VO₂ max refers to how much oxygen your body can absorb and use during exercise.
If you’re looking to improve your aerobic fitness, you might consider maximizing your VO₂ max (sometimes called your oxygen uptake).
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.
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.
This also means that a high VO₂ max can be a good predictor of your athletic performance, especially if you’re a runner or a swimmer.
Your VO₂ max amount can also act as a benchmark to track your progress as you improve your athletic abilities or if you’re trying to keep your VO₂ max at a certain level to maintain your performance.