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4 Ways to Improve Your VO2 Max (and 5 reasons you might want to)

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True or false:

  • Aerobic fitness only matters for elite athletes. 
  • Those fancy numbers often displayed on fitness trackers surely don’t mean much to the average person.
  • You should only seek to improve your cardiovascular fitness for training purposes. 

If those statements were all on a test, you would’ve written the word “false” next to each one! 

Cardiorespiratory fitness levels, or your VO2 max levels, certainly aren’t just information vital to athletes. In fact, knowing these levels and improving them can be the key to a long and healthy life!

So, let’s look at what these levels are called, how to increase them, and how those increases can benefit you

What Is VO2 Max?

VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use while you exercise. 

Your VO2 max can tell you just how fit your body is and if you’ve improved your physical fitness over a length of time when measured throughout training. 

Your muscles require oxygen to keep your body going for extended periods of time during physical activity (endurance). And, your heart is tasked with pumping appropriate amounts of blood to carry the oxygen needed to meet this requirement. 

The greater the amount of oxygen that you can use during intense exercise, the greater the amount of energy your body can produce during that activity.

So, determining your VO2 max involves measuring the amount of oxygen (mL) you use in one minute per kilogram of body weight. The number derived from this measurement tells how much oxygen you’re using when exercising at your hardest. 

Many fitness trackers can assess your VO2 max level, as can testing done through your doctor. 

The average 40 year old male VO2 max scale ranges from under 30.2 (very poor) to over 48.0 (superior). 

The average 40 year old female VO2 max scale ranges from under 21.0 (very poor) to over 36.9 (superior). 

If you’re an avid runner seeking to improve your endurance, or a serious athlete looking to improve your cardiovascular fitness, knowing your VO2 max can be crucial in your efforts to improve your fitness abilities.

But, does this measurement only matter to athletes and their performance during their preferred physical activity? 

Absolutely not! 

Your VO2 max can tell you a lot about the overall health of your body. 

How Is VO2 Max Tied to Health And Wellness?

Healthy cardiorespiratory fitness capabilities can affect many areas of your body. 

While VO2 max levels have been considered the “gold standard for measuring cardiovascular fitness levels,” research suggests that these measurements can determine your risk factors for all causes of mortality. 

Cognitive Benefits

Cognitive decline, such as what is seen in conditions like vascular dementia, is caused by a narrowing or blockage of blood vessels leading to the brain. 

Cardiovascular exercise causes new cells and blood vessels in the brain to grow. 

Improvements in VO2 max levels have been associated with cognitive benefits like: 

  • improved thinking capabilities
  • performance improvements regarding memory
  • improved motor skills
  • improvement of time management skills
  • better organizational skills on tests
  • an improved ability to give attention to detail  

Studies have also shown that individuals with a high VO2 max show better connections throughout various regions of the brain. 

Live Longer

The American Heart Association states that a low VO2 max puts you at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease and some cancers (breast, lung, and gastrointestinal). 

Some consider your VO2 max, often referred to as your fitness age, as a better indicator of long term health and lifespan than your actual age. 

Research suggests that a 10% increase in your VO2 max can decrease your risk for all causes of death by 15%. 

And, a higher VO2 max may actually be a better predictor of health than traditional factors such as weight and cholesterol. 

Decrease Stress

Studies show that individuals with a higher VO2 max experience less physiological stress and can better handle stresses that do arise. 

Increasing cardiorespiratory fitness levels are also associated with decreases in anxiety and depression. 

And, regular physical activity (which can improve your VO2 max) is directly correlated with improved mental health and feelings of personal well-being.

Improved Quality Of Life

Your day to day quality of life improves when you increase your VO2 max. 

Simple tasks like going up and down stairs, bringing in your groceries, keeping up with energy-filled children, and keeping up with a busy schedule in general can all be done with greater ease when you improve your cardiovascular respiratory fitness. 

Each and every physical task that you do throughout your day requires energy. In the same way that we described the measurement of VO2 max in physical activity earlier, this process occurs within your body when you need energy to perform any physical daily task. 

Your muscles require oxygen to expend energy. Your heart pumps oxygen through your blood to supply it to your body as you do any physical activity…yes, even carrying laundry up and down stairs. 

Improves Immune And Respiratory Health

Increasing your VO2 max can make you less likely to get sick, and improve your overall health, by giving your immune system a boost. 

Studies have shown that improving cardiorespiratory fitness also improves the function of both the immune and respiratory systems. 

Increased aerobic capacity increases the levels and function of immune cells and can actually restore lung tissue and strength by acting as an antibiotic and an antioxidant! 

What Can You Do To Improve Your VO2 Max?

Now that we’ve seen the benefits to your overall health and well-being that come with improving your VO2 max, how exactly can you achieve such increases? 

1- Continuous Training

Many coaches and trainers believe exercising at 90-95% of your maximum heart rate is the best course for improving your VO2 max. 

This method improves the strength of your heart muscle thus increasing the amount of blood your heart can pump with each beat. 

2- HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

High intensity interval training is a type of exercise characterized by brief periods of intense activity followed by brief periods of rest within a given workout (like this 9-minute fat-burning workout I created). 

Some studies have shown that exercising in this manner provides slightly more consistent VO2 max improvements than exercising at a constant high intensity.

3- Ironman Training

You don’t have to actually be training for an Ironman race to incorporate this method of improving your VO2 max. The principle of ironman training is what we’re after here. 

Changing up the aerobic activities that you do in a single session can benefit your VO2 max levels. 

In an ironman, participants typically start with swimming, switch to cycling, and then switch again to running. 

You can incorporate this kind of variety in your exercise sessions to improve your cardiovascular respiratory fitness. 

4- Increase For Increase

If exercise is already a normal part of your daily routine, you may already be reaping the benefits of a healthy VO2 max rate. 

But, you can increase your aerobic fitness (and your VO2 max) by increasing the following in your exercise sessions:

  • increase the duration of your workouts
  • increase the intensity of your workouts
  • increase how often you workout

If you’re new to fitness, the good news is that increasing your VO2 max will happen easily as you get started. 

Consider starting with a walking regimen to begin, and then you can increase speed, intensity, and duration over time. 

Then, as mentioned above, add high intensity interval training exercise sessions, switch up your aerobic activities within a single session, or workout at your maximum heart rate to boost your VO2 max. 

(Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program if you are new to working out.)

And if you’re looking for a workout that incorporates all of the above (for FREE), follow this 3-movement full body toning workout.

It’s an easy way to tone your entire body in just 3 movements using the 3x Method (the workout i used to lose over 100 lbs). The good news is…

You can try this 3-movement workout (3 minutes each) for free through this link…

>> 3 Min Full Body Toning Workout

To your health,

Nate Hopkins

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FITNESS

Get Fit Fast: A Step-By-Step Fitness Plan for Success

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Whether you are looking to shed a few pounds, tone up, or just improve your overall health, getting in shape can feel like a daunting task. With so many conflicting fitness programs and diet plans out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why we have put together a step-by-step fitness plan to help you get fit fast and achieve your goals.

Step 1: Set Realistic Goals

The first step in any fitness journey is to set realistic and achievable goals. Whether it’s losing a certain amount of weight, running a 5k, or being able to do a certain number of push-ups, having clear goals will help keep you motivated and focused. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Step 2: Create a Fitness Plan

Once you have established your goals, it’s time to create a fitness plan that will help you reach them. This plan should include a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility training. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, along with two or more days of strength training.

Step 3: Clean Up Your Diet

Exercise is just one part of the equation when it comes to getting fit. A healthy diet is essential for fueling your workouts and supporting your overall health. Focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excess salt and sugar.

Step 4: Stay Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to seeing results. Make a commitment to yourself to stick to your fitness plan and make healthy choices every day. Schedule your workouts into your daily routine, meal prep and plan ahead to avoid unhealthy temptations, and track your progress to stay motivated.

Step 5: Listen to Your Body

While it is important to push yourself in your workouts, it is also crucial to listen to your body and give it the rest and recovery it needs. Be mindful of any pain or discomfort, and adjust your workouts accordingly. Remember that progress takes time, so be patient with yourself and trust the process.

By following these steps and staying dedicated to your fitness plan, you can get fit fast and achieve the results you desire. Remember that getting in shape is not just about physical appearance, but also about improving your overall health and well-being. So lace up your sneakers, fuel your body with nutritious foods, and start working towards a fitter, healthier you today.

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FITNESS

Transform Your Body with This Foolproof Fitness Plan

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Are you tired of trying fad diets and quick-fix fitness plans that promised to transform your body but left you disappointed and frustrated? If so, it’s time to ditch those unsustainable methods and try a foolproof fitness plan that will help you achieve real, lasting results.

Transforming your body takes time, dedication, and commitment. It requires a balanced approach that includes regular exercise, mindful eating, and consistency. With the right mindset and a solid plan in place, you can make significant changes to your body and overall health.

Here’s a foolproof fitness plan that will help you transform your body and reach your fitness goals:

1. Set realistic and achievable goals: Before starting any fitness plan, it’s essential to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. This will help you stay motivated and track your progress along the way. Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or improve your overall fitness, having clear goals in mind will give you something to work towards.

2. Create a workout routine: Consistency is key when it comes to seeing results. Create a workout routine that includes a mix of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Aim to exercise at least 4-5 days a week for optimal results. Make sure to vary your workouts to prevent boredom and keep your body challenged.

3. Eat a balanced diet: Along with regular exercise, proper nutrition plays a crucial role in transforming your body. Focus on eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of unhealthy fats. Remember, nutrition is just as important as exercise when it comes to achieving your fitness goals.

4. Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is essential for overall health and can also help with weight loss and muscle recovery. Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and energized throughout your workouts.

5. Get plenty of rest: Adequate rest and recovery are crucial for your body to repair and build muscle after intense workouts. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and listen to your body when it needs rest. Overtraining can lead to burnout and injuries, so it’s important to give your body the time it needs to recover.

6. Stay consistent and be patient: Transforming your body takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Stay consistent with your workouts and nutrition plan, and trust the process. Remember, slow and steady progress is better than quick fixes that aren’t sustainable in the long run.

By following this foolproof fitness plan, you can transform your body and achieve the results you’ve always wanted. Remember, consistency, dedication, and patience are key when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. Stay focused, stay motivated, and most importantly, believe in yourself. You have the power to transform your body and live a healthier, happier life.

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FITNESS

Revealed: The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Achieving Your Goals

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Are you tired of starting and stopping new workout plans, never achieving the results you desire? Do you feel like you’re constantly struggling to find the motivation to stick to a fitness routine? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to attain and maintain their fitness goals, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Introducing “Revealed: The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Achieving Your Goals.” This comprehensive fitness plan is designed to help you finally achieve the results you’ve always wanted. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, or simply improve your overall health and fitness, this program is tailored to meet your specific needs and goals.

What sets this program apart from others is its holistic approach to fitness. Rather than focusing solely on the physical aspect of working out, “Revealed” also addresses the mental and emotional aspects of achieving your goals. By incorporating elements of mindfulness, goal setting, and positive reinforcement, this plan helps you develop a healthy mindset that will support your fitness journey.

The program is also highly customizable, allowing you to tailor it to your individual needs and preferences. Whether you prefer weightlifting, cardio, yoga, or a combination of different activities, “Revealed” provides you with a variety of workout options to choose from. Additionally, the program includes nutritional guidance and meal planning to ensure that you’re fueling your body properly to support your fitness goals.

But perhaps the most valuable aspect of “Revealed” is the support system it provides. In addition to the comprehensive workout and nutrition plans, you’ll also have access to a community of like-minded individuals who are also on their fitness journey. This community provides encouragement, accountability, and motivation, helping you stay on track and reach your goals.

So, if you’re tired of spinning your wheels and not seeing the results you want, it’s time to try something different. With “Revealed: The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Achieving Your Goals,” you’ll finally have the tools and support you need to succeed. Say goodbye to workout plans that don’t deliver and hello to a program that will help you achieve your fitness goals once and for all.

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