Your body needs oxygen to move. The more oxygen your body can process and feed your muscles with, the more energy you produce to go faster, stronger, further and longer. This processing-feeding-producing ability is your maximum aerobic capacity, also known as your VO2 Max, or the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use per minute.

Most of us will reach optimum levels in our 20s. However, from our mid-30s, we start to decline by about 10 per cent per decade. Should this fact worry us if the only race we do each day is for the morning train? What if we aren’t runners or endurance racers, is there then a need to monitor our VO2 Max?

Yes.

Comparing your current VO2 Max with other people around your age is a good indicator of your fitness level. If your VO2 Max is below average for your age group, it might mean that you need to start investing time in aerobic activity. A lower VO2 Max (your body processes less oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute) has been associated with a “high risk of cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality, and mortality rates attributable to various cancers” (American Heart Association, 2016).

In other words, the higher your VO2 Max, the healthier you are, the younger you feel. And don’t we all want that? The good news is that it is possible to increase our VO2 Max.

Start by measuring your VO2 Max with Spur+, Actxa’s latest fitness tracker. Build a plan for exercise with a healthy intensity (the kind where you can only talk in spurts between breaths) at least three times a week, and monitor your progress.

Slowly but surely you’ll start feeling more energetic and strong, as your body increases its ability to utilise oxygen more efficiently.