Ever wonder how fit you are, or if this could be measured? The best measure of aerobic fitness is called the ‘VO2max’, and is literally equal to the volume of oxygen consumed per minute during maximum exercise effort.
How does VO2max reflect fitness? Well, we use oxygen to generate energy (called ATP) at rest and during aerobic activity. Energy can be generated without oxygen for very short periods of time, which is called anaerobic respiration, but the best marker of endurance/cardiorespiratory fitness (which requires oxygen) is the maximum possible oxygen consumption that a particular person can achieve – that is, the VO2max.
The VO2max is most accurately measured in a lab, where oxygen consumption is measured while a person exercises to maximum capacity on a treadmill or stationary bike.
There are a couple of neat ways that VO2max can be predicted: (IMPORTANT: check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to do these tests before you proceed)