Cardio-respiratory fitness represents the combined work of heart, lungs and muscles to sustain exertion at a given level. The gold-standard parameter of cardiorespiratory fitness is VO2max, and refers to the amount of oxygen ventilated during maximal exercise exertion. This parameter is best measured from ventilation during test exercise. The VO2max test can be performed on subjects from approx 20 years old to very old age if conditions are met. The test is performed wearing sports clothing and shoes, to allow exercising comfortably. Please come prepared, as we do not have changing facilities. It is recommended to be well rested prior to the test, and not immediately after a meal or exercise.
VO2max estimates one's Functional Capacity, the ability to perform in the daily living activities and/or more strenuous activities. It is given in Metabolic Equivalents of Task (MET). The metabolic equivalent refers to the energy expenditure during a particular task over and above the reference energy expenditure when sitting quietly.
We use professional ergospirometry equipment to perform a direct measurement of the amount of oxygen ventilated during incremental exercise, via a special face mask with oxygen sensor. We employ cycling on a medical ergobike as the form of testing exercise. Therefore one has to be familiar with cycling on a upright bike. The test protocol takes the subject through a preset ride of gradually increasing intensity, called a ramp test. During the test exercise the equipment measures and monitors the amount of ventilated oxygen (VO2) and the heart rate. The test effort level is set according to the predicted fitness level and maximum heart rate.
In order to perform a VO2max test safely one has to pass the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, have normal resting blood pressure and heart rate, and normal basic lung function parameters (peak expiratory flow rate/forced expiratory volume 1 sec). These preliminary tests are part of the VO2max assessment protocol.
The VO2max test is less appropriate for people with known moderate or severe cardiac or lung disease, people with muscular impairment or severe arthritis, and people with disorders of coordination, balance or cognition.