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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

15 May 2007

Tuesday's Word: VO2 max

VO2 max

(Redirected from Maximum Oxygen Uptake)

The correct title of this article is VO2 max. It features superscript or subscript characters that are substituted or omitted because of technical limitations.

VO2 max is the maximum capacity to transport and utilize oxygen during incremental exercise. (The derivation is V̇ - volume per time, O2 - oxygen, max - maximum). It is also called maximal oxygen consumption or maximal oxygen uptake. Expressed either as an absolute rate in litres of oxygen per minute (l/min) or as a relative rate in millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute (ml/kg/min), the latter expression is often used to compare the performance of endurance sports athletes.

1 Measuring VO2 max
1.1 Fick Equation
1.2 Cooper test
2 VO2 max Levels

Measuring VO2 max

Accurately measuring VO2 max involves a physical effort sufficient in duration and intensity to fully tax the aerobic energy system. In general clinical and athletic testing, this usually involves a graded exercise test (either on a treadmill or on a cycloergometer) in which exercise intensity is progressively increased while measuring ventilation and oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration of the inhaled and exhaled air. V̇O2 max is reached when oxygen consumption remains at steady state despite an increase in workload.

Fick Equation

VO2 max is properly defined by the Fick Equation:
VO2max = Q(CaO2 − CvO2)
where Q is the cardiac output of the heart, CaO2 is the arterial oxygen content, and CvO2 is the venous oxygen content.

Cooper test

Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper conducted a study for the United States Air Force in the late 1960s. One of the results of this was the Cooper test in which the distance covered running in 12 minutes is measured. An approximate estimate for VO2 max (in mL/min/kg) is:

where d12 is distance (in metres) covered in 12 minutes. There also exist several other reliable tests and VO2 max calculators to estimate VO2 max.

VO2 max Levels

VO2 max varies considerably in the population. The average young untrained male will have a VO2 max of approximately 3.5 litres/minute and 45 mL/min/kg.[citation needed] The average young untrained female will score a VO2 max of approximately 2.0 litres/minute and 38 mL/min/kg.[citation needed] These scores can improve with training and decrease with age.
In sports where endurance is an important component in performance, such as cycling, rowing, cross-country skiing and running, world class athletes typically have high VO2 maximums. World class male athletes, cyclists and cross-country skiers typically exceed 80 mL/kg/min and a rare few may exceed 90 mL/kg/min for men and 70 mL/kg/min for women. Three time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond is reported to have had a VO2 max of 92.5 at his peak - one of the highest ever recorded, while cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie measured at an astounding 96 mL/kg/min.[citation needed] It should also be noted that Daehlie's result was achieved out of season and that physiologist Erlend Hem who was responsible for the testing stated that he would not discount the possibility of the skier passing 100 mL/kg/min at his absolute peak. By comparison a competitive club athlete might achieve a VO2 max of around 70 mL/kg/min. World class rowers are physically very large endurance athletes and typically do not score as high on a per weight basis, but often score exceptionally high in absolute terms. A less size-biased measure is to divide by rather than mass. Male rowers typically score VO2 maximums over 6 litres/minute, and some exceptional individuals have exceeded 8 L/min.
To put this into perspective, thoroughbred horses have a VO2max of around 180 mL/min/kg. Siberian dogs running in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race sled race have VO2 values as high as 240[[1]].



Blogger Sled Dog Action Coalition said...

Thinking about the Iditarod? The race is cruel to dogs. For the facts, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website, http://www.helpsleddogs.org

Blogger Melissa said...

That last commenter is wrong. These beasts are sucking up our precious and decreasing supply of oxygen. Especially those greedy dogs. I'm calling the pound!

Seriously though, I did a similar treadmill test in a doctors office.

Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

No, I wasn't thinking of the Iditarod. We have no sled teams. Thanks for stopping!

What of your treadmill results, Melissa? I've never had one and don't know where to get checked.

Blogger Melissa said...

Well, a few years back I had a doctor who was a quack. He prescribed synthroid, starting off at the highest dosage. This caused high blood pressure. A new doctor took me off of synthroid completely, did a "treadmill' test fo see the condition of my cardio-vascular. It was exactly like the test described in this post. EKG, and other things were hooked up to me while I ran on a treadmill that got harder to do every 2 minutes.

I passed with flying colors. =)


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