Would you be surprised to learn that oxygen is a vital element for all your organs and systems of your body?  Of course not. People understand that oxygen is crucial to our human existence.

But did you know that your brain in particular is an oxygen monopoliser?

While your brain only makes up about 2 percent of your entire body weight, your brain requires about 20 percent of your body’s total oxygen.

This is because oxygen is crucial to brain health, development, and functioning.


Your nervous system is your body’s command center and communicates messages between your brain and your body very quickly using nerve impulses, which are also referred to as action potential.

Your nervous system directs all your body’s activities and controls your thoughts, movements, and automatic responses to others and to the world around you. It also controls subconscious body systems and processes such as digestion, breathing, heartbeat and sexual development.

Of course, all of this is orchestrated first and foremost by that vital spongy, jelly-like organ inside your “noggin” – your brain.

An adequate supply of oxygen in your brain is required to perform all of these tasks and to stabilize your nervous system so that your body can optimally function.


It is Interesting to note that just because you can breathe, it doesn’t mean your brain is getting enough oxygen. In fact, while it may not be obvious, your oxygen levels could be lacking.

You may need to implement strategies to improve blood flow to your brain to support your cells in manufacturing more energy. Additional energy allows your brain to not just survive, but to repair, regenerate, and function better.

Symptoms of low oxygen levels:

  • Wheezing
  • Frequent coughing
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin
  • Shortness of breath while resting
  • Severe shortness of breath after physical activity
  • Decreased tolerance to physical activity
  • Waking up out of breath
  • Feelings of choking

Oxygen helps organisms grow new tissue and bone, reproduce, and turn food into energy. Every single cell in your body needs oxygen to complete the metabolic processes that give life.

As well, it helps your body fight off infection by boosting your immune system. Whereas, a lack of oxygen can cause brain damage. In fact, severe brain damage may ensue in as little as three minutes.  


According to the American Lung Association, oxygen is also critical for mental performance such as.

  • Clear thinking
  • Critical analysis
  • Memory and recall
  • Mental alertness
  • Mental stamina
  • Everyday functions

Research from the Human Cognitive Neuroscience unit at the University of Northumbria shows that mental performance can be greatly improved by inhaling pure oxygen.

Oxygen works by providing your brain with the fuel it needs to perform higher level activities and function at its peak. When you’re deficient in oxygen, you may experience a lack of alertness, memory, and mental focus. Additionally, proper oxygenation is required to remember material and perform well on tests.


Oxygen gives your cells the ability to break down food in order to get the energy required for survival.

Once in the lungs, oxygen is moved into the bloodstream and is carried through your body. At each cell, oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide (waste gas) which your bloodstream carries to the lungs where it is removed from your bloodstream and exhaled.

Momentary stress causes your body to tense, and you begin to breathe a little more shallowly. Shallow breathing lowers oxygen levels in the blood, which the brain senses as a concern. Breathing then becomes a little faster and shallower, and oxygen levels fall a little more. This is a vicious cycle.

The tendon-guard reflex contracts muscles as a physiological response to danger. This reflex has served over centuries to protect people from real threats to their lives.  It affects posture by shortening the tendons in the back of the body, from head to heels, thus limiting vestibular balance, sense of spatial relationships and breathing.


Acquiring strategies to enhance your oxygen supply is important for current and long-term benefits. 

Research shows that short walks and low to moderate level dancing will increase your circulation and increase oxygen to your brain. Whereas higher intensity activity or running, while beneficial for a variety of reasons, causes your muscles to absorb much of the oxygen in your system. This in turn, hinders your efforts to increase the oxygen being carried to your brain.

A fantastic way to simultaneously reduce stress, activate your whole brain resources, and elevate your internal oxygen supply is by using Brain Fitness and Brain Gym® activities.


Belly Breathing is part of the Brain Gym® activity menu.

How to do it:

  • Rest your hand(s) on your abdomen. 
  • Blow out all the air in your lungs in short, soft little puffs
  • Take a slow deep inhalation, gently refilling your lungs 
  • Repeat the short exhalations once or twice
  • Then continue slowly inhaling and exhaling from your belly
  • Your hand softly rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale

Make sure you do a pre- and post-check so you can compare the difference and notice how great it feels to get more oxygen to your brain!

To your Fit Brain & Fit Life,