Any form of prolonged aerobic activity usually uses up a large volume of oxygen. Muscles, especially those from the larger muscle groups in the arms and legs, when put into the motions of a vigorous workout over a period of time, utilize as much oxygen as the body can take. This may help build up the endurance power of a person undergoing such activities. A few examples of these workouts include: cross country skiing, cycling, jogging, rowing, swimming, and even long-distance walking.
The very limit as to the volume of that oxygen intake is called aerobic capacity. In other words, this is the state where the body consumes the most oxygen during these long and energetic exercises regimens. It is also known as aerobic power, aerobic power, cardio-respiratory fitness, cardio-vascular fitness, functional capacity, maximal functional capacity, maximal oxygen intake, or maximal oxygen uptake. There are several important factors that have an effect on it. Some of them include:
- Genetics. According to studies, there are some people who can be trained to improve their capacity through a gradually increasing exercise regimen. These people are called high-responders. And then there are some people who are genetically born to have low responding aerobic capacity. Low responders are genetically pre-possessed to have an aerobic capacity that plateaus at a certain level, and no amount of training can increase that. The best way of knowing a whether a person is a high-responder or a low-responder is through a test called VO2 max test, where the person undergoes exercise pacing, from walking to running on a increasing speed using a treadmill. Breathing is monitored by a respirometer.
- Current state of health of a person. Another of the more important factors that have an effect on it is the person’s current state of health. Incredibly, some seemingly fit people forego regular check-ups thinking that they do not need them. Unfortunately, there may be some underlying medical conditions that do not exhibit symptoms… as of yet. People with lung or heart conditions or any ailment affecting the cardiovascular system are likely to have lower capacity. Age also dictates the current state of a person. People with advanced ages usually have lower capacity.
- Current state of daily physical activity of the person. This largely depends on the lifestyle of the person in question. Even seemingly active people who do regular exercises and who watch their diets may have lower aerobic capacity than seemingly sedentary people who may not exercise regularly or subscribe to any diet plan, but is almost on a dynamic mode 16 to 20 hours a day.
- Training is one of the most important factors that have an effect on it. If a person undergoes regular training to increase it, then there is great probability that the intake of oxygen will be maximized as it should. Training, however, should be done gradually and under the supervision of a professional coach. Safety is always a concern since the cardiovascular system, like all muscle groups in the body, takes time strengthen.