Why Do Bikers Need Oxygen?

Fitness is evaluated in terms of VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can take in during intense or maximal exercise: Your body needs to ingest a lot of oxygen when engaging in physical exercise like riding a bike, especially if you want to ride far or quickly. The longer and quicker you can bike without getting tired, the more oxygen you can circulate to burn fat and keep your aerobic energy production going.

According to Paul W. Davenport, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the Department of Physiological Sciences at the University of Florida, who specializes in researching the respiratory response to exercise, “VO2 is a function of how well you can breathe. This brings up the subject of the function of the lungs.


Your lungs act as fleshy bladders for hydration packs that expand when you breathe. The main tasks of these organelles are to take in oxygen-rich air and release carbon dioxide waste produced by your cells. The tiny, grape-like sacs that line your lungs, called alveoli, are where that gas exchange occurs.

Your lungs and alveoli draw air into them as you begin to ride, and as you do, they expand like a tire being pumped. Low oxygen blood travels into the lungs, where carbon dioxide is expelled in exchange for new oxygen before returning to the heart to be pumped into your muscles.

You breathe more deeply.

Your muscles’ energy-producing mitochondria require more oxygen. At the same time, you ride, especially when you go faster—like hammering a paceline or ascending a hill—so you have to draw more from your lungs. As a result of increased stroke volume and heart rate, more blood is pumped through the lungs. To expand and enlarge your alveoli and increase the amount of oxygen exchanged with each breath, you not only breathe more quickly but also deeper.


According to Davenport, your alveoli widen and expand when you take deeper breaths, but there is a cost. Similar to pumping up a tire, “it’s more labor and requires more of your body’s energy” Your bike tires can be inflated to the lower end of their suggested pressure range rather easily. Still, as you get closer to the upper limits, it becomes more difficult to pump in each pound.

Your body works with your expiratory muscles, particularly your abdominals, to blow out more air quickly so you may inhale more air more quickly.

Davenport states, “normally, you sit at a baseline halfway, where you still have some air in your lungs when you exhale—your expiratory reserve.” “You use a portion of that expiratory reserve when you exercise and blow out more than you would at rest.”

Your dial brings in more air.

Your lungs are small and deflated after aggressively exhaling while using some of your expiratory reserves, giving you greater room to fill with the oxygen-rich air your working muscles require. Your intercostals, or the muscles between your ribs, and diaphragm, a narrow muscle with a parachute shape near the base of your lungs, are responsible for performing that function.


You must switch the input from the two little holes in your face—which can only open up so far—to the one that can gape wide open for maximal oxygen intake when your requirement for oxygen rises.

The issue is that your filtering system is lost when you convert from nose to mouth breathing.

According to Davenport, your nose heats, humidifies and filters the air. Because your mouth lacks the same fine-hair filtration system as your nose, it allows many more microscopic particles to enter that would otherwise be filtered out. Because of this, some off-road bikers would cover their mouths with a bandana or Buff during particularly dusty sections of the ride.


Do you know that “racer cough” you occasionally get after working hard? If exercise-induced asthma isn’t the cause, your lungs are probably merely cleansing themselves.

“Somethings that would normally come out of your airway more slowly at rest can be blown out of your airway when you’re blowing out air quickly,” adds Davenport. A cough is brought on when debris enters the trachea and needs to be expelled. Naturally, you’ll have more junk (and accumulated mucous surrounding it) to release if you’ve been sucking in more debris than usual due to taking deep breaths through your mouth.


Your respiratory muscles are stronger than if you didn’t ride or work out. Researchers observed that 12 weeks of high-intensity interval training could produce modest but significant changes in the abdominal expiratory muscles and the diaphragm. The study was published in Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology.

According to Davenport, you can target these muscles with targeted training for more quantifiable benefits. You can strengthen your inspiratory and expiratory muscles by adding resistance using devices like PowerLung. Researchers from Switzerland discovered that respiratory muscle training increased endurance in tests to exhaustion, including those who were less fit to begin with, and those who take part in ultra-endurance events. Their analysis of respiratory training trials was published in Sports Medicine.

On a bike, improved breathing techniques


It’s mindless to breathe in and out of your body. But could there be improvements with a little more effort?

Riding relies much on oxygen. Your metabolic rate rises when you pedal, and ATP, a naturally occurring energy source, is needed to keep it going. Since oxygen is needed for ATP to function, the harder you pedal, the more oxygen you’ll need. You consequently find yourself gasping for air. So what can you do to increase the effectiveness of oxygen delivery to your muscles?

Your lungs: Information
Let’s start with the negative news. No matter how hard you train, you cannot create larger lungs. And your height and gender both affect how big your lungs can get.

Men’s lungs are larger than women’s, and taller people often have larger lungs than toddlers. A biker in his 80s has only about half the lung capacity of one in his 20s since lung capacity likewise declines with age.

But regardless of your age, it’s likely that you’re only using a small portion of your lungs’ capacity. This is fantastic news since it implies that you will perform better using them more effectively. But first, let’s take a quick look at your lungs and how they function:

Your diaphragm contracts during inhalation, expanding the lungs. Your intercostal (rib) muscles also aid chest expansion, lowering pulmonary air pressure and increases air intake.
Your intercostals, diaphragm, and lungs all relax as you exhale. When you’re breathing heavily, your abs will assist aid this process.

Inhale deeply.

Making sure you’re breathing as deeply as possible while riding a bike is essential for optimal breathing. Don’t sip the air; instead, take deep breaths.

By doing so, you’ll start maximizing your body’s ability to process oxygen and utilize more of your lung capacity. When you attain your peak of aerobic fitness, which is different for everyone, you will have reached your VO2Max. Your body can only consume this much oxygen in a minute.

It varies from person to person and is expressed in milliliters per kilogram of bodyweight. While committed bikers can reach peaks of approximately 60, levels for the majority of couch surfers hover around 35.

In contrast, exceptional athletes achieve greater heights. For instance, Chris Froome, the Tour de France champion from the previous year, measured an insane 84.6.

Check the location of your bike.

As we’ve seen, breathing effectively when riding a bike largely depends on the movement of the diaphragm, so make the most of it.

This can be challenging, especially if you’re crouching over the bars. Going low on the bike removes room from your diaphragm, so if time trials are your thing, you’ll need to strike a balance between being aero and providing adequate oxygen to your body.

So try out several postures over a predetermined course to see which suits you the best. Naturally, sportive bikers have fewer issues with their bike position because they usually ride with a more upright stance.

Inhale through your stomach.

Focus on breathing from your stomach rather than your lungs if you want to use your diaphragm as effectively as possible. To ensure you’re doing it correctly, place your hand on your upper abdomen and feel to see whether it expands when you inhale. You’ll know you’ve nailed it when you experience this and notice your chest raise.

Try enlarging

Alexi Grewal, the first American to win gold in the road race at the 1984 Olympics, credited this strategy, first developed by US ride guru Ian Jackson, for his success.

It functions by emphasizing the exhalation, or as Jackson once said, “Try pushing the air out then letting it back in, instead of just sucking the air in and letting it out.”

The University of Toledo eventually tested Jackson’s method, and it was found that bikers employed it had a 17% increase in aerobic capacity.

Mouth-nose breathing

According to research, breathing through your mouth releases more oxygen than breathing out via the smaller aperture of your nostrils, which is slower and offers your lungs more time to absorb as much o2 as possible from each breath.

The advantage you get only amounts to a few nanoseconds in actuality, but better a nanosecond won than one lost.

The Ultimate Biking Guide: How to Maintain Energy While riding


Take in the Views and ride While Paying Attention.

How to Maintain Energy While riding With Oxygen Plus (O+), saddle up for a fun ride as you prepare for any long- or short-distance bike journey. You don’t want to waste your precious biking time by being overly exhausted. You’ll be able to take in the landscape while riding securely if you’re energized and attentive on your biking excursions. During, before, or after your ride, you can breathe Oxygen Plus. Before and during your bike, take a few hits for energy; after your ride, take a few more breaths to hasten your recovery. Athletes have long used supplemental oxygen to lessen muscular tiredness (Wilbur). O+ oxygen canisters are incredibly lightweight while. Packed with oxygen is another advantage of this all-natural energy and recovery tool. Therefore, Oxygen Plus is the ideal performance-enhancing gear for serious bikers who care about enhancing performance while maintaining a small bike burden.

Quick Tips to Stay Energized While riding, Improve performance, boost stamina and endurance, and shorten recovery times between rides by carrying a canister of O+ recreational oxygen, like the O+ Skinni.
Avoid drinking anything with sugar or caffeine before riding because you can slow down and crash before you get there.
To keep the body and mind energized, carry lots of water and high-protein snacks like nuts or protein bars.
When training, try to prioritize your terrain based on your energy level. If at all feasible, start your ride with those uphill sections before you get tired.

Mountain Biking: Remaining Vigilant

A canister of pure recreational oxygen from Oxygen Plus should be considered while preparing for a long high-altitude bike. This portable pick-me-up gives you the energizing energy your body might lack at greater elevations so you can avoid the effects of higher elevation and enjoy the summit. A long, intense ride can drain your energy in addition to the height. At that point, Oxygen Plus steps in to help. By removing extra lactic acid from your system, breathing O+ oxygen gives you energy and hastens the recovery of your muscles. Olympic athletes from the United States employ oxygen and high-altitude training to lengthen workouts and enhance performance (Wilbur). Do you have any oxygen?

Before hitting the road or path, be mentally clear and energized.

When exhausted, bikers have a reduced reaction time, which can lead to accidents.
Therefore, to ensure a clear, focused, and safe voyage, get enough sleep, eat a nutritious diet, and bring your side-effect-free oxygen boost.

People Also Ask:

Does riding a bike help your lungs?

Riding can expand your lung capacity—you won’t believe it. Riding increases your rate of breathing, which results in more oxygen reaching your lungs. Your lung health and strength are enhanced by it.

Why do I get out of breath when I ride my bike?

Activity-induced asthma is a lung airway constriction condition brought on by vigorous exercise. It results in wheezing, coughing, and other symptoms during or after exercise. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction is the chosen name for this condition (brong-Koh-Kun-STRIK-shun).

Is biking good for blood flow?

Your heart, lungs, and circulation are stimulated and improved by regular riding, which lowers your risk of cardiovascular disorders. Riding helps your cardiac muscles become stronger, lowers your resting pulse, and lowers fat blood levels.