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Survival of the Fittest: Can Increasing VO2max Predict Longevity?

by Quantify Fitness | Last Updated:  March 14, 2023

You've probably heard us reference VO2max at some point. Research done on ARX and CAROL have both been shown to increase VO2max by around 15%. Many of our clients that combine ARX, CAROL, Vasper, and infrared sauna—we call that The Fitness Formula—get in the best shape of their life with only about an hour of exercise a week.

No more trashing your knees pounding the pavement required! No part of the body should improve at the expense of another.

Even if you don't plan on doing a 5-day 47-mile hike with 16K feet of elevation and a 50lb backpack like Don, there's still reason to care about improving your VO2max.

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VO2max is your aerobic capacity and a measure of cardiovascular fitness that measures your body's ability to deliver oxygen to muscles. It decreases by around 10% per decade if you’re not exercising. VO2max is important for longevity and all-cause mortality.

There are multiple reasons why proper strength training improves your cardiovascular fitness, aka VO2max. Building muscle involves the creation of new mitochondria and improved mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells and where your energy comes from.

You also have the impact of building strength. If you think about how hard your heart and lungs have to work to go up ten flights of stairs, well if you double your strength, now your heart and lungs have to work around half as hard.

There's research showing each 1% improvement in VO2max equates to a 1-2% reduced risk for heart disease. So a 15% improvement will have reduced their risk for heart disease by 15-30%. And for people who like to race, a 15% improvement in VO2max translates to around a 15% faster race time in something like a 10K.

In another study, participants trained a single leg on a stationary bike and they saw over a 20% improvement in VO2max in the leg they trained, but when they tested the untrained leg, there was no improvement. This means the cardiovascular adaptations weren't really in the heart and lungs but were in the muscle.

This is why jogging will give you a better result than walking, or sprinting will give you a better result than jogging. A greater demand is being placed on the muscles as you move faster, and as a result, the cardiovascular adaptations become more robust.

When you do ARX at Quantify Fitness, it's like sprinting for all your muscles!

Lifting heavier weight produces more changes in gene expression when it comes to vascular remodeling, insulin and blood sugar control, and blood pressure, but it can also be dangerous to lift heavy as you get older. But because ARX safely matches a user's strength for the entire range of motion, the likelihood of getting injured is extremely low. With ARX, if something doesn’t feel right, you can just stop and the machine essentially stops. There’s no weight to drop or gravity involved.

Finally, progressive overload is essential to continue progressing from strength training. That means increasing how much weight you're lifting as you get stronger, but with ARX, that happens automatically. As you get stronger, so does the machine.

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