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What is Vo2 Max?

What is VO2 max? VO₂ max is the maximum (max) rate (V) of oxygen (O₂) your body is able to use during exercise.

Oxygen is a critical ingredient in the respiratory process that’s involved in breathing. As you breathe in oxygen, your lungs absorb and turn it into energy called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

ATP powers your cells and helps release the carbon dioxide (CO₂) that’s created during your respiratory process when you exhale.

The benefits are simple!

The greater your VO₂ max, the more oxygen your body can consume, and the more effectively your body can use that oxygen to generate the maximum amount of ATP energy.

This means that your body can better handle aerobic fitness activities that require a lot of oxygen intake like running, swimming, and other types of cardio. Why increase your V02 max? A 2018 study in Frontiers in Bioscience found that increasing your VO₂ max can improve the delivery and use of oxygen by your body, maintaining your health and physical fitness well into your later years.

There are other daily benefits that you may start to notice within days or weeks of starting to improve your VO₂ max, such as:

  • being less exhausted or winded doing activities like climbing stairs

  • reducing your stress levels

  • boosting your immune system and getting sick less often

How to improve your VO2 max? A 2016 study found that even occasional intense workouts can help improve VO₂ max levels.

  • Perform high-intensity interval training. This consists of doing several minutes of intense aerobic exercises,

  • Switch up aerobic activities in a single workout. Start with cycling, then swimming, then running, and so on. Rest in between each activity.

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