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What is optimal cardiorespiratory fitness?

Optimal cardiorespiratory fitness is having enough cardiorespiratory fitness to easily sustain you in your chosen activities and sports and have good overall cardiorespiratory health. The best overall test of cardiorespiratory fitness is the VO2 max test which is a measure of the volume of oxygen a person can consume per minute per kilogram of body weight usually noted as ml/kg/min. A for a typical healthy person a VO2 max should be around 35-40 ml/kg/min, for elite endurance athletes like marathon runners and cyclists it be as high as 75-80 ml/kg/min. If you’re interested in determining your VO2 max you can do so at an exercise science or sports medicine lab. A good rule of thumb to determine if you have optimal cardiorespiratory fitness for your chosen sport or activities are if you can perform the activity but still have reserve stores of energy if you need them. If performing the activity requires maximal exertion all the time you probably need to increase your fitness through training. 
Optimal cardiorespiratory fitness is attained when your heart can sustain more activity without reaching its max potential.  A normal resting heart rate is between 70 and 80.  The lower your resting heart rate the better.  Cardiorespiratory fitness increases stamina meaning that you will be able to do more for extended periods of time without giving out.
Increased oxygen up, endurance, lower resting heart rate, a heart rate that drops more quickly/recovers quickly, (the quicker the heart rate drops and strong the heart) and a heart rate the consistently drops to the same number, increased stamina and strength.
Kelly Traver
Internal Medicine

Optimal cardiorespiratory fitness means your body has learned to do three things:

  • Your lungs have learned to be efficient in extracting oxygen from the air and eliminating carbon dioxide waste from your body.
  • Your heart has learned to be efficient in pumping oxygen-filled blood quickly throughout the body.
  • Your muscles have learned to extract large amounts of oxygen from the blood so that large amounts of adenosine triphosphate can be created as an energy source.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.