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You might have just run your 5 mile circuit 10 seconds faster, cycled up a steeper hill in a higher gear or swam a personal best but is your fitness improving?
VO2max is a precise measurement of your aerobic capacity as it indicates the maximum amount of oxygen that the body is able to utilise. The Cardiofit test is a treadmill test which takes you to your maximum heart rate (as defined by your age) to measure the condition of your heart and lungs under exercise conditions, and measures the intake of oxygen and output of carbon dioxide. The higher the VO2max values are the fitter you are. Studies indicate that VO2max can increase by changing the duration, intensity and type of your current exercise program.
The test is performed according to the internationally recognised Bruce protocol on a treadmill as it has been shown to have greater diagnostic sensitivity than if the test is performed on an exercise bike.
The test also measures the response of your cardiopulmonary system (heart, circulation and lungs) to exercise and is useful in establishing a baseline measure of fitness, and can help identify the existence of underlying heart disease. This test should be viewed as the first step in altering a major risk factor for ill health, namely physical inactivity.
If you have started a training regime we recommend two cardiofit tests – one at the outset to establish you have no asymptomatic heart problems and is safe to train and the following 3 – 6 months into the programme to see how your VO2max has improved.
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