Below we have a simple VO2 Max calculator that will give you a baseline reading of your current VO2 Max capacity.
We also have tables showing an estimated fitness level based on your age and the VO2 Max reading.
VO2 Max Calculator
VO2Max Fitness Scores For Men By Age
Here we have male fitness levels rated based on your VO2 Max and age.
VO2Max Fitness Scores For Women By Age
Here we have female fitness levels rated based on your VO2 Max and age.
What Is VO2 Max?
Your VO2 MAX number is a measurement of how much oxygen your body can take in and use. It measures your cardiovascular fitness. It’s measured in ml/kg/min (milliliters per kilogram per minute).
How is it tested?
VO2 Max is typically measured during exercise, usually running on a treadmill or by cycling. Your heart rate will be monitored throughout the test and several other measurements like blood pressure and breathing will be taken before, after and even between tests to create a full picture of how hard you’re working. The harder you’re working, the higher your heart rate will be and the quicker you’ll breathe – both factors that affect VO2 Max readings.
There are various ways you can test your VO2 Max capacity yourself, and while they are not as reliable as a lab reading, they are a good baseline reading that you can use to track relative improvements.
Can I Improve My VO2 Max?
Your VO2 Max level is largely genetic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it – as long as you exercise regularly and keep your body in good shape.
Generally speaking, cardio exercises like running and biking will help raise your VO2 Max capacity. Increasing the intensity of your workouts will also boost numbers.
Aim for interval training rather than a steady pace to see greater results.
Does VO2 Max Capacity Change By Age?
Age is a common factor in predicting VO2 max with the most accurate formula being HRmax-HRrest/220-age.
However, this formula does vary somewhat from study to study. In general, though:
- <18 yrs old – VO2 Max of about 50 ml/kg/min
- 20s – 55 ml/kg/min
- 30-39ys – 50 ml/kg/min
- 40-49yrs – 45 ml/kg/min
- 50-59yrs – 40 ml/kg/min
- 60-69yrs – 35 ml.kg/min
- 70+ years – 30 ml/kg/min
What Are The Benefits of a Higher VO2 Max Score?
A higher VO2 Max means your heart, lungs and other organs are all working better. It shows you have a higher daily exercise capacity to work at.
It’s also an important factor in predicting longevity – the higher your VO2 Max score, the longer you’re likely to live.
This is because of its relationship with oxygen use efficiency. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for men and women over 65 years old; if you can raise your VO2 Max reading, it lowers your risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attack or stroke down the line.
However, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well like diet, smoking habits (if you smoke, quitting will improve results greatly), general health and physical activity level – because even if you have the highest VO2 Max reading possible, that won’t help much if your body can’t use it
Are There Any Benefits to a Low VO2 Max Score?
It’s debatable whether there are any benefits to having a low VO2 Max reading, but for endurance athletes in high-level competition it can be an advantage.
Low oxygen use efficiency often comes with higher blood volume. That means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump that much oxygen around the body, which makes it all the easier to push through long races or training workouts. Low VO2 Max scores are also associated with better endurance because their bodies become more efficient at conserving energy when they’re working at lower intensities.
How Accurate Is The VO2 Max Reading on Smartphones and Fitness Trackers?
The answer is, not very. While many of the popular fitness trackers and phone apps claim to use VO2 Max readings to measure daily progress towards fitness goals, they’re often inaccurate.
Although as technology improves, they are getting much better.
They don’t have access to your heart rate or blood pressure data during a workout so they can’t accurately determine how hard you’re working based on that information alone – which means a VO2 Max reading calculated in this way will be pretty rough at best.
It’s also important to keep in mind that even when performed by athletes under lab conditions with accurate measurements being taken, these tests are never 100% precise either – because it’s all about approximations rather than exact science.
Does it matter that the readings aren’t 100% accurate?
In truth – not really.
It’s still a good idea to keep an eye on the Vo2 Max reading on your Garmin, smartwatch or fitness tracker. Establish a baseline score and any improvement or deterioration to your rating will be a useful indicator that your training is working – or not!
While our VO2 Max Calculator is a good indicator of relative fitness levels, there are far too many variables to provide a “definitive” reading of your ability to use oxygen efficiently without spending a LOT of money on expensive lab tests.
Does it matter? Not really!
It’s still good fun and a positive goal to work on improving your relative score!
See also: our race pace charts.