Why Do a VO2 Max Test?
Man cycling for cardiovascular health, Vo2 Max Testing is the most effective predictor of long term health
With all of the aforementioned data points provided by a VO2 max test, participants are provided with a better understanding of their overall health, potential disease risk factors, and fitness levels. The VO2 max test is one of the most effective predictor methods of long-term health and significant disease risk – so much so, in fact, that the American Heart Association (AHA) has released a statement on the reliability of cardiorespiratory fitness (synonymous with VO2 max) as an effective indicator of health risk factors.
A group of people in the gym doing exercises.
Additionally, emerging evidence is increasingly linking low VO2 max values with high risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. It is even proving to be a more dependable indicator than other risk factors, including smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
When evaluating overall health, the relative VO2 max and METS are the values of most importance. The relative value provides an accurate determination with oxygen consumption levels with regards to weight, which provides greater insight into an individual’s overall wellness. Meanwhile, per the AHA, METS can be used as an indicator of high-risk mortality, with a measure of less than five indicating high risk, and a METS of 8 to 10 associated with a better chance of survival. woman running to improve her cardiovascular health, Vo2 Max Test helping woman shape her training plan to further improve fitness and health
Not only does VO2 testing accurately assess health, but it also measures overall fitness levels and provides practical information, in order to prescribe precise training plans to further improve fitness and health. While not all exercise equipment or fitness trackers have the ability to analyze VO2, one of the best ways to apply this data to an individualized training program is by using a common, accessible value such as heart rate (HR). Most modern exercise equipment, fitness trackers, and smartphones have the ability to measure heart rate and provide the user with instant feedback. By using heart rate as a method of prescribing exercise, patients can match a heart rate zone to a desired intensity to elicit a specific result.
How, precisely, is this done? If a lower training intensity or steady-state cardiovascular exercise is ideal for the patient’s need, the physician would match the RER of roughly 0.85 to the patient’s respective heart rate value and recommend that they stay in that range. Likewise, if high-intensity interval training (HIIT) would best support the patient’s goals, the physician would recommend a heart rate value that could be achieved in accordance with an RER of 1.1. (If not 1.1., the patient might aim for the highest value over 1.0 prior to cooling down). That heart rate value is the target HR to shoot for when doing HIIT to achieve an anaerobic state, which ensures the full benefits of this style of training are realized. If the heart rate is too low, on the other hand, there may be insufficient stimulus to truly achieve the benefits of HIIT training.
Maximizing Results at Cenegenics with VO2
At Cenegenics, we do not simply use VO2 max testing as a means of assessing health; we also use the data derived from the test to continuously support a demanding, comprehensive program to potentiate real results and minimize risk factors for age-related disease. After completing a VO2 max assessment at a Cenegenics facility, the patient’s data is then analyzed by an age management physician, as well as a qualified exercise and nutrition counselor, and used to assess risk and develop a training program created exclusively for that individual. Using the aforementioned process and associating heart rate values with target RERs, a target heart rate zone will be prescribed as a goal to reach during exercise. By working within this target range, the patient will achieve anaerobic exercise and stimulate the EPOC response.
EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which refers to the period of time following physical activity during which the body uses oxygen to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), clear out lactate, return normal oxygen flow to the rest of the body, and restore the body temperature to a normal level. During this time frame, the body will be more metabolically active and continue to burn additional calories as a result. HIIT training is the most effective way to achieve EPOC, whether through running, rowing, biking, or using resistance exercise.
Man performing HIIT training on track, Man sprinting during HIIT training workout
HIIT training involves short bursts of exercise performed at an all-out intensity level, typically lasting from 10 to 30 seconds, followed by a short 45 to 60 second rest period. These durations vary based on fitness level. For instance, after a five-minute warmup, a HIIT routine might involve a 15-second max sprint followed by a 45-second rest, repeated for a total of ten minutes and followed by a five-minute cool down. In just 20 minutes, the amount of work done and caloric expenditure can exceed that of a 30 to 45 minute low-intensity steady state workout. It is for this reason that HIIT is widely recommended by Cenegenics physicians and favored by Cenegenics patients.
The results of using VO2 max testing to prescribe exercise programs and implement wellness measures to lower disease risk speak for themselves. Cenegenics patients are not only better able to achieve their we ight loss goals and maintain their results; they are also more energized, alert, and healthier overall.

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