Exercise and Oxygen Deficit vs. Oxygen Debt | Oxygen Plus (O+)

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Exercise and Oxygen Deficit vs. Oxygen Debt

April 04, 2018 5 min read

Exercise and Oxygen Deficit vs. Oxygen Debt

Have you ever wondered why you get out of breath when climbing stairs, despite being healthy and exercising regularly? Let's explore how oxygen functions in the body during exercise, specifically in terms of oxygen deficit and oxygen debt. Additionally, let's consider the potential benefits of using Oxygen Plus (O+) pure recreational oxygen, which is known to help enhance energy and recovery for active, wellness-minded individuals.

The role of oxygen in the body during exercise can be understood in terms of time, as shown in the graph on the right. Oxygen deficit occurs during exercise, followed by oxygen debt at the end of the exercise.

Before we examine the ways in which handheld Oxygen Plus "sports oxygen" can assist in meeting the body's oxygen needs, let's first explore these two processes and their impact on the human body during physical activity.

What Is an Oxygen Deficit?​

An oxygen deficit occurs when the body needs more oxygen than that which is immediately available to produce energy. This means that the body is not getting enough oxygen from breathing and must find another way to make up the difference.

As we exercise, our bodies use oxygen to create energy for movement. This process is known as respiration. During exercise, our bodies require more oxygen than when at rest. This extra oxygen requirement is referred to as an oxygen deficit.

Oxygen deficit occurs naturally during strenuous exercise. When exercise triggers an oxygen deficit, the body will work to replenish oxygen levels during what is known as a recovery period. During this recovery period, oxygen consumption increases.

For example, in an hour, an average person needs 1.5 liters of oxygen to perform a physical function, if this person inhales 1.0 liters, then the oxygen deficit is 0.5 liters/hour. The accumulation of the deficit during a total exercise of four hours would be an oxygen debt of 2.0 liters (4 hours x 0.5 liters per hour).

Other conditions beyond strenuous exercise can produce oxygen deficit. Environmental conditions, such as higher altitudes or airborne contaminants in polluted air, can trigger an oxygen deficiency. 

What Is an Oxygen Debt?

Oxygen debt is the amount of extra oxygen required by muscle tissue during recovery from vigorous exercise, when the body breaks down stored carbohydrates in the form of glucose to create energy. This process is known as anaerobic respiration. 

The body compensates for oxygen deficits by creating a reserve of energy known as an “oxygen debt.” The debt can be measured as the difference between the amount of oxygen required after strong muscular activity and the amount required in a resting state.

The benefits of oxygen debt are numerous, including increased muscle strength and endurance. It also helps us cope with more intense physical activities. Oxygen debt can help improve cardiorespiratory capacity and reduce fatigue during and after exercise.

Oxygen Deficit vs Oxygen Debt

oxygen deficit vs oxygen debt

Oxygen deficit and oxygen debt go hand in hand. When an oxygen deficit occurs, an oxygen debt will automatically take place, as well. 

During oxygen debt, our bodies work to replenish the oxygen stored in our muscles, and to remove waste products such as lactic acid that were produced during exercise. Usually, the oxygen debt is larger than the oxygen deficit, and that’s why we might breathe more heavily after vigorous exercise: We need to replenish our deficit.

What Happens to the Body During Exercise?

When we exercise, our bodies produce energy through both aerobic and anaerobic respiration. Aerobic respiration occurs when the body has enough oxygen to perform work. During aerobic respiration, oxygen is used to break down carbohydrates and fats into energy. Anaerobic respiration occurs when the body does not have enough oxygen to perform work. In this case, glucose is broken down without the presence of oxygen to create energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

The body produces lactic acid during anaerobic respiration, which can lead to fatigue and muscle soreness. It can also result in oxygen debt, the amount of oxygen needed to repay the energy used during exercise. Oxygen debt is repaid by breathing deeper and faster when we recover from activity, allowing more oxygen to enter our systems. This helps us recover more quickly and reduces the risk of fatigue and soreness.

How Does Exercise Affect Cellular Respiration?

Cellular respiration is the process by which cells break down the food they consume and convert it into energy that can be used for various bodily functions. This happens through either aerobic or anaerobic respiration, depending on the type of exercise being performed.

When engaging in aerobic activity, such as jogging, the body uses oxygen in order to produce energy. During aerobic activity, oxygen is taken in by the cells and used as fuel for the process. As a result, oxygen is consumed and carbon dioxide is produced as a byproduct.

Anaerobic activity on the other hand does not require oxygen to produce energy; instead, glucose is broken down without the need of oxygen. During anaerobic activity, lactic acid is produced as a byproduct, which can lead to muscle fatigue and soreness.

When engaging in exercise, there is a period of time where the body is in an oxygen deficit. Here, the body has consumed more oxygen than it is able to produce, resulting in a temporary decline in performance. However, if exercise continues and the body is able to replenish its oxygen levels, then an oxygen debt is created. This essentially means that the body has used more oxygen than it was previously taking in. Eventually this additional oxygen will be used up and the body will return to its normal healthy oxygen levels.

How Can Supplemental Oxygen Help? 

enhance your recovery with oxygen plus

Breathing supplemental oxygen, like Oxygen Plus, can optimize athletic performance by replacing depleted oxygen levels to normal, healthy levels. Offering pure recreational oxygen in a portable canister, inhaling Oxygen Plus can help with both oxygen deficit and oxygen debt during vigorous exercise. 

Oxygen Deficit

Breathing Oxygen Plus before, during and after a workout, can help decrease the oxygen deficit (or improve the efficiency of dynamic oxygen deficit) during exercise. Inhaling oxygen can help our bodies get more oxygen into our cells faster, reducing the amount of energy needed to repay the debt, leaving you more energized. This is especially beneficial during intense activities such as sprints or weightlifting. 

Oxygen Debt

Breathing O+ recreational oxygen can also help improve performance and recovery time, allowing us to get the most out of our workouts. An improved efficiency of the oxygen deficit translates into enhanced performance and endurance. By decreasing the amount of oxygen deficit, by inhaling pure oxygen before and during your workout, the oxygen debt is increased afterwards, allowing for improved recovery time.

Breathing “sports oxygen,” such as Oxygen Plus, before, during and after a workout can help you go farther, perform better and feel more like you again. Pick up a 6-pack of the O+ Biggi today and take some deep breaths as part of your workout routine. The active ingredient in Oxygen Plus is 99.5% pure recreational oxygen, which is more than five times the amount of oxygen found in unpolluted everyday air. Available in a handheld, portable oxygen can, Oxygen Plus goes where you go, and even slips into your gym bag, for those hard-hitting workouts.


Oxygen Plus (O+) products, which contain pure recreational oxygen, are intended for recreational, intermittent use only, not to be used as medical nor life-saving products. Prolonged use is defined as uninterrupted intake for more than 8 hours. Any person with any type of health or medical condition should consult their physician prior to the use of O+ products. Since O+ is not a medical product or intended for medical use, it is neither regulated nor approved by the FDA. 

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