VO2 Max: Your Most Important Metric?

Expert Cited: Peter Attia
Written by
Brian Leddy
Attia hero 1
Source: The Drive - peterattiamd.com

In a recent Q&A session, longevity expert Dr. Peter Attia brought up some really interesting points related to VO2 max and how that may actually be the ultimate health metric. It's not just about being a gym rat; this number may just hold the key to a longer, healthier life.

Expert: Peter Attia

Field of Study: Surgical oncology and immune-based therapies

Bio: Dr. Peter Attia, a physician and longevity expert, founded Early Medical, a practice focused on extending lifespan and healthspan. He hosts the super popular podcast The Drive, and is known for his research in surgical oncology and immune-based therapies. 

Learn More: https://peterattiamd.com/

What's VO2 Max, Anyway?

VO2 max measures how much oxygen your body can use during intense exercise. It's your fitness report card, showing how well your heart, lungs, and muscles team up to deliver that much-needed oxygen throughout your systems.

Low VO2 Max? Not So Fast!

Dr. Attia dropped a truth bomb: low VO2 max is linked to a higher risk of mortality. Let's break it down:

Strong Correlation: Studies show a clear link between a higher VO2 max and a lower risk of kicking the bucket. This is HUGE. If you were going to focus on one metric to optimize for longevity, VO2 Max could be it!

Magnitude of Risk: If your cardiorespiratory fitness is low (i.e. Your VO2 max is in the basement – less than 36 mL/kg/min for a male or 30mL/kg/min for a female both aged 50), you're facing a much higher risk of death over a decade compared to those who are fitter. We're talking a potential 50% increase! This, right here, is your sign to prioritize VO2 Max!

Incremental Benefits: The good news is that even small improvements in your VO2 max can make a HUGE difference. 

Independent Predictor: Your VO2 max isn't just another number; it's a powerful predictor of your health destiny, even when considering other factors like age and lifestyle.

Accessible Measurement: Getting your VO2 max tested is easier than you think. It's like a sneak peek into your body's engine, revealing how well it's running and where you can make improvements. You may picture a treadmill, face mask, tubes and machines at a performance testing facility (and yes that is a great method) but if nothing else the consumer grade smartwatches available can give you a fair enough estimate of your VO2 Max so please don't think tracking this measurement is out of reach.

VO2 Max: More Than Just a Number

Monitoring and optimizing your VO2 max should be a crucial factor that guides your fitness and lifestyle practices according to Attia. This isn't just about bragging rights at the gym. Your VO2 max is a vital sign of your overall health and well-being and could be a powerful predictor for your longevity. It's time to take it seriously! So, lace up those sneakers and get moving!

Brian Leddy Profile Image
Brian Leddy CEO & Co-Founder, BodyStack (FDN-P)
Certified Functional Diagnostic Practitioner (FDN-P) and owner of Leddy Functional Wellness. Formerly an Adweek Executive and Media Entreprenuer, Brian pivoted his career to focus on inspiring and coaching people from all walks of life to make positive strides in their respective health journeys. Brian is a Co-Founder, and now serves as the CEO of BodyStack.
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