activity who exert more energy than those with static lives. These people are mostly athletes like cyclists & runners. Due to their higher activity, they inhale more oxygen than the average person.
Average VO2 Max Normal VO2 Max
The average VO2 max figure for humans is 30-40, as suggested by the table at Training4Endurance. The figures are slightly higher for men of younger ages with age 13-19 reaching 45.2 whereas older men have the lowest going to 32.3. For women, these points are lowered by 10. There is no set standard for a ‘Normal’ figure because the highest oxygen intake you have, the better is you desire. Therefore, we can say that a normal is having the highest value.
VO2 Max Ranges and Good VO2 Max
The VO2 max ranges have stretched apart as athletes push themselves to greater limits. The highest value recorded is in the 90s. It comes from elite skiers, cyclists, and ultra-runners. The lowest is recorded to be in the 30s. A Good one that continues to increase rather than decrease.
Increase VO2 Max
To improve your health, it is important to increase VO2 max. Increasing totally dependent on the amount of daily aerobic activity we do. You need more than just healthy lungs to intake more oxygen. The strength of your heart and the circulatory system of blood in the body is responsible for delivering oxygen to your muscles. Then the muscles taking in that oxygen should be big enough to utilize that oxygen and work hard. The harder your muscle works per minute, the more oxygen you will suck in from the air, hence the circle of oxygen continuous. Despite the above emphasis on utilizing max data to rank your fitness, it is not the only measure for aerobic well-being. It is also futile to make health comparisons on the basis of the metric because the number varies based on body size and other factors like muscle mass and blood volume.
Good VO2 Max Male
A good VO2 max in males ranges between high of 45.2 at the youngest age of 13-19 and low of 32.3 at the old ages of 60 and above. The female uptake of oxygen is more than 35 at the young ages of 13-19 and above 24.5 for those who are more than 60 years of age. This study table mentioned at Training4Endurance shows that men have 10 points higher than women who are of the same age and are equally fit. So, gender is also a major determinant of VO2 max.
Apple Watch VO2 Max
The VO2 max calculator in Apple watch or any other smart watch is an estimate of an estimate. These watches use the running or walking speed and combine it with the person’s heart rate to calculate the maximum effort exerted by the body and, consequently, your maximum pace. The newest Apple Watch has used improved calculation as a major selling point. But I would still suggest you never put too much of your faith in the exact value you see on the watch. It will just be an estimated figure.
VO2 Max Garmin
Garmin is also a rising champion in this operation. The VO2 max Garmin calculator is a dedicated oxygen intake measuring feature with all its calculating steps mentioned on its official website. The amount of research they have done on this project sounds promising.
You can also just get an estimate without the use of any devices. The daily running you do can be your device for the VO2 max check. If it is getting easier than before, your VO2 max is increasing. Making your body healthier is a great way to sustain a peaceful life. It is why the VO2 max is important for us.