VO2 Max and Your Health

“VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumptionmaximal oxygen uptakepeak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise; that is, exercise of increasing intensity.[1][2] The name is derived from three abbreviations: “V” for volume, “O2” for oxygen, and “max” for maximum. Maximal oxygen consumption reflects cardiorespiratory fitness and endurance capacity in exercise performance.” (1)

We bought an indirect calorimeter for our Department of Cardiopulmonary and Neurological Science where I once worked as the Associate Director.  I’d been racing bikes and had hoped to be on the 1980 Olympic Team.  That didn’t work out.  I still continued to train.  For fun, and to learn how to use the gizmo, my science buddies decided I’d be the perfect test subject.  The measured result was 86. That’s high.  I didn’t now it at the time.  I’d paid very little attention to sports physiology being more interested in clinical physiology and disease management.

Testing a cyclist using indirect calorimeter (2)

No, I have no idea what my current VO2 max is exactly.  There is a calculation that estimates the VO2 max.  Using that equation my VO2 max is 68.85. By the time a man reaches 65 there is an estimate drop in VO2 max by 30% compared to when he was in his 20s. That would give me a VO2 max of 58.

Calculated for me to be 68.85 compared to the general population calculated score of 58 for my age isn’t really out of the ballpark. The two scores are both high, which is what I’d expect.  I still train a lot and do a lot of cardio work.  Admittedly, I’m not doing the same quantity I did when I was training for triathlons.  I feel it, the degraded  level of fitness and it shows in my content of body weight.

Aside from weight I check my body fat content.  When I competed in cycling and triathlons my percentage of body fat ran from 3.4% to 6.2%. These days it hovers around 9%.  This percentage is in the range of athletes.  My archery training program includes: stretching, running, archery, cycling, and weight lifting and is rather stringent.  It also takes between 38 and 42 hours a week to complete (28 hours a week shooting).  It is a pretty tight schedule and without a day off is would wear me down. But, all that work does help to keep me fit.

Today, aside from testing athletes, VO2 max is an indicator of health.  Archers typically aren’t the subjects of indirect calorimetry to determine VO2 max. Most people, including archers, probably don’t care.  It isn’t as if archers are running anywhere.

When I searched for VO2 max testing in archers on Pubmed I found 0 articles.  Heck, you can look around at any archery tournament and recognize those athletes aren’t likely to be endurance running machines. (3)

However, VO2 max is an indicator of your health.  A low VO2 max has been associated with poor fitness and health. Here’s a simple equation to estimate VO2 Max:

VO22 max = 15 x [HRmax(max)/HR(resting)]

Where, VO2 max is the maximal oxygen consumption

HR(max) is maximum heart rate (during exercise)

HR(rest) is your resting heart rate.

This is the equation I used to calculate my estimated VO2 max. (4) However, I exercised and used my actual heart rate rather than estimate the HR max.  Then, the next morning before I got out of bed I recorded my resting heart rate.  I think this is a better way to get the numbers. Those numbers were applied to the equation.  There is an equation to get an estimated max heart rate.  That equation never worked for me.

Take a look at your overall health.  You may be an excellent archer and not be the most fit athlete.  Being fit can help you in archery. You might be surprised to learn how many calories you burn during a tournament. (5) Staying fit can only help your shooting.

Reference:

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VO2_max

(2) https://www.maastrichtinstruments.nl/2015/02/10/teic-high-performance-center-features-mis-indirect-calorimeter/

(3) https://curiosity.com/topics/why-you-need-a-healthy-vo2max-and-how-you-can-get-it-curiosity/

(4) https://m.wikihow.com/Measure-VO2-Max

(5)https://worldarchery.org/news/147916/8-health-benefits-archery

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