VO2 Max: A Measure of Cardio Respiratory Fitness

Introduction

Assessment of cardiorespiratory fitness is important for both athletes as well as the members of the general population. In athletes for apparent reasons. While in general population, VO2 max can be used to predict subsequent development of cardiovascular disease. Thus, VO2 max studies can be used for prevention, both primary as well as secondary, of development of cardiovascular sequelae like angina pectoris or myocardial infarction.

Furthermore, since cardiorespiratory fitness has been linked decisively to early deaths from a variety of causes, VO2 max studies in general population assume immense significance.

So what exactly is VO2 max? Well, in literal terms, it is the volume (V) of oxygen (O2) during maximum exercise that your body is able to transfer. As we all know, during exercise, your body needs energy and the chemical reaction to produce energy require oxygen (especially aerobic exercises). Thus, the higher your VO2 max,the more your body can transport oxygen effectively during times of intense training. Therefore, you will be able to train longer at higher intensity levels.

Methods of Assessing VO2 max

VO2 max can be measured using either maximal or sub maximal exercise testing protocols. Maximum exercise testing involves pushing the subject to the limit of intense physical exercise. So much so, that immediate medical attention is usually required. Maximal exercise testing is a true reflection of VO2 max. However, for obvious reasons, this method is best avoided, at least in the general population. Most authorities recommend the submaximal method (using submaximal loads of exercise intensity). Once the values are obtained using this method, regression equations are used to predict the actual VO2 max.

Whereas, maximal exercise testing is more sensitive, submaximal exercise testing is safer, esp. when implemented in members of the population who are not accustomed to training.

Maximal Exercise Testing:

Maximal exercise testing requires trained individuals and sophisticated equipment. Therefore, it is used only in certain clinical settings.

Submaximal Exercise Tests

Astrand and Rhyming Step Test: This test is carried out using a 33cm step/ aerobic bench for women and 40cm step for men. It involves stepping up and down the step or bench at the rate of 22.5 per min. ECG and steady state heart rate readings are taken. It would require 25.8 and 29.5 mL/Kg/min of oxygen uptake for women and men respectively.

YMCA step test and The Canadian Home Fitness Test can also be used for submaximal exercise testing. The step tests are popular because of use of minimal equipment and ease of implementation. Another major advantage is the minimal cost as well as the fact that large number of subjects can be tested at the same time as shown by The Canadian Home Fitness Test.

3 min. YMCA Step Test: This test determines how quickly your heart rate returns to normal after a bout of exercise. It uses a 12 inch aerobic bench. The subject steps onto the bench with a rate of 24 per minute (estimated oxygen uptake of 25.8 mL/Kg/Min.). After 3 min., the subject immediately sits down and the HR is counted for a minute. It is crucial that the HR is counted starting within 5 sec of stopping the exercise. The obtained HR values are then used to compare against established norms.

Treadmill Tests: A minimal of 3 min. treadmill test using 70% of heart rate reserve or and 85% of maximal heart rate as the end point of test is a better predictor of VO2 max than the step tests. Pretty much like in the step tests, achieving a steady state heart rate is imperative to get accurate data. Thus, the need to carry out the test for a minimum of 3min. Variety of treadmill test protocols are used: Bruce Protocol being the most popular of all.

Cycle Ergometer Tests

Astrand-Rhyming Cycle Ergometer Test: This is a 6 minute single stage test. The subject pedals at a rate of 50rpm to achieve a HR between 125 and 170 beats/min. HR should be measured during the 5th and 6th minute of the test. An average of 2 or more HR reading is taken and used to estimate VO2 max from Modified Astrand-Rhyming Normogram.

Other test like Maritz Test use a multi-stage cycle ergometer test to determine VO2 max.

Conclusion

A plethora of tests for assessing aerobic capacity are available. This, however, makes the choice of test to be used a bit difficult. A lot, however, depends on the subject, his/her cardiorespiratory status as well as availability of equipment and trained personnel.

At the end of the day, designing and implementing a good fitness program, either as a preventive measure for a cardiovascular disease or to achieve fitness goals is equally, if not more, important.

How Water Aerobics Can Help With Fibromyalgia Condition

The physical condition fibromyalgia is typified by aches and pains in joints, tendons and muscles. This condition was believed to be psychological rather than physiological – it has now been established that significant chemical changes occur in fibromyalgia sufferers.

Fibromyalgia is not linked to injuries, disease or poor muscle repair ability of the body. Sufferers also do not face greater risk for types of musculoskeletal diseases – the precise cause of fibromyalgia is unknown but may be as a result of stress and pain levels seem to be more evident while resting than during periods of activity.

Exercise is an excellent way to decrease pain caused by fibromyalgia and in particular aerobics which helps reduce symptoms in sufferers while improving quality of life.

Aerobic activities increase pulse and respiratory rates – activities can be walking, cycling, running, and swimming however water aerobics seems to be more beneficial for fibromyalgia sufferers than other exercise types.

Aerobics increases muscle strength, decreases morning muscle stiffness, reduces potential injury risks, improves sleeping patterns and decreases pain.

Water aerobics appears to add more impact and value to exercise routines as it helps cushion the joints and muscles while supporting the body and increases resistance and workload required by the muscles to gain the desired effects, also promoting better balance, reducing pain perception and helping relaxation.

Any exercise program should be approved by a doctor who knows the specific needs and medical status of the person concerned. The services of a therapist or qualified instructor should be used initially and at a later stage it may be possible to continue alone with a program in a pool at home.

Begin slowly – 20 to 30 minute sessions twice or three times a week working towards sessions of 45 to 60 minutes. Be aware of any limitations and rest if fatigue is experienced during a workout by simply relaxing in the water – don’t ignore pain and always listen to what the body is saying.

Hydration is important while swimming or doing water aerobics – sweating goes by unnoticed in a pool and warmer pools will make a person sweat more – always remember to avoid dehydration.

Numerous studies have shown that fibromyalgia sufferers benefit emotionally and physically from water aerobics. Studies in Spain (2006) and Norway (2001) found that water aerobics improved patient’s emotional well being and physical functionality (beneficial in both short and long term programs).

Water aerobics will help fibromyalgia sufferers maintain better relationships with people they have contact with such as family, friends and employers as improved emotional and physical health makes it possible. Productivity at work also increases due to fewer sick days.

How Much Does P90x Cost?

The P90x workout DVDs It seems that a lot of people would like to try out this exercise program that promises amazing results in just 3 short months. Most buyers are drawn by the before and after photos that actual users have posted. Since they seem to prove that the system works, the next question would be: how much does the system cost Online, the product is very resonable and comparable to other products. What do you really get at this rate?

1. 10 Exercise DVDs: A single purchase includes a set of DVDs that feature workouts divided among several videos. Each video features an exercise routine that is specifically meant for a target group of muscles. The exercises are mostly made out of intense cardio routines that use the whole body, assuring you of a head – to – toe workout.

2. It’s like having a trainer in a box: invented by Tony Horton – the personal trainer to the stars, he incorporated certain aspects of his service to the package. Tony made sure that you get a guide that’s why the DVDs come with an excel sheet that shows your schedule and tracks your progress. For each day that a person performs, one or two exercise videos are assigned. They are arranged pursuant to Tony’s secret weapon – Muscle Confusion. According to his theory, human muscles get immune should you apply the same kind of exercise to it on a daily basis. Thus, the exercises are arranged to shock the system every once in a while – just when you’re starting to get comfortable. Is not made to get easy over time. They will continue to shock and challenge you.

3. Nutritional Guide: The set comes with a dietary plan that tells you what kind of food you can eat to compliment the workout you will be executing each day. Some days you will imbibe more protein, sometimes less. This varies based on the strength training you are expected to do that day. It will teach you to stay away from fatty foods and those that do nothing to burn the calories you have in your system.

4. After Sales Support: Not included in the package, but anyone can access the website. There you can expect to talk to a community of other people on the same exercise regimen as you are. They have the special light equipment that Tony and his team uses during the workouts, as well as a very responsive helpdesk to guide you through your journey.

Given all these inclusions, it seems as if the product is an amazing buy. But there are still warnings about the p90x workouts not being for everyone. Reviews will recommend beginners – or people who have little or no physical activity – to start with something lighter first before embarking on this one.

Should You Do Cardio Exercise Before or After Strength Training?

A question that I am often asked and one that I have seen countless times on message boards across the Internet is whether a person should do cardiovascular exercise before or after a resistance training workout? Before going any further, I want to clearly state that it is my position that everyone should engage in a cardiovascular exercise of their choice for 5 to 10 minutes prior to any workout, be it a cardiovascular, resistance or flexibility workout. This is vitally important for several reasons as a proper, light-intensity cardiovascular exercise will warm up the muscles, ligaments, joints and tendons that will be used more intensely in the following workout routine. Warming up with cardio also increases the core temperature slightly, increases circulation, slightly elevates the heart rate and helps to prepare the heart for an increased workload, it helps increase lung functioning and helps you to mentally focus in on the upcoming workout routine. The most important advantage to warming up with light intensity cardio is the substantial decrease in risk of injury. If the body is not properly warmed up, you are much more likely to experience an injury to a muscle, joint, ligament or tendon.

Now back to the question of whether you should do cardiovascular exercise prior to or after a resistance workout? There is no single best answer here and instead, you should evaluate your individual fitness goals. If you goal is to increase endurance, stamina or overall cardiovascular health, then I suggest doing your cardio workout prior to weight and resistance training. By doing the cardio workout first (after your 5 to 10 minute warm up of course), you are able to engage in a more intense cardio session, which possibly might include some intervals in which you really push up to your lactic acid threshold or VO2 max level. It is much less likely that you would be able to achieve high intensity cardiovascular work after you have engaged in a weight training session. So, in short if your goal is to increase cardiovascular fitness levels, you should perform cardio workouts prior to resistance training.

On the other hand, if your goal is fat and weight loss, a current mode of thinking in the fitness community is by doing a cardiovascular workout after a resistance workout, you increases the rate of fat metabolism (fat burn as it is often referred to as). The theory is that by engaging in an intense resistance workout, you will deplete the glycogen stores in the muscles during this workout. Once the glycogen stores are depleted, the body begins to utilize fats in the body for fuel. Endurance athletes have long know this, yet typically in order for this to occur in endurance training, an athlete has to continuously run for approximately 90 minutes to fully deplete the muscles of glycogen. Therefore, I remain somewhat skeptical that many average people working out are pushing themselves to the point of glycogen depletion during their resistance workout, particularly workouts of less than an hour in duration. For more advanced trainers, I do believe that it is possible and therefore can be an effective means of decreasing body fat perhaps for these individuals.

I tend to look at it like this, if you are engaging in a cardiovascular and resistance workout on the same day back-to-back, one or the other will be of a lesser intensity level naturally. Again, evaluate your personal fitness goals before deciding whether to do your cardio workouts before or after resistance training. If you are trying to build muscle, you want to have as much muscle strength as you can available for your resistance workouts, therefore doing cardio before weight training would be counterproductive to your muscle building goals. If you are looking to gain endurance or heart health, place your focus on the cardio workouts and do them first. Remember, regardless of which you end up doing first, it is more important to properly warm up with a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes of cardio (even if it is only a brisk walk on the treadmill) in order to prepare the body for the workouts ahead, to get your head in the right space in order to bang out a productive workout, and most importantly to decrease the risk of injury. This debate won’t mean a thing if you get injured 5 minutes into a workout and are sidelined for the next 8 weeks rehabilitating an injury!

Lose Weight Fast – Harvard Study Confirms That Cardio and Aerobics Are Dead?

If you are like most of us, you may be trying your gut out with long and hard workouts to lose weight fast. But did you stop to think why you have still not lost even an ounce after so many workouts?

Most of us think that doing long hard workouts are essential to lose excess fat. But you may be surprised to note that losing excess body fat is achieved just doing the opposite of arduous and tedious workouts.

A recent study at the Harvard University has proven that long cardio workouts and aerobics are no longer effective in achieving your ideal body weight; even worse they can wreck your body.

They have revealed that the key to protecting your heart is exactly the opposite of cardio. It is not endurance but intensity. They have found that the more intense the exertion, the lower the risk of heart disease.

They also found that those who performed exercises that is more vigorous and in short intervals had a lower risk of death than those who performed less vigorous long duration exercises.

Aerobics and Cardio falls under the low-intensity, long-duration exercises category, and increases your risk of heart disease and death.

They have revealed that the most effective kind of exercises to lose extra weight is the high-intense, short-duration model. You can have a intense workout for 2-3 minutes and rest for 2-3 minutes. This can be brisk walking or some thing that can make your heart beat faster and stop and rest for the same period of time.

For the start do not exert yourself too much, gradually try to increase the spells. Remember to take care, if you are having heart diseases or any other kind of disease. If this is the case; better consult your physician and get him to recommend some intense exercises that would suit your physical condition.

Even though experts used to think that cardio and aerobic exercises burnt fat during long workouts; the new finding are that it was not so. This send a message to your body that you need a reserve of fat for the next time you do long duration exercises. This self defeating cycle ensures that your body makes more fat every time you finish the long workouts. Now you may see why you did not lose fat after so many hours in the gym. Each time you burn fat by cardio and aerobic exercises you body reacts by making more.

The High Intense, Low Duration Exercises Will Last for Maximum of 15-20 Minutes. This means Your Body Has No Chance of Burning Fat During Exercises. What Really Happens is That Your Body Will Burn Carbs form the Muscle Tissues.

The 5 Criteria to Judge Your Personal Trainer On

Hiring a personal trainer is a big step to taking fitness or weight loss serious. No longer are you casually exercising at the gym, the use of a trainer means that it's time for a directed and professionally managed approach. However, like all services, there is a clear discrepancy in quality and specialty that will change the results you see from personal training sessions. To ensure you're getting exactly what you pay for, the following are 5 criteria that personal trainers should be judged upon; no more, no less.

1. Experience / Education – Firstly, a personal trainer must carry specific certifications to be allowed to practice at weight loss centers and gyms. Look into the school that trained your prospective trainer, and make sure that they hold to your expected standards. Also, it may be a good idea to find a professional that specializes in a field you wish to excel in, eg muscle building, cardio, toning, weight loss. Though all trainers will have insight, some will be more prepared than others for specialized program goals.

2. Personality – As stated above, personal trainers are really a service industry at heart. You're paying for expertise and personal interaction from someone who will guide your fitness plan. If you simply do not mesh with the personality of the person you've hired, do not be afraid to switch to a different trainer by consulting with the manager of the weight loss center or gym. There will be no awkwardness or drama. Sometimes personalities don't fit, and they will need to fit to ensure the best results possible.

3. Attention / Focus – The attention of the personal trainer will be evident quickly. Their job and service is to make sure that you are working out safely and effective. While you're performing the exercises, they should be watching for things like form and the energy you're expending; and they should be adjusting your program accordingly. Checking their phone, hands in pockets while you're lifting, or allowing your program to stagnate over the weeks are the red flags you're looking for.

4. Adaptability – If your fitness goals change, it's never too late to change programs. Being afraid to put forth the work to achieve a goal, that's one thing; but if a trainer is resistant to changing a program when your goals themselves change, the trainer isn't fulfilling their end of the service. Personal trainers should be knowledgeable and dynamic in the programs they design, not rigid and pedantic.

5. Results – Finally, are you seeing a change? Is your body transforming, becoming stronger? Are you seeing the rewards from gym and weight loss center visits that you outlined to your personal trainer? If you find yourself unable to answer this positively, it may be time to switch. If you've found that personality and attention fit, give them a chance. At the end of the day, trust your instinct if you feel you can be gaining more from the service of a different trainer.

A personal trainer is a guide that will take your exercise program into a new direction and reach a higher level of fitness than you could without. Finding the right trainer is imperative. Be mindful and critical, and you'll find the trainer that can produce results for making the best You possible.