Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Exercise and Anemia

When "tired blood" slows you down.

A drop in athletic performance or a general feeling of fatigue may indicate you are suffering from anemia, a condition in which the production and amount of your red blood cells is below normal. Red blood cells which carry oxygen from the lungs to muscle tissues and organs are synthesized in the bone marrow Each cell lives for about 120 days in the circulation.

An adequate supply of these red blood cells is essential to physical activity and overall well-being. A low red blood cell count means less oxygen is being delivered to performing muscles. Because oxygen is essential to burn the calories used by muscles in aerobic exercise, this can have a direct effect on your ability to perform.

A molecule of iron is needed to make part of a protein called "hemoglobin" in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin is the essential protein that carries oxygen in the red blood cell. Without adequate iron, your body is unable to make new red blood cells, resulting in iron-deficiency anemia, sometimes called "tired blood." It is the most common type of anemia.

Testing for anemia may be done by either a finger prick or by drawing blood from a vein with a needle. Initially two screening tests are performed. The hematocrit test measures the percentage of plasma that red blood cells comprise. Normally between 36 and 46 percent of your plasma volume is red blood cells; the rest is proteins and electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium) dissolved in water.

The hemoglobin test measures the grams of hemoglobin per 100 milliliters of blood volume. Normal values for women are 12 to 15 grams/100 ml of blood. Any value below this is abnormal and indicates that you are suffering from anemia.

Normal values for both hemoglobin and hematocrit are higher in men because of the influence of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone), which act to increase red blood cell production. Normal hematocrit for men is 46 to 56 percent, and for hemoglobin is 14 to 17 g/100 ml. These higher values are part of the reason men have greater oxygen-carrying capacity and aerobic performance.

If your iron values are low, can it effect your performance?

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
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The information in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.

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