Fitness is more than just a feeling. It is a real and measurable part of you. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Firstbeat researchers and developers, easy access to your personal fitness level is becoming increasingly common. With this information in hand, millions of people are finding their way towards healthier, happier, more productive lives.
A recent article by Wareable contributor James Stables, highlighted Garmin’s utilization of Firstbeat’s physiological analytics, tagging VO2max in fitness devices as “the hottest thing in town.” In the article, similar products from other major fitness device manufactures, many of which are also powered by Firstbeat innovation, were used to illustrate the emerging importance of VO2max fitness data to the industry. As this trend continues, 2016 and beyond may well be remembered as when fitness wearables began to reach their true potential.
This technology is new to many, but the groundwork for this revolutionary step has been carefully developed and curated by Firstbeat for well over a decade. It’s sudden breakthrough is the result of a well-timed confluence of innovation across fields of physiology, mathematics, sensors and wearable technologies.
When exercise physiologists, sports scientists and health professionals talk about fitness, they talk about VO2max. This remarkable metric, considered the gold standard of fitness assessment, describes the peak rate at which your body is able to bring oxygen into the body and transport it to the muscles, where it is used to produce energy with maximum efficiency.
By incorporating Firstbeat’s automatic VO2max detection technology fitness devices can actually report user fitness. This is a landmark achievement. Data is being placed in the context of individual physiology and transformed into highly personalized actionable information.
Putting VO2max to Work for You
At the most fundamental level, access your personal VO2max fitness level means understanding where you are today. Knowing where you are also means that you can evaluate your situation compared to recommended guidelines and importantly where your fitness level needs to be to unlock key health benefits.
It is important to remember that VO2max represents your peak capacity for effort. When your total capacity increases, routine daily activities like climbing stairs, cleaning the house, or taking care of business require a lower percentage of your potential. In other words, life just seems easier and is easier. So whether your goal is a new personal best in the marathon, or would just like have more energy to complete life’s tasks, seeing and understanding your fitness level in terms of VO2max can offer tremendous insight.
Regular access to your VO2max fitness levels also lets you see progress over time. For many this can be valuable source of motivation and validation of hard work well done. Seeing decreases in fitness level often provides a somewhat different, albeit powerful, type of motivation. Regardless, when your personal fitness is expressed in concrete terms, it becomes more manageable and can be targeted for maintenance and improvement.
Your VO2max score offers remarkable insight into what kind of exercise is right for you personally. The type of activity that was suitable for you last year, last month, or even last week can be quite different from what might benefit you most today. When your fitness level changes, so does what you should do to manage it. This is the path to reaching your true potential.
A selection of popular devices that feature Firstbeat’s VO2max calculation:
- Garmin Fenix and Forerunner series
- Jabra Sport Pulse and Elite Sport earbuds
- Microsoft Band
- Apple Watch via the Fjuul Premium app
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