Aerobic Capacity

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  • Aerobic Capacity
    • Definition
      • The ability of the body to inspire, transport and utilise oxygen to perform sustained periods of aerobic activity
        • It's dependent on efficiency of respiratory, cardiovascular and muscular systems, it underpins all endurance based work, e.g. long-distance running/swimming/cycling.
    • VO?max.
      • Max. volume of oxygen inspired, transported and utilised per minute during exhaustive exercise.
        • Measured in ml/kg/min, the higher the % attained before fatigue sets in, the higher the aerobic capacity.
    • Affecting factors
      • Physiological make-up
        • The greater the efficiency of the respiratory and cardiovascular system and muscle cells to inspire, transport and utilise oxygen, the higher the VO?max.
          • Strong respiratory muscles and large lung capacities can inspire more air, a large & strong left ventricle will increase SV & CO, raising blood flow.
          • Increased haemoglobin content in blood will transport more oxygen for aerobic energy production.
          • Capillarisation will increase SA for gas exchange. A high % of SO fibres rich in myoglobin and mitochondria produce more energy aerobically.
      • Age
        • Early 20s- VO?max. drops approx. 1% per year.
          • Lost elasticity in tissue walls with age reduces efficiency to inspire and transport oxygen.
      • Gender
        • Females tend to have a 15-30% lower VO?max. than males.
          • Females have a higher % of body fat, smaller lung volumes, SV and CO at maximal work and lower haemoglobin levels, reducing efficiency to inspire and transport oxygen for aerobic energy production.
      • Training
        • Aerobic training will increase VO?max. by 10-20%.
          • Causes increased strength of respiratory muscles, levels of haemoglobin, myoglobin and mitochondria, which increases efficiency to inspire, transport and utilise oxygen.


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