What is a good VO2 max by age?

The Aspiring Runner and the Mysterious VO2 Max

Imagine this. You're an aspiring runner, training passionately, pushing your limits, but something seems to be holding you back. You've heard about VO2 max, a mysterious term that other runners use. You wonder - could this be the key to unlocking your potential?

Unmasking VO2 Max

VO2 max, or the maximum volume of oxygen your body can use during intense exercise, is often used as a measure of cardiovascular fitness. But what does a good VO2 max look like? And more importantly, how does it change as we age?

The Scale of VO2 Max

VO2 max is measured in milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight (ml/kg/min). The higher the number, the more oxygen your body can use, and the better your cardiorespiritory fitness.

Here are some general VO2 max norms for men and women by age:

  • 20-29 years: Men 49-55 ml/kg/min, Women 43-48 ml/kg/min
  • 30-39 years: Men 45-51 ml/kg/min, Women 39-45 ml/kg/min
  • 40-49 years: Men 43-48 ml/kg/min, Women 36-41 ml/kg/min
  • 50-59 years: Men 39-45 ml/kg/min, Women 34-40 ml/kg/min
  • 60+ years: Men 37-42 ml/kg/min, Women 32-36 ml/kg/min

Factors That Affect VO2 Max

Several factors can influence your VO2 max, including:

  1. Age: VO2 max tends to decrease with age. But don't let that discourage you! Regular exercise can slow down this decline.
  2. Sex: Men generally have a higher VO2 max than women due to larger heart size and higher blood volume.
  3. Altitude: Living at higher altitudes can increase VO2 max because of increased red blood cell production.
  4. Training: Endurance training, like running, can significantly increase your VO2 max.

How to Improve Your VO2 Max

Now, the big question - how do you improve your VO2 max, regardless of your age?

  1. High-intensity interval training (HIIT): This involves alternating short periods of intense exercise with recovery periods. It's been proven to be effective in improving VO2 max.
  2. Endurance training: Long, steady runs at a moderate intensity can also boost your VO2 max.
  3. Strength training: Building muscle can help improve your body's oxygen usage.

The Final Lap

So, what is a good VO2 max by age? It differs for everyone, but understanding how it changes with age and how to improve it can give you a competitive edge in your running journey. But remember, VO2 max is just one measure of fitness. It's important to listen to your body and enjoy the process of running.

Ready to hit the track and boost your VO2 max? Let's run!