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Daniela DeFeo is a certified health coach, published author, lifestyle/fitness model and wellness brand ambassador. She encourages a holistic approach to wellness by advocating the importance of health, fitness, nutrition, self-care and sustainable living.
Amplify your workouts with the body’s main life-giving element – oxygen.
The primary function of oxygen is to provide the body with energy. Understanding blood oxygen levels is essential in energizing your workouts and performing at maximum potential. If you’re feeling fatigued or experiencing muscle soreness and pain – during or after your session, poor oxygenated blood could be the culprit.
Below are a few tips to help stimulate your training with oxygenized intent:
Keep your bottle topped up with H2O to efficiently transport oxygen to fuel your workouts. Since our bodies can’t store water, it is crucial to replenish, especially when perspiring during physical activity. As the main conduit in transporting nutrients to feed muscles, water carries oxygen to assist in regulating body temperature, lubricating joints and removing waste bi-products, which helps to decrease recovery time. Stay hydrated with Mother Nature’s purest source, H2O, to ensure your blood is receiving the oxygen it needs.
Breathe in deeply to amplify oxygen production. Insufficient breathing patterns may cause a feeling of dizziness, gasping for air and even muscle failure, resulting in a sluggish workout. Focus on nose breathing to create nitric oxide, the body’s natural vasodilator, which helps to dilate blood vessels in the lungs and increase oxygen intake to muscles and organs. Refrain from heavy mouth breathing, as this causes a loss of carbon dioxide, an essential component to how oxygen is released from red blood cells. Lastly, do not hold your breath when exercising - remember to breath! Maintain steady breathing to effectively deliver oxygen throughout the body. Exhale on exertion, inhale on relaxation.
Consume nutrient-dense foods to support healthy oxygen levels in the blood. Phytonutrients found in plant foods have anti-inflammatory benefits, which fortify the immune system and oxygenate the blood. Consider eating antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, papaya, kale, collard greens, as they may help to defuse free radicals that cause inflammation and promote cellular repair. Mineral-rich foods are directly involved in blood cell formation and assist with transport, delivery of oxygen. Consume heme-iron sources from animal products like beef and organ meats, and similarly, non-heme iron foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains.
Lastly, enjoy nitrate-rich foods. Celery, beets, spinach and arugula are high in nitrates; once consumed they are converted to nitric oxide, which stimulates oxygen production.
Insufficient blood-oxygen levels may impede your fitness goals. With a few purposeful inclusions through hydration, diet and proper breathing techniques, you can boost your body’s ability to build and sustain optimal oxygen levels, fueling an energized workout.References: 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10484540 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28100284 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26024545 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/ 5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/sy... 6. https://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/hypoxia-hypoxemia 7. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/why-is-water-important#... 8. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-do-we-breathe/