When your lungs are bursting and your heart’s pounding and your muscles are burning, they’re all crying out for one thing and it’s not caffeine, it’s not glucose, it’s not a bowl of pasta – your body is craving Oxygen.
It’s a scientific fact that Oxygen is almost always the limiting factor in athletic performance. The more effectively you can deliver Oxygen to your muscles, the better they can handle physical exertion.
There are four basic things you need to know about Oxygen’s role in helping you perform to the best of your ability:
Oxygen combines with glucose to create ATP, the main energy source for your muscles. The more ATP your body creates, the more powerful and explosive your muscles will be.
When your muscles don’t receive enough oxygen to support their exertion they begin to produce lactic acid which can cause muscle fatigue and failure. The more Oxygen your muscles receive, the slower the production of lactic acid and the slower the rate of muscle fatigue, which results in greater endurance.
Oxygen is needed by your body to break down lactic acid after exercise. So the more Oxygen you provide your body post exercise the faster your muscles can recover.
The brain uses up around 20% of the Oxygen we breathe. This Oxygen enables us to carry out complex tasks such as thinking and decision-making. Many sports require continuous focus, a high level of co-ordination & accuracy, and fast response. But when we get fatigued it’s because our Oxygen resources have been depleted and we become prone to fuzzy thinking, slower reactions, and errors. At high speeds this can be a matter of life and death, which underlines the importance of keeping your body well-oxygenated.