When you are exercising, whether it is to build your strength or just for fun and fitness, the last thing you are usually concerned about are your oxygen levels.
While everyone is more focused on burning calories or building muscle, it is easy to forget how important oxygen and your blood oxygen levels are.
In fact, your blood oxygen levels can have a huge effect on how efficient your workout session is – so what are they and how can you use your blood oxygen levels to our advantage?
Today we are going to be looking at blood oxygen levels and how it affects your workout, including ways you can increase your blood oxygen levels so you can get the most out of every session at the gym.
Understanding Blood Oxygen Levels
Oxygen is required by our bodies to produce energy and without it, we would not be able to function. When we breathe it in, the red blood cells in our blood carry oxygen around our bodies, powering our cells and muscles so we can move and survive.
The more you move, the more oxygen you will need – and the higher your blood oxygen levels need to be for you to exercise successfully.
This is why it is important to keep your blood oxygen levels high when exercising because without it, you can become slower and less efficient during your workout.
Blood oxygen levels determine how much oxygen gets to your muscles and cells during your workout routine, so having a high blood oxygen level means that you are transporting more oxygen to your muscles in a shorter space of time.
Normal blood oxygen levels range from 95 to 100 percent, but this number can change during your workout.
This is because your body has to work harder to keep your blood oxygen levels up, which is why you tend to breathe harder during exercise – because your body requires more oxygen to keep you going.
Having low blood oxygen during a workout can leave you to feel out of breath, lightheaded and dizzy.
Increasing Your Blood Oxygen Levels
So when it comes to exercising, how can you help increase your blood oxygen levels when you need it the most?
There are many ways you can increase your oxygen levels, so here are just a few that are simple and easy for you to try out.
Exercise More Often
One reason why a lot of people feel sore and out of breath the first time they work out is because their blood oxygen levels dip lower during the exercise.
As a result, their body does not get the right amount of oxygen it needs – so if you have just started trying an exercise routine, the best thing you can do is to keep going.
Exercising regularly means that your body will also get into a routine. It will become more efficient at transporting oxygen around your body so the more you exercise, the easier breathing will become.
It is best to start off with short periods of exercise and slowly build yourself up as your body begins to learn how to increase your blood oxygen levels on its own.
This way, you can push yourself a little further with each workout. Fight through your workouts to get yourself in shape and your blood oxygen levels will naturally improve as you continue to work out.
Breathing is usually something we just do instinctively, meaning that we don’t think about it too often.
However, you can practice some breathing exercises and techniques outside of your workout routine to help improve your oxygen levels. Not only that, but by practicing your breathing, you can also decrease your stress levels and improve your overall well being.
There are even breathing techniques that work best with different sports and workouts so talk to a fitness advisor to find the right technique for the type of exercise you usually do.
However, when you are not exercising, it is worth trying out a breathing technique every day to help improve your blood oxygen levels.
One popular breathing exercise is practicing the diaphragmatic breathing technique – which involves sitting up straight with one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nostrils until your lungs are full. Then, exhale slowly out of the mouth.
Repeat this process for 15 minutes every day to help improve your blood oxygen levels.
Keep Hydrated And Eat Well
This may be a no-brainer but a great way to increase your blood oxygen levels is to first take care of your blood and lungs.
Oxygen is taken in by our lungs transported around our bodies by our red blood cells, so you will want to ensure that you are doing everything you can to keep good care of your organs.
The first thing you need to do is stay hydrated before, during and after your workout. Staying hydrated helps your lungs be more efficient at taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide, helping you to breathe easier.
The average amount of water you need to drink changes depending on factors like your weight, activity and body heat so just make sure you are drinking plenty of water as often as you need.
The second thing you can do is to eat better by eating foods that are rich in iron. Iron is a mineral that strengthens and improves our red blood cells, making them healthy and more efficient at carrying oxygen around our bodies.
So, try eating more foods that are rich in iron like leafy green vegetables, kale, broccoli, legumes, poultry and fish.
And those are just a few ways to help increase your blood oxygen levels!
It is important to keep your blood oxygen levels as close to 100 percent as possible during your workout as this means that your muscles will be getting all the energy they need to keep going so you can have an efficient workout session.
To help improve your blood oxygen levels, you will need to keep your body fit and healthy by exercising regularly, keeping hydrated and eating iron-rich foods to strengthen your red blood cells. You can also try some breathing exercises to make your lungs more efficient.
Do all these things regularly, and you should notice that your breathing improves during your exercise routine and your endurance increases, allowing you to push yourself harder for longer.