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Day 9: 5 ways for busy professionals to test their VO2 Max and boost their fitness and longevity

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

As a busy professional its can be challenging to prioritise your health and fitness. However, testing and tracking your VO2 max can be an effective and satisfying way to stick to your fitness, health and longevity goals.

Here are 5 ways you can test your VO2 max and what levels you should be aiming for:

#1 Professional Testing — Cardio CoachTM or similar This is the gold standard and most accurate way of VO2 max testing. A trained exercise physiologist uses specialised equipment, commonly a ‘Cardio Coach’ to run an incremental exercise protocol on a treadmill or bike. Intensity can be amended for specific ability and risk.

#2 — Rockport 1-mile Walk Test Find a level, 1-mile course (a loop around your neighbourhood if no hills). Warm up with easy walking then start your stopwatch and walk as fast as you can but avoid jogging until completion of the mile. Note your heart rate immediately after this (on a wearable or measure over 30 seconds and x2 for beats per minute). Add your time and weight to an online VO2 max calculator.

#3–6 minute walk test Measure a distance of flat ground between 2 cones and walk back and forth for 6 minutes at maximum intensity without jogging. You may rest at any point. Use this time and body mass index measurement to find your VO2 max.

#4–1.5 mile run test Simply run on a flat route for 1.5 miles. It’s a killer! Add your time to a calculator.

#5 — Check your fitness watch Multiple brands including Apple, Samsung and Garmin have built in software to check your distance covered during exercise with your weight and heart rate. It’s less fun than pushing yourself with a true protocol however!

Always check with your own doctor or coach if this is safe to perform prior to attempting and stop if you have any worrying signs or symptoms.

Above average VO2 max for your age and sex confers greater mortality benefit now and as you get older. If too low, it’s also correlated with an ability to live independently.

Track your values on the links attached. If it’s low, you know its something you need to prioritise. Tracking improvements with specific training can be very satisfying and lead to a consistent habit. Consistent habits often lead to great results!

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