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Using VO2 max testing as a marker of longevity

Have you ever glanced down at your fitness watch and seen the measurement ‘VO₂ max’, or heard it brought up in conversation after your spin class and yet have been awkwardly ignorant of what it means?
Fear not!

This month’s Better Body Group article will not only answer this question, but will also prove how knowing your VO₂ max could be the key to living longer.

We all can attest to the fact that improving your cardiovascular levels has a direct correlation to reducing your risk of dying, mainly because we’ve been told so our whole lives.

While that is by all means true, it is also an incredibly vague statement. What if you want a more precise and concrete measure? Enter VO₂ max.

So firstly, what is your VO₂ max?
Put simply, it’s the maximum oxygen you use and can consume while you exercise. Essentially, it’s a measure of your endurance. It is for this reason that it’s labelled the primary marker for longevity. The measurement is taken from a test done on a bike or treadmill while connected to a machine capable of analysing your expired air.

The data is then used to place you in one of five groups: low; below average; above average; high; and elite. To add some context, elite endurance athletes usually have a VO₂ max above 50.

So what is the motivation to get measured and strive for the above average group?
Studies show that going from the low to below average group gives you a 50% drop in mortality over 10 years. That’s an incredible statistic!

What number should you be striving for?
It should be noted that it all depends on your age, history and current fitness level, but that an average active male should aim for around 42.5-46.4 kg/min. To get even more specific, the Better Body Group recommend seeing one of their exercise specialists, as each case varies.

What are the benefits:
• Accurate measurement of current fitness
• Ability to design a more effective training program and/or evaluate effectiveness
• Evaluating effectiveness of training program
• Predication of maximal steady-state running speed or cycling wattage

This test is available for anyone who is interested, and the Better Body Group is so incredibly proud to announce that they’re in the process of setting up their own VO₂ max testing area. This will benefit a huge amount of people and will push their clients in a whole new dimension.

Ask yourself if this test is for you? As author and physician Peter Attia says: “If you want to have the aspiration of kicking ass when you’re 85, you can’t afford to be average when you’re 50.”

• Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Better Body Group to find out more. We all love a challenge, and what reason is more perfect than improving your life and your mortality?

Danae Van Den Berg, is a Better Body Group Exercise Specialist. Danae graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in English and Sports Science and spent her time there training as part of the university’s Powerlifting team. For more information or to book an appointment please call them on 01732 451979 or email enquiries@betterbodygroup.co.uk.

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