What Causes Oxygen Levels to Drop During Exercise? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Causes Oxygen Levels to Drop During Exercise?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Lower oxygen levels are caused by the muscles expending energy during workouts.
  • More oxygen is essential during exercise.
  • There is no way to keep your oxygen levels from dropping during exercise.
  • The best way to get oxygen is from the air around you.

When you exercise you may notice that it becomes more difficult to breathe. That is because your oxygen levels drop during exercise. This is caused by your muscles expending energy during your workout, and it is your body’s natural defense mechanism to give your body what it needs.

Just like yawning is a way for your body to get more oxygen, so is breathing hard during exercise. You do not do this consciously; your body simply does it automatically for you. As you exercise your muscles use energy and excrete carbon dioxide. Your heart then pumps more oxygen to your muscles via your blood and in the process picks up the carbon dioxide for disposal.

As you continue to exercise and as your fitness progresses, you may find that the exercises that used to make you breathe heavily do not cause the same level of breathing difficulty. To stay on track with your workouts and to track your progress, sign up for a PRO account today!

What Is the Purpose of Oxygen During Exercise?

To dispel a myth, oxygen is not needed to breathe. Breathing is our way to get oxygen. The purpose of oxygen is to produce water and energy (cell respiration) in order to keep our bodies alive.

Unlike the energy we get from food, oxygen provides us with the energy we need to use the raw materials in our body.

The reason we need more oxygen during exercise is that when we work out we expend more energy. This causes our oxygen levels to drop during exercise, forcing us to breathe harder in order to get more oxygen.

Does More Oxygen Give Me a Better Workout During Exercise?

More oxygen is essential during exercise. If you do not get enough oxygen during exercise then you will not be able to continue with your routine.

Low oxygen levels can cause you to feel listless. Oxygen deficiency is the cause of many ailments because without enough oxygen your cells cannot be cleansed from toxins. Furthermore, a lack of sufficient oxygen can lower your immunity levels.

The more oxygen you have, the healthier you will be. As you exercise, an increase in oxygen is even more critical so that you can restore what you are depleting.

You can get a better workout during exercise if you have more oxygen because you will be able to continue exercising, which strengthens all of your muscles, including your heart. If you have difficulty breathing during exercise then you are probably not getting sufficient amounts of oxygen.

When you exercise vigorously you may find it harder to breathe and at very intense levels of your workout, you may not even be able to hold a conversation. Short bursts of this type of intensity are acceptable provided you are able to breathe enough to get sufficient oxygen.

If you are unable to catch your breath then you are in potential danger. You may need to slow down and seek medical attention so that you can get the oxygen that your body needs.

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Can You Boost Your Oxygen Before Exercising to Keep the Levels From Dropping?

There is no way to keep your oxygen levels from dropping during exercise. If you are exercising correctly then your oxygen levels should automatically drop. This is a healthy response to how your body operates.

However, there are ways to boost your oxygen level before and after exercise. Although oxygen is found all around us, it is becoming scarcer as the rain forests are dwindling and as pollution is growing.

Oxygen supplements are available in a couple of different forms. Oxygen has been medically available since the 1700s, but it is only recently that oxygen is becoming a supplemental trend.

Nightclubs offer oxygen bars to give their customers “fresh air” and now you can buy oxygen in a can. Some canned oxygen is even available in a variety of flavors, such as Tropical Breeze. Oxygen tinctures are also available in liquid formats that you can add to water or juice.

Although oxygen supplements are being touted as pure air or clean air, they may not be the best thing for you. Some people definitely need to consult with a physician prior to using oxygen supplements, such as anyone with a lung disorder.

Athletes use oxygen supplements to increase their endurance and boost their performance. Since oxygen is a natural source of energy, it is usually accepted as a sports enhancer.

The best way to get oxygen is from the air around you. Although oxygen levels are being depleted, there are still a lot of natural resources for it. You can always increase the oxygen levels in your home by adding plants and trees to your environment.

Another way to get a sufficient amount of oxygen is to exercise regularly. Exercising in general causes your body to function better. This will strengthen your heart, increase your blood flow, and help you breathe more efficiently.

Finding the right exercise routine is important along with making sure you are supplementing safely and accordingly. Check out our Pro Annual Plan today to see how we can help you stay motivated, focused, and fit all year long!

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