An Indiana University study found that strengthening inspiratory muscles by performing daily breathing exercises for six weeks significantly reduced the amount of oxygen these same breathing muscles required during exercise, possibly making more oxygen available for other muscles.
Louise Turner, a researcher in the Department of Kinesiology, said just the act of breathing during an endurance activity, such as running, swimming or cycling performed at maximum intensity, can account for 10 to 15 percent of an athlete's total oxygen consumption. While inspiratory muscle training (IMT) has been shown to improve performance in endurance sports, Turner's study sought to shed light on how IMT does this.
"This study helps to provide further insight into the potential mechanisms responsible for the improved whole-body endurance performance previously reported following IMT," she said.
About the study:
Muscles need oxygen to produce energy. Turner's research also is looking at the next component of this equation, whether more oxygen is actually available to other muscles, particularly those in the legs, because less oxygen is being used by the breathing muscles.
IMT has been used as an intervention in pulmonary diseases and conditions, such as asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis, and also is marketed as a means for improving athletic performance in cyclists, runners and swimmers.
Turner is presenting her study, "Inspiratory Muscle Training reduces the Oxygen Cost of Breathing during Exercise," on Thursday, June 03, from 9-10:30 a.m. in Hall C. Co-authors are Timothy D. Mickleborough, Joel M. Stager and Robert F. Chapman from Indiana University; and Sandy Tecklenburg-Lund, Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Turner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.