Health Tips > Prevention Plus > Knowing Your VO2 Max Can Revolutionize Your Fitness Plan

Knowing Your VO2 Max Can Revolutionize Your Fitness Plan

View All Section Pages

Knowing Your VO2 Max Can Revolutionize Your Fitness Plan

Your VO2 max is a number worth knowing. Defined as the maximal volume of oxygen you can use, measured in milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min), your VO2 max can tell you a great deal about your health, but it can also serve as a key measure of fitness level.

It is the “gold standard for measuring cardiovascular fitness levels,” said Marius Maianu, Cooper Clinic Exercise Physiologist.

In regard to physical fitness, a baseline VO2 max score tells you your personal aerobic limit. It also gives doctors and trainers a foundation on which to build a personalized training program to help you increase your VO2 max and improve overall fitness. “Though there is a genetic component, most of us can increase oxygen output through fitness and become more efficient at burning calories through exercise,” Maianu said.

VO2 max can be a predictor of your longevity. Research shows 100 percent of patients with known cornorary heart disease with a VO2 max greater than 32 mls/kg/min were alive after three years, whereas 70 percent of those with a VO2 max less than 22 mls/kg/min were deceased.

Based on findings of research by The Cooper Institute, cardiovascular respiratory fitness is a separate risk factor for all cause mortality, which is measured on a scale of very poor>poor>fair>good>excellent>superior. A study published by The Cooper Institute in 1989 showed that if a patient can move from ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’ to ‘fair’ on that scale, his or her risk of mortality decreased by 58 percent. “This shows that you don’t need to be running a marathon to get the benefits of exercise,” Maianu said. By keeping up with the recommended minimum amount of aerobic exercise per week (150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week), you can significantly lower your risk of death due to a cardiac event.

Cooper Clinic estimates VO2 max as a part of a patient’s  preventive health exam during the stress test.  This is performed with the patient on the treadmill while connected to an electrocardiogram. This follows a baseline EKG which ensures normal rhythm and no prior heart damage.

Knowing your VO2 max can help keep you accountable in your exercise and fitness. The test doesn’t lie, said Maianu. Subsequent tests annually, or as recommended by your doctor, will show in black and white whether or not you have been keeping up with your fitness. “You have to stay in shape to do well on the test the following year,” Maianu said. He added that the greatest part about his job is that he gets to see people change their lifestyle and habits to become healthier and more fit.

To learn about how Cooper Clinic can improve your health, visit or call 972.560.2667 (COOP).

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.