What is your VO2max? How is it related to your longevity and healthspan?

December 22nd, 2023 by Jennie

Two powerful studies, published in highly respected medical journals, followed almost 900,000 subjects for a number of years and concluded that higher VO2 max was associated with lower mortality across all fitness levels. And while there seemed to be no upper limit to the benefits of aerobic fitness (CRF), the impact of lower aerobic fitness on longevity was clearly similar to commonly recognized comorbidities: 

Increased Cardiorespiratory Fitness (CRF) was associated with reduced long-term mortality (death by any cause) with no observed upper limit of benefit. The adjusted mortality risk of reduced CRF was greater than or equal to traditional clinical risk factors, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and smoking. Extreme aerobic fitness (CRF ≥ 2 SDs above the mean for age and sex) was associated with the greatest survival and was notably beneficial in older patients and those with hypertension.”

In other words, the greater your fitness, the lower your chance of passing away early, with no limit to how being more aerobically fit can help. If you’re not very aerobically fit, the risk of not living as long is similar to or even greater than known health issues like heart disease, diabetes, or smoking. 

The great news is that CRF is a “modifiable indicator”, and can be changed or influenced through exercise to great health effect. The following tables show the various VO2 Max categories used in the studies and the substantial reduction in All Cause Mortality as aerobic fitness moves from group to group. 

Improving from the Below Average group to the Above Average group is associated with a 41% decrease in All-Cause Mortality within the next year. This is equivalent to the impact of quitting smoking! Moving from Above Average to High has a similar reduction in overall mortality risk. Furthermore, improving your VO2 Max from Low CRF to High CRF results in a substantial 290% reduction in All Cause Mortality, and going from Low to Elite is even more remarkable with a massive 404% reduction! Another way of saying this is that someone in the low CRF group has an almost 3 times greater risk of dying compared to someone in the High CRF category, and a 4 times greater risk of dying than someone in the Elite group.

Peter Attia MD in his best selling book on longevity, “Outlive”, highlighted the significance of this finding by saying “It turns out that peak aerobic cardiorespiratory fitness, measured in terms of VO2max, is perhaps that single most powerful marker for longevity”

With such an impact on longevity within your control, why wait any longer? Call or order your test online today at Athletic Mentors and schedule a VO2max test to determine your longevity risk and talk with a fitness expert to design a program that helps you improve your health to live longer and better.