Reduced Injury Risk According to data reported in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine , athletes with an in-season injury or illness had lower VO2 max than their non-injured counterparts. As VO2 max is one of themost reliablemeasures of aerobic fitness and endurance, these findings indicate that greater endurance correlates with reduced injury risk. It is suggested that athletes train to improve endurance in the off-season, even if their main sport doesn’t necessarily require it. We know endurance is important for athletes, but what about non-athletes? When professionals evaluated the health and injury of employees in the fire service, they found that their relative aerobic fitness coordinated with injury risk. Those in the lower categories of VO2 max weremore than twice as likely to get hurt compared to fitter employees. The same result was found in army trainees. Using the army fitness test (push-ups, sit ups, and running) rather than flat-out VO2 max , researchers were able to show that bothmen andwomenwith low endurance levels aremore likely to be injured. Increased Athletic Performance Finally, we have the obvious benefit of endurance training—high performance in endurance sports. Research shows that gradually increasing the length of sustained intensity in training can improve VO2 max . While this measure confirms greater aerobic fitness, it doesn’t always mean you’ll win a race. Fitter people lose races all the time to those who havemore determination and better preparation, among other factors. So, what can endurance athletes do? Work on their craft! Simply training to reflect the actual competitive environment canmimic the stressors you’ll feel on race day. Alsomimicking pre-competition rituals, such as your pre-racemeal, sleep schedule, andmindset, can be helpful.
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