VO2 max (maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum rate of oxygen uptake as measured during incremental exercise, most typically on a motorized treadmill. Maximal oxygen uptake reflects the aerobic physical fitness of the individual, and is an important determinant of their endurance capacity during prolonged, submaximal exercise.  Just a few of the benefits of aerobic fitness are lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and less risk of obesity, Type II diabetes and heart disease. Aerobic performance measured as the maximal rate of oxygen consumption (VO2max) is an important determinant of the endurance capacity during prolonged exercise. VO2 max (V – volume, O2 – oxygen, max – maximum) is measured during incremental exercise.

Overall, maximal oxygen consumption reflects the aerobic physical fitness of the individual, and it is widely accepted as the single best measure of cardiovascular fitness and maximal aerobic power.

Absolute values of VO2 max are typically 40-60% higher in men than in women. Starting at about the age of 30, our lung capacity begins to decrease. By the time we are 50 our lung capacity may be half of what it was in our youth. Decreased lung capacity means the respiratory function is impaired and less oxygen is getting into our cells. This explains why shortness of breath, decreased endurance, and susceptibility to respiratory illness commonly increases with age. We check for several genetic variants that are associated with aerobic performance.

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