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It’s said that regular, sensible exercise is the one thing everyone can do to improve their overall physical condition. The added benefits to one’s mental well-being are also widely documented.  

The mechanism of how your body is affected, and how your living machine actually functions, is the same for the average person as it is for the professional athlete:

Your muscles need a sufficient supply of oxygen to move the way they need to. Reliably. Each day.  

If you are not that physically active now, you have not missed the boat. It is never too late to learn about what works for you, and how to measure your progress.

How Do I Know If My Body Is Getting Enough Oxygen?

Your ‘VO2 Max’ is the standard method of determining at what rate your body is utilizing oxygen throughout its many components. This includes your muscles, lungs, heart, even your entire nervous system. The idea is to get your muscles active at their maximum ability and then take a reading.  

When we exercise and really give it our all, our respiratory system takes in higher levels of oxygen to be carried throughout the circulatory system via our blood. This in turn feeds all of our muscles and organs with the vital oxygen they need. The mitochondria of our skeletal muscles receive this oxygen through a complex system of pressure changes in our blood gases.  

VO2 max is the measure of how the heart, the lungs, and the muscles are all working together when a person exerts themselves to the peak of their potential.

In this assessment, it is also understood that there are upper limits to what the body can do. Once functioning at peak oxygen consumption, there can be no additional increase of how much oxygen can be brought into the system. At this point additional energy for the body can be delivered through anaerobic processes, but that falls outside of the scope of this initial article. This is just an overview to give you the essentials you may need to investigate to the next step.

How to Increase Your VO2 Max

So how does VO2 Max change over time as we age? And how does one increase VO2 max? Again, keeping the body moving is of vital importance.  

VO2 Max rates seem to drop off approximately ten percent each decade. This happens even though our overall lung capacity declines at a much lower rate on average. In older people who are appropriately healthy for their age, the aging respiratory system will not automatically put a hard limit VO2 max. But even then, it may somewhat impair even fit older people and those who suffer from chronic lung disorders.  

That said, your overall fitness level as you age can very much determine how much functionality you will retain. There is no one answer that can best describe everyone, therefore remaining as fit as you can still is the best bet. And not just in terms of controlling your physical movement.  

Multiple studies have shown that in terms of fending off debilitating diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, a higher VO2 max rate will give you a marked advantage against such ailments. A healthy body is linked to a healthy brain when both are being oxygenated to their fullest potential.  

Learn More About the Importance of Your Vo2 Max

We feel the best time to start learning more about the benefit of increased VO2 max is right now. In the next article, we will go into further detail about the VO2 Max test itself. And all you need to do is follow along or better still, contact one of our Because Health Longevity Clubs and speak to one of our trained medical professionals about your individual goals.

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