Aerobic Capacity – Know the Basics
Aerobic capacity is an indicator of the overall energetic capacity and cardio-respiratory fitness of an individual. It is measured in terms of VO2max (maximal oxygen uptake) which is the maximum amount of oxygen used by your body every minute and is a reflection of aerobic fitness and aerobic trainability. VO2max is actually the maximum amount of oxygen which the organism consumes per unit of time and delivers to peripheral organs, including skeletal muscle, where it is used to sustain muscular contraction at peak exercise while performing the exercise of growing intensity, and which cannot be further increased with further rise of exercise intensity.
In short, the greater your aerobic capacity, the longer you can exercise at a specific intensity.
Do all humans have the same aerobic capacity and VO2max?
The answer is a straight NO. Aerobic capacity or VO2max is characterized by wide inter-individual differences even among sedentary adults and thus different people may have different baseline VO2max. Also, increase in VO2max in response to exercise training varies greatly between individuals, with some people responding well or very well to exercise training, whereas others only have mild increases following similar exercise training. Studies have shown that a large part (50 to 66%) of the inter-individual variation in aerobic capacity and its training response can be explained by genetic factors.
Variation in the genes that are involved in regulating the level of hormones, cytokines, growth factors, etc. or genes that determine the muscular structure and mitochondrial content of muscles and genetic variants influencing pathways involved in maintaining VO2max might explain the variability associated with aerobic capacity and its response to training.
Other Factors affecting the Aerobic Capacity
VO2max also depends on many other factors including age, gender, atmospheric oxygen, cardiac output, respiratory function, supply of oxygen-rich blood to working muscles (increased number of capillaries and blood volume), muscle mitochondrial function and content, oxidative enzyme capacity, vascular wall health and function, individual muscular characteristics etc.
How can genetic testing help?
A genetic test can help you understand how your genes could affect your aerobic capacity. Knowing your genetic tendency for aerobic capacity and trainability will help you in identifying the ideal frequency and intensity to improve adaptations and, thus, performance. You may have a genetic tendency for low or high aerobic capacity and you can customize your fitness profile according to your genetic profile. For example, those with a tendency for high aerobic capacity should focus on maximal oxygen-based training, which is intense interval training, like HIIT. Those with a tendency for low aerobic capacity may not start with HIIT but they can gradually improve their VO2max with endurance-based exercise training over a long period.
Know your genetic tendency for aerobic capacity with our DNAwise genetic test and optimize your exercise routine. Check our website to know more about the test details.
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