Mireille's Journey To Health


Saturday Study Recap: Poor Oxygen-Carrying Can Make Exercise Difficult

BooksIt’s been a rough week for my blog.  I tried to make some small changes to my menu, and ended up making it a giant mess!  When I say giant mess, I mean it was enormous.  I’ve worked on it for 3 days and it’s still not quite right.  At least at this point it is functional.  Hopefully, soon it will be just right.

I’ve continued in my studies this week.  I’m looking forward to my boys starting school in just two days, in hopes I can study at a faster rate, with fewer interruptions.  Anyhow, I want to share with you a little bit about your body’s ability to take in and transport oxygen and things that can make it difficult.  I’ll keep it short, so as to not get too technical, but I think you’ll find it interesting.

When you’re huffing and puffing through a workout, you’re probably thinking about oxygen as just a means of breathing in and breathing out, and how it becomes difficult to fill your lungs up when you’re working out intensely.  There’s actually a lot more going on inside your body.  It’s trying to take in oxygen and get it everywhere it needs to go.

There’s two things that can really impact it’s ability to do so.  First, the alveoli, responsible for exchanging CO2 for oxygen need to be able to keep up with the added stress of exchanging these gases more quickly.  The poor alveoli use the same tubes to take oxygen in as they do to filter CO2 out.  If you’re huffing and puffing, and not getting in a proper amount of oxygen, CO2 can build up and the blind alveoli can mistakenly transport CO2 back into the capillaries.  Not a good thing.

Most people can exercise without respiratory troubles holding them back.  However, people who suffer from emphysema (degraded alveoli) or asthma (constricted airways) have a harder time getting air into their lungs, through the alveoli, and into their blood.  When an individuals blood passes through the lungs and doesn’t get all off the oxygen replenishment it needed, it can make physical exercise very difficult and sometimes dangerous.  The brain can sense elevated levels of CO2 in the blood and it sends out signals so that the exerciser feels an urgent need to stop exercising.

Your blood’s hemoglobin concentration also impacts your body’s ability to get oxygen moved around your body as needed during exercise.  Your hemoglobin is a protein in your blood that oxygen is able to latch onto.  Once you breathe in oxygen, it goes through your lungs, through the alveoli, and latches onto the hemoglobin in your blood.  From there it can travel, in your blood, all over your body.  Well, if you happen to be anemic (low hemoglobin) , then your blood can’t carry as much oxygen.  Those with anemia tend to fatigue quickly.

If you’re healthy, getting oxygen in, and throughout your body is probably not a concern.  You probably don’t have to think much about it.  For those individuals who’s body’s have a difficult time taking in oxygen and transporting it through their blood, exercise can be very difficult.  For those individuals, it’s important to listen to your body and lower your intensity, as needed.  Also, if you have a trainer, or if you attend fitness classes, these are things you need to make your trainer, and/or instructor aware of.


4 comments on “Saturday Study Recap: Poor Oxygen-Carrying Can Make Exercise Difficult

  1. ranu802
    August 23, 2015

    Dear Mireille,
    Thank you for this wonderful post about oxygen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mireillesjourneytohealth
      August 23, 2015

      Thank you! There is so much interesting information in this certification program. It’s always tough to decide what to share.


  2. Colette B
    August 23, 2015

    Interesting post and oxygen uptake and transportation is something I’ve been thinking about. As an M.E. sufferer my inability to excercise and easy exhaustion isn’t covered in your post -I don’t expect it would be 🙂
    I don’t have respiratory problems. I’m not anaemic yet have too few red blood cells, they’re mishapen and sticky. When I’ve been awake all night my legs feel better than when I’ve slept… exertional attempts might be fine on the day, not too bad the next day, worsening the second day and almosr crippled by day 3&4…oxygen definitely plays a part in my medical condition but UK’s NHS still fail to provide remedial healthcare to allow some health improvement… Great post, enjoyed reading 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mireillesjourneytohealth
      August 23, 2015

      That is very interesting! I’ve read a little bit about M.E. I believe in mild cases, you’re able to function, but may need to take days off periodically. In more severe cases, it takes all of your energy just to do simple tasks like brushing your teeth. From what I understand, there’s not a lot of known information has to how or what causes it, or the best way to treat it. Best wishes to you and I hope that you are able to find some relief.


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This entry was posted on August 22, 2015 by in Study Recap and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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