Training breathing muscles can improve performance at altitude

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TRAINING breathing muscles can significantly improve physical performance when exercising in oxygen-poor environments, according to a study by city experts.

Inspiratory muscle training, which trains the muscles used when breathing in, can improve breathing efficiency in hypoxic environments such as at altitude, where less oxygen increases the strain of exercise on the body.

The research by the University of Portsmouth found IMT can increase muscle strength resulting in the body breathing more efficiently to do the same amount of exercise.

Dr Mitch Lomax, who carried out the research, said the training helps to compensate for the effects on the body caused by lower oxygen. He said ‘When oxygen is reduced your breathing rate increases.

‘The “cost” of breathing goes up and the demand placed on the lungs is higher, so it’s not surprising it takes less time to become exhausted.

‘IMT can reduce the strain, enabling people to go further or at a faster rate without feeling as tired.’