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VO2 Max – Maximizing Longevity through Running

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The Importance of VO2 Max

Dear Run R2P Community,

As runners, we often focus on the immediate benefits of our beloved activity – the endorphin rush, the sense of accomplishment after a challenging workout, or the thrill of crossing the finish line. However, there’s another aspect of running that we should pay close attention to, one that has profound implications for our long-term health and longevity: VO2 max.

What is it?

VO2 max, or maximal oxygen consumption, is a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during intense exercise. It’s a key indicator of cardiovascular fitness and endurance, and research has shown that it’s also strongly correlated with longevity. In fact, a higher VO2 max is associated with a reduced risk of mortality from all causes, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.

In a fascinating article by Dr. Peter Attia, he delves into the science behind VO2 max and longevity, explaining how higher levels of aerobic fitness can significantly extend lifespan. He explores various studies that demonstrate the powerful impact of VO2 max on overall health and discusses strategies for improving and maintaining this crucial metric. If you’re interested in learning more about the link between VO2 max and longevity, I highly recommend giving his article a read here. 

How to Test VO2 Max

But how do we measure our VO2 max and track our progress over time? One effective method is through Cooper’s 12-minute run/walk test. Developed by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, this simple yet effective fitness test involves running or walking as far as possible in 12 minutes, with the distance covered serving as an indicator of aerobic endurance and VO2 max.

If you’re new to the 12-minute run/walk test or need a refresher on how to perform it, I recommend checking out this informative guide from Verywell Fit here. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to conduct the test properly and offers tips for maximizing your performance.

Incorporating the 12-minute run/walk test into your training regimen can help you gauge your current level of aerobic fitness and set realistic goals for improvement. By tracking your progress over time, you can identify areas for growth and tailor your workouts to enhance your cardiovascular health and longevity.

The Finish Line

As a performance physical therapist and run coach, my goal is to empower you to not only achieve your running goals but also to prioritize your long-term health and well-being. By understanding the role of VO2 max in longevity and utilizing tools like the 12-minute run/walk test, you can take proactive steps towards maximizing your lifespan and enjoying a lifetime of running.

Keep logging those miles, pushing your limits, and investing in your health – your future self will thank you for it.

Happy running!

If you need any further guidance or support along the way please feel free to reach out to me directly at, hopefully we see you at an upcoming R2P Run Club – get the details HERE

running physical therapist

Dr. Greg Ellis PT, DPT, CSCS

Performance Physical Therapist 

Follow Greg on Instagram (HERE) for more content and to see his running progress!

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Fitness Focused Physical Therapy

Running injuries holding you back? Rehab 2 Perform specializes in preventing risk to re-injury and empowering you with the tools to stay active. We serve the AnnapolisBethesdaColumbiaFrederickGambrillsGermantown and Mt. Airy areas in Maryland, and now in Leesburg, and the Tysons Corner Business District in Virginia. Contact us today at 1(301) 798- 4838 or schedule an appointment by visiting us here today. 

We accept all major insurances, including Tricare, VA Community Care, and the Johns Hopkins Healthcare Network!

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