Don’t let obesity slow you down at work – POWERbreathe!

In this blog we’re looking at how POWERbreathe could help improve the endurance of heavier people in the workplace.

Published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH), a new study revealed workers that are obese “may have significantly shorter endurance times when performing workplace tasks, compared with their non-obese counterparts.”

The study, which focused on industrial environments where tasks are repetitive and controlled, could also be applied to roles that require a certain level of stamina on a daily basis, such as that required in the public or uniformed services (including the fire service, military e.g. RAF, Army, Navy, HM Prisons); nursing; the postal/delivery service; and builders, for instance.

The study was inconclusive as to what caused the lower levels of endurance; whether difficulty moving because of the worker’s heavier weight contributed to less stamina and more fatigue, or whether fatigue contributed to the weight gain.

The report revealed how being overweight can affect the way muscles work i.e. “decreasing blood flow and thus reducing the amount of oxygen and energy that reaches the muscles. When contracting muscles for a sustained period of time, people who are obese can experience muscle fatigue sooner than others.”

During physical activity your breathing can be pushed to its limit, and as you draw more air into your lungs your respiratory system can start to consume as much as 20% of available energy. This results in your breathing muscles, including your diaphragm and intercostal muscles between the ribs, starting to fatigue and steal oxygenated blood from your working limbs in order to support them. This makes physical activity feel harder and induces a feeling of breathlessness.

The good news is that your breathing muscles are just like any other muscle, so just as you’d train your calves or hamstrings to give you better endurance and strength for a particular sport or activity, you can also develop your breathing muscles using POWERbreathe to improve their strength and stamina which in turn reduces fatigue.

Read more about POWERbreathe breathing training for Corporate Fitness, or if you’re already using POWERbreathe, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter as we’d love to hear from you. You can also read more about POWERbreathe for health and wellbeing in our Health and Wellbeing Blog.

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