So where should your VO2 max be? Refer to the tables here that display normative values for age-group VO2 max tests.
Within your age group, the higher numbers represent a higher VO2 max. If you have a great VO2 max, what does that get you outside the gym? Well, if your body can use oxygen more efficiently, you don’t have to work as hard for those little things: walking to your car from the grocery store, walking up and down stairs in your house, and doing chores around the house to name a few. And if it’s easier to get that oxygen to your muscles, there is a big, important muscle that doesn’t have to work as hard at doing its job: your heart.
Your heart is constantly exercising. It’s always working to get blood with nutrients and oxygen to the parts of your body that need it most. When your VO2 max numbers are good, your heart does not have to work as hard to keep pumping blood to muscles when you are exercising. So of course when you are doing your daily activities it has to work even less hard. A higher VO2 max will actually decrease your resting heart rate and therefore decrease stress on the heart when doing activities at varying intensity levels (such as walking the dog or running a marathon).
In the last part of this series I will outline the different ways to strengthen that heart muscle and pump up your VO2 max number.