## New VO2 max: 58.7ml/kg/min – What Does It Mean?
Bryan Johnson, a 45-year-old tech entrepreneur, recently announced on Twitter that his VO2 max is 58.7ml/kg/min, ranking him in the top 1.5% of 18-year-olds. But what is VO2 max, and does anyone outside the winter biathlon circuit need to know their number? Let’s dive in.
### What is VO2 max?
VO2 max is a marker of the body’s ability to use oxygen. It represents the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can take in while exercising, measured by volume and weight.
### How is VO2 max measured?
VO2 max can be measured in several ways, including:
– Smartwatches that calculate the relationship between running pace and heart rate
– Testing pace over various distances and using a calculator
– Getting on a treadmill or stationary bike while wearing a rubber mask to measure the mix of gases you’re breathing in and out
The most accurate method is the rubber mask test, but it’s also the most gruelling.
### Is a VO2 max of 58.7ml/kg/min good?
Yes, it is. The highest recorded scores are in the 90s, most by Olympic-calibre cyclists and cross-country skiers, but the average sedentary man puffs in the 35 to 40 range. Women average slightly lower at 27 to 39.
### Does VO2 max matter for your health?
Yes, it does. There is an incredible amount of evidence indicating that VO2 max can predict your risk for cardiovascular disease. Subjects who ranked in the top one-third of aerobic fitness had a 45% reduced risk of death from any cause compared with individuals in the lower third.
### Can VO2 max be improved?
Until recently, the common wisdom was that VO2 max is largely genetic. However, some coaches believe that long, slow workouts might work better over the long term to maximise your oxygen consumption than short, high-intensity ones. The take-home message is that if your training includes both styles of workout, you’ll be doing plenty to improve your health – even if you never actually put on the mask and learn your own number.
In conclusion, VO2 max is an important marker of cardiorespiratory fitness and can predict your risk for cardiovascular disease. While it’s not necessary to know your own number, incorporating both long, slow workouts and short, high-intensity ones into your training can improve your health.