If you’re using a sports watch worth its salt, then you’ll likely have come across something called a ‘VO2 Max’ score.

So what is it?

The VO2 Max is a measurement of your body’s maximal oxygen uptake ability. It looks at how much oxygen your body can take in when you are pushing yourself during an aerobic exercise. Your score is thus measured in milliliters of oxygen/per kilogram of body mass/per minute.

Your VO2 Max score is a good indicator of your cardiovascular endurance and aerobic performance. As you train and become fitter, your VO2 Max score should improve.

However, the results aren’t going to be anywhere close to accurate as what you would get from a full blown VO2 Max test conducted in a lab. Unless you are a professional athlete, you won’t need a lab test anyway.

Most manufacturers have a licensed a patented method of estimating your VO2 Max. That patent is called the Firstbeat method. Which should give you about 95% accuracy. It gets there by using the relationship between oxygen consumption and running speed in combination with your heart rate.

If you notice most non-GPS watches do not have VO2 Max as a metric, this is because you need GPS for accuracy.

However, that accuracy can be skewed by Running uphill or downhill. As you’d exert a different amount of effort as opposed to running on a flat plain. It is evident your pace would be affected.

That’s where you’ll find in your product’s manual that many device manufacturers recommend conducting VO2 Max tests on even terrain.

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