Breathing exercises key to exercise tolerance in middle-aged people

April 14, 2022
Breathing exercises key to exercise tolerance in middle-aged people

Past research from reputable US sources shows adults tend to reduce or stop physical activity as they age. However, regular exercise is crucial for middle-aged and older adults to prevent health complications and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Recent research from the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) suggests a simple type of daily breathing exercise could improve physical endurance in target adults.

The exercise is called high-resistance inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST), introduced to treat patients with severe respiratory disorders. During IMST, a person is required to inhale vigorously using a handheld breathing device that adds resistance to your breath. The device is essentially a training tool for your lungs whereby regular use enhances the functioning of your breathing muscles and diaphragm, and in turn, your breathing capacity.

Researcher Kaitlin A. Freeberg and colleagues at CU Boulder performed the IMST technique on 35 adults (age 50 years or higher). The researchers split participants into two groups, subjecting the first group to high-resistance IMST and the second group to low-resistance IMST for six weeks. Participants from both groups used the manual breathing trainer for at least five minutes every day during this time.

The researchers found that participants in the low-resistance group didn’t experience any change in their physical output, while those in the high-resistance group showed a marked improvement (12%) in a treadmill time to exhaustion test.

“The 12% improvement in exercise tolerance with high-resistance IMST is promising as it evoked about three-quarters of the increase in exercise tolerance that has been seen with traditional aerobic exercise interventions while requiring much less time to complete,” said Freeberg.

In the high-resistance IMST group, participants also had “positive changes in metabolites that play key roles in energy production and fatty acid metabolism.”

According to Freeberg, the results prove that high-resistance IMST for a minimum of five minutes a day is an effective technique for increasing exercise duration and modulating metabolic pathways in middle-aged and older adults.

Read: New 5-minute breathing exercise can help with vascular health

Tags: ,

Category: Features, Wellness and Complementary Therapies

Comments are closed.