In order to explain how breathing training with POWERbreathe has a positive effect on your breathing muscles, benefiting you by increasing their strength, power and endurance, we thought we’d create a series of micro blogs. These blogs will provide a brief overview of your respiratory system, what physically happens when you breathe and what controls your breathing.
We’ll then look a little more at breathing in sports, breathing problems in those with lung diseases and other conditions such as asthma, and finally we’ll look at some of the clinical trials and scientific studies that provide evidence for training your inspiratory muscles with POWERbreathe.
Our first blog will look at your respiratory system and the muscles used for breathing.
Your Respiratory System
Your respiratory system comprises of tissues and organs that help you to breathe; the main part of your system being your airways, your lungs and blood vessels, and the muscles that enable you to breathe.
Your airways (nose, mouth, larynx, trachea, bronchial tubes and bronchi) not only carry oxygen-rich air to your lungs, but they also carry away the waste gas carbon dioxide.
As air enters your nose or mouth, it wets and warms it before it travels down your larynx (voicebox) and into your trachea (windpipe). This splits into two bronchial tubes which enter your lungs. Your lungs are divided into five main sections called lobes.
Your lungs and blood vessels
Your lungs and the blood vessels linked to them deliver the oxygen your body needs, and removes the carbon dioxide waste gas that it needs to get rid of.
Within your lungs, which lay either side of your breastbone, your bronchi branch out into smaller bronchioles which end in tiny round air sacs known as alveoli.
Each alveoli is covered in capillaries which connect to a network of arteries and veins that move your blood through your body.
Your pulmonary artery and its branches deliver blood that is rich in carbon dioxide (and lacking in oxygen) to the capillaries surrounding your alveoli. Inside your alveoli the carbon dioxide moves from the blood into the air while oxygen moves from the air into the blood in your capillaries.
This now oxygen-rich blood travels to your heart through your pulmonary vein and its branches, and the heart then pumps the oxygen-rich blood through your body.
Your breathing muscles
Your breathing muscles include your diaphragm, intercostals, abdominals and muscles in your neck and collarbone area.
Your diaphragm is the main muscle used for breathing. It is dome-shaped and located below your lungs and separates your chest cavity from your abdominal cavity.
Your intercostals can be found between your ribs and, like the diaphragm, they also play a major role in helping you to breathe.
Your abdominal muscles are located beneath your diaphragm and they help you to breathe out when you’re breathing at a higher rate, for instance when you’re working out or being more energetic.
The muscles in your neck and collarbone area help with breathing in when your other breathing muscles are compromised, such as breathing problems including asthma and COPD.
How POWERbreathe affects your breathing muscles
POWERbreathe is a drug-free, hand-held inspiratory muscle training (breathing training) device that exercises the muscles you use to breathe in, primarily your diaphragm and intercostals: the two major muscles that you use to breathe.
POWERbreathe uses the principles of resistance training, strengthening your inspiratory breathing muscles by making them work hard against the resistance. It works in much the same way as dumbbells do for increasing the strength of your biceps. As you inhale through POWERbreathe against the resistance you notice that you have to work harder to breathe in. When you breathe out there is no resistance and you simply exhale as you would normally, allowing your chest and breathing muscles to relax and naturally push air out of your lungs.
The benefits of breathing training with POWERbreathe can be shown in sport and fitness, in the performing arts for musicians, singers and dancers, for health and medical conditions, and in the uniformed services.
In our next blog we’ll be looking at what happens when we breathe.