Having a confirmation that your aerobic fitness is improving due to training is always nice. You could be having some subjective signs such as not getting winded when walking up the stair flights, but what if you wish to know how to calculate aerobic capacity?
One of the correct ways to measure aerobic capacity and compare it to others of your age is to undertake maximal or sub-maximal fitness tests either at a gym or a learning institution. However, there are other simple methods that you can use at home to estimate your cardiovascular fitness. To find out how aerobically fit you are, read on.
What is aerobic capacity?
Aerobic capacity is the maximal oxygen amount that your body can deliver to working muscles during a workout. It is the point at which uptake of oxygen flattens out regardless of workload increase. Indeed, some of the information herein could be a bit scientific. However, VO2 is used to mean aerobic capacity.
Scientists evaluate the principal of aerobic capacity as oxygen milliliters (ml) for a kilogram of body-weight in a minute, commonly abbreviated as ml O2/kg/min. When exercising, your body needs an increased oxygen supply. Uptake of oxygen (VO2), is a measure of how your circulatory, as well as respiratory system, can deliver oxygen to muscle tissues. Oxygen rate uptake during intense exercise is abbreviated as VO2max, a common term for leading endurance athletes.
VO2max is the maximal oxygen quantity your body can deliver to working muscles when you are exercising. As stated earlier, it is the state at which consumption of oxygen remains constant despite workload increase. It is important to state that it varies with gender, age, and body size, and determined genetically. Elite endurance athletes have a high value of maximal oxygen and a higher proportion of slow twitch muscle fiber. Fibers are geared to the production of aerobic energy as well as resistance to fatigue.
The benefits of aerobic capacity
Enhanced aerobic capacity improves oxygen, nutrient, and blood to working muscle tissues and helps out in recovery between sets of weightlifting. Better flow to the muscles further aid in improving body flexibility. For those seeking to lose weight, higher aerobic capacity is vital for achieving their goals.
Are you disappointed with your aerobic capacity? Good news is that you can improve maximal oxygen by training. Training makes your heart better at oxygen delivery to muscles, thus making them more efficient at ATP production that fuel exercise. Muscle cells (Mitochondria) producing ATP increase in size and number in response to endurance exercising.
Why calculate aerobic capacity
You need not be training for a cross-country or scheduled to take part in tour de France to understand the concept of your aerobic capacity. It’s debatably one of the most important parameters of fitness since it indicates your metabolic and cardiovascular health for all.
Indeed, a researcher on health correlation to aerobic fitness, Dr. Blair Steven, reports that poor cardiovascular fitness is a more dangerous factor for cardiovascular impermanence compared to any other traditional factors that most medical practitioners focus on. Such traditional factors include diabetes, obesity, smoking, hypertension and high cholesterol levels. Additionally, Dr. Blair surprisingly found out that traditional health conditions were minor account for mortalities. Instead, personal aerobic fitness emerged number 1 influential factor.
You should, therefore, pay more attention to that. While medical practitioners try to control cholesterol levels, it is your responsibility to eliminate the risk of cardiovascular occurrence by simply working on your aerobic fitness.
How to calculate aerobic capacity
After reading this article, you will understand why aerobic fitness is as imperative for health as it is for athletic performance as well as how you can measure it!
What are the Elements of Fitness?
If you are tasked to define fitness, would the guy at the gym with a muscle mass cross your mind? It shows that body composition is one of the consideration when assessing fitness.
Fitness is typically evaluated by measuring five parameters listed below:
- Aerobic capacity,
- Muscular endurance,
- Muscle strength, and
- Body composition
In addition to the listed parameters above, balance can as well be sneaked into the personal fitness assessment. Particular exercises can be used to improve balance, which forms part of important personal health.
It now obvious that the muscle-bound guy at the gym could score higher in muscular strength or body composition, but he might not achieve the same in body flexibility and aerobic fitness.
Sub-Maximal Fitness Testing
If you visit a fitness center for a fitness testing, one of the method to evaluate your aerobic fitness is sub-maximal fitness test. Typically, this test encompasses pedaling on an ergometer. In the beginning, you will begin cycling against a particular workload. As you cycle, the workload is steadily increased while monitoring your heart rate closely. The workload is further increased until you are working out at 75-85% of maximal heart rate. Measured heart rate at every point is plotted against workload to estimate your aerobic capacity.
The sub-maximal test might take up to 20 minutes and entails minimum equipment. However, you will need a professional fitness trainer to undertake. Alternatively, this fitness test can be done on the treadmill as opposed to pedaling ergometer.
Maximal Fitness Testing
VO2max or aerobic capacity can as well be measured using a maximal exercise test. Although maximal fitness test requires a special equipment facility, it is more accurate compared to submaximal test. It is ‘sophisticated’ because wearing a nose clip and mouthpiece is one of the requirements during the test, which are then hooked to metabolic cart that measures consumption of oxygen.
With nose clip and mouthpiece on, you start running on a treadmill or cycle an ergometer as the incline or workload is increased gradually. As the workload increase, you eventually reach out to a point you cannot continue. The measured oxygen intake at maximal work point is used to calculate VO2max, which is an aerobic capacity indicator.
Other Ways of Estimating Your Aerobic Capacity
Sub-maximal and maximal fitness testing necessitates a visit to a fitness facility and have a professional trainer conduct the test. However, if you’re not ready to do that, you can consider doing a Rockport one mile walk test. Its working principle is based on the concept of knowing maximal heart rate in the course of the test while considering age, weight, and gender to estimate VO2max. It is particularly a good option in case of joint problems, and you cannot run. This method can work best for you if you could use heart rate monitor. Nonetheless, a reasonable estimate can be made on your aerobic capacity.
You will require a track to test on to undertake the Rockport one-mile test. It is worth noting that a mile is about four laps around the track. You can do a warm-up of about five minutes before walking as fast as you can around the innermost loop around the track. In completion of the exercise, measure your heart rate immediately for about 10 seconds, and multiply the value by 6. Your heart rate drops fast if you have a high level of cardiovascular. Thus you’re required to do the measurement immediately and for a short time for a precise outcome. Rockport one mile walking test calculator can be found online, which requires you to plug in values to get an estimate of your VO2max.
You can also do a 12-minute run test by Dr. Kenneth Cooper through warming up for about 10 minutes before running as fast as you can for 12 minutes. Note down the distance covered during the run. Estimate you VO2max using formula.
VO2max = (35.97 x miles) – 11.29
Online calculators are also available where you plug in the distance value to obtain aerobic capacity automatically.
Maximum aerobic capacity values for both genders are represented in the tables below:
Men’s VO2max (O2 ml / min / kg)
Age Decreased Insufficient Average Good Excellent
20 –29 < 25 25- 33 34 - 42 43 - 52 >53
30 - 39 < 23 23 - 30 31 - 38 39 - 48 >49
40 - 49 < 20 20 - 26 27 - 35 36 - 44 >45
50 - 59 < 18 18 - 24 25 - 33 34 - 42 >43
60 - 69 < 16 16 - 22 23 - 30 31 - 40 >41
Women’s VO2max (O2 ml / min / kg))
|20 –29||< 24||24–30||31 -37||38 –48||> 48|
|30 - 39||< 20||20 -27||28 -33||34 –44||> 44|
|40 - 49||< 17||17-23||24 -30||31 –41||> 41|
|50 - 59||< 15||15 -20||21 -27||28 –37||> 37|
|60 - 69||< 13||13 –17||18 -23||24 -34||> 34|
Measuring your heart rate
You can measure your heart rate at any spot of the body where an artery is close the skin and you can feel a pulse. Common spots are for palpation measurement is the neck and the wrist.
- You can place middle and index fingers on the opposite wrist (0.5 inches on the joint inside). Once you feel a pulse, count the number of beats within a minute.
- Alternatively, measuring your pulse on the neck involves placing your first two fingers on either neck sides until you get a pulse. Count the number pf beat for a minute. Be care not to press the vein too hard!
Aerobic fitness for many people could be most important health check parameter. As a result, everybody needs to learn its evaluation and improvement. Most, if not all can evaluate their aerobic fitness by undertaking a running or walking test and by assessing their resting HR.
While health benefits such as reduction of stroke and heart attack risk can be achieved using low-intensity exercise such as walking briskly, aerobic fitness improvement demands a higher exertion level for some persons.