Every cyclist aims to remain at the top of his or her game. Whether cycling for fun or preparing for an upcoming competition, endurance is obviously one of the most critical components of success. This is why there are countless products on the market which claim to take your health to the next level and beyond. Unfortunately, some of these will work better than others. One recent trend involves the use of masks that can be adjusted in order to mimic different levels of hypoxia. The theory is that depriving your body of oxygen will force your lungs and surrounding muscles to work harder; thus increasing your endurance. Is there any truth behind this tactic? Let’s take a closer look and dispel with one important misconception.
The Myths Surrounding Hypoxia Masks
The effects of this mask are actually somewhat similar to training at altitude. As the air holds less oxygen per square metre, your body will need to work harder while cycling. So, this will indeed strengthen your lungs and make them become more efficient over time.
However, keep in mind that hypoxia masks are not changing the air pressure itself. These are sometimes referred to as “altitude masks” and this is a bit of misconception. All they are doing is limiting the amount of oxygen that is inhaled thanks to a series of adjustable valves.
How to Correctly Use a Mask
Assuming that you are interested to learn more, it is first wise to choose a well-known brand so that the quality of the mask is never called into question. In the same respect, be sure to purchase the appropriate size. The functionality of this device will partially depend upon how tight of a seal it offers around your nose and mouth. In terms of comfort, it is wise to choose a mask equipped with two straps (one which wraps around the back of your head and one which embraces the crown). This will ensure that the mask remains in place while your are cycling.
Additional Tips and Advice
As mentioned previously, most masks can be adjusted in relation to the amount of oxygen that you wish to receive. There are normally two valves on the front of the masks. Changing the configuration of these valves will determine how much you are able to inhale. Start off on the lightest setting in order to appreciate its effects during a typical training session. It might even be wise to wear the mask while enjoying more sedentary activities such as playing scratch games or reading a book in order to become accustomed to the presence of the mask. You can then gradually change the settings in the future. Above all, always make it a point to remove the mask if you become dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous.
So, we can see that hypoxia masks do indeed serve a real purpose if you are hoping to increase your cycling endurance. Please refer back to this article in the future and to perform additional research if you would like to learn more.