Why do NFL Football Players Breathe Oxygen on the Sideline? - Oxygen Plus

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Why NFL Football Players Breathe Oxygen on the Sidelines

December 31, 2017 5 min read

Why NFL Football Players Breathe Oxygen on the Sidelines

Alenni Nemitz and Lauren Carlstrom, O+ Team Members |

If you’ve ever watched a professional football game such as the National Football League (NFL), you might have seen the players using an oxygen mask on the sidelines between plays. Oxygen contributes to muscle performance on and off the field. Football players have long recognized that oxygen is valuable for athletic endurance. When you understand why they are using oxygen, you will see how beneficial it is for you to use in yourexercise and workout regimen.


How Muscles Create Energy

Athletic performance depends on oxygen. When you inhale (even regular, ambient) air, oxygen is carried to the muscles through the blood stream. Part of the oxygen is used immediately, while part of it is stored in your body to break down glucose and create fuel for the muscles in what is called ATP energy, which fuels your body for an intense workout.

Game Day Performance

On game day, the intense performance of an athlete increases the demand for oxygen. Breathing and heart rates increase to supply that demand. Muscles that don’t get oxygen fast enough convert glucose into lactic acid instead of energy, which causes muscle fatigue. In a nutshell, allowing too much lactic acid to build up during exercise ultimately causes the body to expend more energy than it would have if the body had just taken in enough oxygen in the first place so it could convert ample glucose into energy. The energy needed to convert lactic acid back into glucose virtually negates the energy that the body gained from glucose breakdown and lactic acid fermentation in the liver.

This energy process in the body is why supplementing with pure oxygen during a game or a highly-intensive activity helps an athlete increase performance and endurance. Similarly, breathing supplemental canned oxygen like Oxygen Plus (O+) also aids in the recovery process once the game is over. That’s why breathing portable oxygen – like Oxygen Plus – is a true game changer. More oxygen, translates into more energy and faster recovery.

Oxygen For the Recovery Process

High-level athletes also use portable oxygen after a game or training session – during their recovery process. Oxygen helps the liver break down lactic acid through cool downs, which get more oxygen into the body after intense exercise, where it can expedite the recovery process. You may not have the same oxygen demand as an NFL football player, but the more oxygen you have in your system before, during and after exercise, the better you will perform and recover. That’s just the science of oxygen – and how Oxygen Plus works in the body.


Oxygen For Focus and Mental Clarity

In addition to the physical benefits of oxygen, the mental focus and clarity for the brain can help elite athletes, and athletic people, in team and individual sports. Unlike your body, your brain cannot store oxygen: It needs a steady flow of air (which is 21% oxygen) to operate at its peak. Add Oxygen Plus to the mix, and it’s like taking four or five deep breaths with one breath when you’re breathing pure recreational oxygen. As explained in more detail on our Oxygen Research page, "oxygen deficiency can decrease your alertness, memory and judgment.”

It's Oxygen Plus to the Rescue

If you’re not sure how much O+ oxygen to breathe, we suggest using a non-invasive portable device to read your own oxygen levels, like the iHealth Pulse Oximeter, until you begin to recognize the signs of being in an oxygen debt (“desaturated”). You can also refer to our O+ Uses Guide to gain a better understanding of how the amount of oxygen required for optimal performance and recovery may vary based on your activity.

Oxygen Plus canisters are portable for convenient use during training and games – whether you’re a pro on the sidelines of the NFL or a youthful dad in a hockey league. We challenge you to incorporate recreational oxygen into your routine and see how much better you perform and recover. Contact us for more information about recreational oxygen and how it can help you reach your athletic goals. So what are you waiting for? Do what the pros do, and give our tried and tested techniques a go.

Psst…below are some more O+ Usage tips for the pros...


The Athlete’s Guide to Using Oxygen Plus™

When to use Oxygen Plus:

  • Before and during any strength training (weights, plyos or circuit training)
  • Before and during any sprint interval training (run or bike)
  • Before and during cardio training IF THE GOAL IS CUTTING WEIGHT
  • After EVERY tough workout for recovery
  • Before and during EVERY competitive performance

When NOT to use Oxygen Plus:


Factors to keep in mind:

  • Muscles respond to stimulus.The harder you train, the faster they will respond.
    By using Oxygen Plus for all your strength and speed training sessions, you will be able to push beyond your normal threshold (more reps and heavier weights) and attain faster strength and muscle building gains.
  • Muscle recovery is crucial to attaining your goals in less time. The faster your body recovers, the faster you can get back to training at 100% effort. This is why we highly recommend using Oxygen Plus after all of your really tough workouts – so that you recover in the least amount of time and are feeling really fresh going into your next training session.
  • Using supplemental oxygen during endurance (cardio) training is like cheating.That’s why if your goal is to strengthen your cardiovascular and respiratory systems, we DO NOT recommend using Oxygen Plus, because it is counterproductive to your goal. HOWEVER, if your goal is simply to cut weight, then using Oxygen Plus during any cardio training definitely makes sense.

How to Breathe Oxygen Plus:

  • Take a normal, deep inhale. (Do not rush or exaggerate your inhale.)
  • As you are inhaling, spray a half second “shot” of oxygen into your mouth or nose.
  • Inhaling regular air along with the oxygen is just part of the process and should not be avoided.
  • If possible, make sure to continue your inhale after you stop spraying the Oxygen Plus so that the concentrated oxygen is taken deeply into your lungs.
  • If you stop inhaling at the same time you stop spraying, much of the concentrated oxygen will be in your mouth or throat where it is useless.
  • Hold briefly (approximately 1 second).
  • Release your breath normally and repeat as necessary.


As you use each canister, the rate that the supplemental oxygen is expelled from the can will decrease due to decreased pressure. As the pressure decreases, you will slowly have to increase the length of each shot to compensate. So by the end of the canister for example, you will need to inhale shots of 1 second or more to get the same effect. Or alternatively, you can just inhale more half-second shots of Oxygen Plus to compensate for the decrease in oxygen being supplied with each shot.



“How Oxygen Affects Muscle Performance.” Oxygen Plus. https://www.oxygenplus.com/blogs/articles/how-oxygen-affects-muscle-performance. Retrieved on December 20, 2017.

Wilber, Randall L., Paige L. Holm, David M. Morris, George M. Dallam, Andrew W. Subudhi, Dennis M. Murray and Samuel D. Callan. “Effect of FIO2 on Oxidative Stress during Interval Training at Moderate Altitude.” Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0084/1832/t/3/assets/GeoDallamStudy.pdf. Retrieved December 20, 2017.


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