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maximal oxygen uptake

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The maximum amount of oxygen that a person can extract from the atmosphere and then transport and use in tissues. Maximal oxygen uptake is estimated as the maximum volume of oxygen voluntarily consumed per unit time, during a large muscle group activity of progressively increasing intensity that is continued until exhaustion. It is often expressed as VO2max: the maximum volume of oxygen consumed per minute. It may also be expressed as the absolute volume of oxygen consumed in litres per minute to indicate total work capacity, or volume of oxygen consumed per minute per kilogram body weight. The average VO2max for a 20-year-old female is between 32–38 ml kg−1min−1; for a 20-year-old male it is 36–44 ml kg−1min−1. Endurance athletes tend to have a higher VO2max than those involved in power activities. The highest VO2max value recorded for a male is 94 ml kg−1min−1 for a champion Norwegian cross-country skier. Aerobic training may improve VO2max by 15–20% or more. Such increases are due to changes within the cardiopulmonary transport system and tissue chemistry.

maximal oxygen uptake

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