What Is Oxygen Recovery?

Your body is very fond of oxygen and does whatever it can to get it. Here we look at oxygen recovery, and what it means to your body and your workout.

What is Oxygen Recovery?

Oxygen recovery is what happens when you have oxygen debt.  Your body uses oxygen to create energy. Breathing supports your day-to-day living. Sitting, working, sleeping, are all fueled by every breath you take. However, hard exercise requires even more energy. A strenuous activity, such as  running, will quickly burn up your oxygen stores resulting in oxygen debt. When your body has used up all the oxygen it had easy access to, it has to get more. This is why a workout will make you breathe heavy. Your body is grabbing for more oxygen, or ‘recovering’ it.

How Your Body Uses Oxygen

It’s not so much just air your body wants, it’s the percentage of that air that contain that very important chemical oxygen. Your blood craves it. Blood cells pick up oxygen from the millions of tiny aleoli (little bubbles) lining your lungs, and use it to fuel your entire body. In regard to exercise, oxygen is responsible for the production of ATP, a neurotransmitter which allows your muscles to function. The more demand you put on your muscles to function, the more ATP it needs.

What Happens When You Can’t Recover Oxygen?

Your body can’t function without oxygen any more than your television can function without electricity. If you can’t recover the oxygen your body has burned, your body will turn off. There are many reasons you may not be able to recover quickly. Bronchial sickness and congenital conditions of the respiratory system, such as asthma, prevent proper quantities of air from entering you lungs. Simple over-exertion might push your body to the point of not being able to bring in enough oxygen to sustain activity. In worst cases, not recovering oxygen can mean suffocation and death. However, in the case of most exercise, the consequences are dire but not fatal. Exhaustion will occur. You will lost control of your muscles, your strength will fail you, and your body will collapse. In some cases exhaustion can cause lack of consciousness. Shutting down is your body’s defense, its last ditch effort to equalize itself.

Helping Oxygen Recovery Along

To maintain a good balance of oxygen in your system, be mindful of your need for it. Make sure deep, controlled breathing is a part of your exercise routine. If you have a medical condition that impairs breathing, know your limits and have appropriate medication nearby. If you exercise to the point that your lungs burn, they are telling you they are oxygen-starved. Give them a break to catch up with you.

 Oxygen recovery is your body’s way of replenishing oxygen, the one thing it needs the most. Pay attention to your body during exercise routines, and be sure you are allowing enough air into your lungs. A lack of oxygen will impair your muscle performance and your metabolism. Remember, bad breathing means bad workouts.


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