One of the distinct advantages of participating in our Cenegenics program is the comprehensive testing performed by our clinical team. Our performance health experts thoroughly evaluate each client to establish an accurate measurement of overall health and wellness.
While each test we perform produces key data our physicians use to develop an individualized program, one of the most important aspects we analyze is the client’s ability to utilize oxygen during exercise. This is measured through VO2 max testing.
VO2 max is the clinical exercise test, generally performed on a treadmill or stationary bicycle in a doctor’s or clinician’s office that measures the maximum volume of oxygen a person can use during exercise. The subject wears a mask, connected to a hose that goes into a computer that analyzes your exhalations during increased activity on the bike or treadmill. The computer assesses the function of your heart, lungs, circulatory system, and skeletal muscles working independently and together.
VO2 max “score” or value is the summary of the ability of these systems to work together. Other metrics collected break down into lung health, muscle strength, cardiovascular function. And not surprisingly, VO2 max is connected to health, performance, and longevity.
The name VO2 max is based on three abbreviations: “V” for volume, “O2 for oxygen, and “max” for maximum.
The measurement of VO2 max is generally considered the gold standard of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. The more oxygen you can use during high-intensity exercise, the more energy you can produce. The VO2 max test is not only a reliable indicator for athletes but also for anyone who wants to know their aerobic endurance and cardiovascular fitness levels.
Moreover, your VO2 max also provides powerful insights into your overall health and wellness, including warnings of potential cardiac or respiratory disease symptoms. At Cenegenics, VO2 max testing is a primary component of each Performance Health Assessment, and our clinical team uses the results of this test to stratify risk factors and create your individualized program for optimal results.
Even if you’re not an athlete, improving your VO2 max score can potentially improve your overall health. Low levels of cardiovascular fitness correlate with an increased risk of heart disease. Increasing your overall levels of cardiovascular fitness is associated with benefits such as:
There are various ways to perform a VO2 max test; the most common include either exercising on a treadmill or a stationary exercise bike at an intensity that increases incrementally until exhaustion—and is designed to achieve a maximal effort.
Using a treadmill, depending on the skill of the individual, may present an increased risk of injury, including falling, (especially when exhaustion levels are approached or reached). Cenegenics uses a cycle ergometer (a type of stationary exercise bicycle that measures energy output), which is safer than treadmills while also accurately providing results and health insights.
To measure VO2 max, the participant wears a mask that’s connected via a breathing hose to a metabolic cart where cardiorespiratory measurements are recorded. As the person breathes, the exhaled air is collected in a mixing chamber where the gas is analyzed.
When the air enters the chamber, both the volume of air and the ratio of carbon dioxide to oxygen are measured. The testing system uses specialized software that can determine the energy expenditure of the exercise.
One of the exceptional qualities of the Cenegenics VO2 max test is its ability to track data in 15-second intervals for the duration of the test, allowing our physicians to observe not only the changes that occur but also how quickly physiologic markers shift as the exercise intensity increases.
As the level of exercise intensity increases, the amount of carbon dioxide expelled while breathing also increases. These readings allow our physicians to determine the primary fuel source being used in the body, during a given point of time throughout the test. This proves to be beneficial for assigning customized training values for clients.
A higher VO2 max is generally better than a lower VO2 max. A higher VO2 max means that your body is better at taking in oxygen (oxygen uptake) and delivering it to your muscles. The more oxygen your muscles can get, the more nutrients you can aerobically transform into the molecular fuel (ATP), which your muscles use to contract and perform. This is important because your aerobic metabolic pathways are by far your most efficient source of energy for your body.
Like heart rate, your VO2 max will differ from someone else’s based on age, gender, fitness level, and outside factors like altitude.
Generally speaking, VO2 max scores are characterized in men and women as follows in the VO2 max charts: 
The VO2 max test is one of the most effective predictor methods of long-term health and significant disease risk—so much so, 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. 
Additionally, emerging evidence is increasingly associating low VO2 max values with a high risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. It’s even proving to be a more dependable indicator than other risk factors, including smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
At Cenegenics, we don’t simply use VO2 max testing as a means of assessing health; we also use the data derived from the test to continuously support a personalized comprehensive program to promote positive results and minimize risk factors.
The good news about VO2 max and aging is that for the most part, accelerated fitness declines resulting from suboptimal lifestyles can be reversed. This means that with proper guidance from our Cenegenics team of experts, you can improve your aerobic fitness and feel younger and more energetic in the process.
After completing a VO2 max assessment at a Cenegenics Center your data is analyzed by your Cenegenics physician, as well as Cenegenics Performance Health Coach, and used to assess risk and develop a comprehensive program created exclusively for you.
Our world-class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You’ll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have increased desire, and think more clearly. Click here to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It’s quick and easy.
Author: Rudy Inaba, Vice President of Performance Health
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