House Calls

House Calls Started This Year

House calls are meant for patients who are temporarily or permanently home bound, or for other good reasons can't make it into the office.

To schedule a house call: Tel (203) 853-1919; email

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fitness and Conditioning: Why is VO2 Important?

If you exercise regularly, if you exercise vigorously and want to know if you could do even better, you may want to know your VO2 max.

When you exercise, your oxygen consumption increases. It does so within limits which vary from person to person. Your VO2max (where V stands for Volume and O2 stands for oxygen) is your maximal ability to consume oxygen during exertion, measured in milliliters of oxygen per kg of body weight, per minute.

Oxygen is inhaled from the atmosphere by the lungs, where it diffuses into the blood stream, and then
propelled by the heart throughout the body. Some of the oxygen is then taken up by the cells and is used in aerobic metabolism for energy production and a variety of metabolic processes.

Normally, the limitation to VO2 max is dictated by the ability of the heart to pump the blood. This max can be impaired in cases of heart disease, especially in congestive heart failure, but it can also be limited by a lung disease – asthma, and COPD for example – and can be further limited by genetic factors.

For individuals in good health, VO2 max can be “trained” to its ultimate maximum with a suitable exercise/fitness program. This may take several months, sometimes up to 18 months of regular exercise.

Your VO2 max is usually tested on a treadmill. It’s a graded exercise test, similar to cardiac exercise testing, with the addition of a small mouth piece through which air composition is analyzed, and the VO2 is computer-calculated during the test. Once you reach VO2 max, your oxygen consumption plateaus, as seen in the graph. Most people complete the exercise within 12-16 minutes (the Olympic athletes will take longer…).

Knowing you exercise VO2 and its relationship to your max allows us to assess your level of conditioning, and better prescribe an exercise/fitness routine in order to improve your performance.

At our facility, we have been cardiopulmonary function testing, which includes both a VO2 max test and cardiac exercise for over 20 years. To my knowledge, we are the only ones in the County who are doing this test outside the hospital. Many of our patients, including some high profile athletes, have benefited from it by safely increasing their exercise capacity and performance.

Insurance may cover some or all of the test; and we have an affordable fee schedule for the uninsured and the under-insured.

Does this whet your appetite? Any questions? Call (203) 853-1919.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Twitter / Dr. Staw