As a runner, I love to run in groups. The time passes by faster as we all share stories, get to know each other better, and typically laugh the miles away. I’ve grown accustom to talking while I run. In fact, I often fear I talk too much when I run. However, new studies have been conducted regarding talking while exercising and the findings may have me upping my chatter for the sake of my fitness.
Recently, exercise scientists from the University of New Hampshire confirmed the effectiveness of the “talk test”- a relatively simple and low-tech method used to measure exercise intensity.
The rather simple test required the participants to recite the Pledge of Allegiance while exercising at different intensity levels. Their heart rates and maximal oxygen consumption, or V02 max, were measured during the test. Those who spoke comfortably were at their lower end of exercise intensity. Those who could no longer speak comfortably were at the upper end of the intensity guidelines.
Do you find yourself twiddling your thumbs or tapping your feet and fingers out of boredom? You may be taking part in what some experts call “incidental physical activity.” A study published last month took a look at physical movements people make that don’t involve formal exercise and what kind of role they may play in people’s health.
Some of the incidental activity they considered had more purpose than tapping toes, such as preparing dinner or pulling weeds in the yard.
What ultimately matters is, do these activities have an impact on our physical fitness? The key may be in something called VO2 max, which is a reference to the amount of oxygen a person can utilize during an intense exercise. While it is used to measure an athletes cardiovascular and endurance fitness level, it has also been seen as an important predictor of the risk for premature death. (more…)
VO2 max (V-volume per time, O2-oxygen, max-maximum) is typically defined as the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to process oxygen during exercise. This number is useful because it is the most reliable way to determine the fitness level of the individual. By knowing your VO2 max, you can not only compare your fitness level to “standards”, but you can also objectively assess your progress while improving your current overall level of endurance and fitness.
Knowing your VO2 max is also great for setting goals and motivation. Most recreational exercisers really don’t need to know their VO2 max; although I recommend knowing it along with your weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat, and BMI (Body Mass Index). By knowing these numbers, you are able to self- diagnose your current overall state of health and well-being (extremely important if you are over the age of 45). The more oxygen your muscles use, the more efficiently your body works, allowing you to do more work, with less stress on your body. VO2 max is one of those rare health numbers you want to go up, not down. (more…)