Obese adolescents feel exercise is easier after breathing training

New research has found that respiratory muscle endurance training (RMET) reduces the O2 cost of cycling and perceived exertion in obese adolescents.

Oxygen cost reduces during cycling effort in obese adolescents

Research published in the American Journal of Physiology assessed whether RMET would be beneficial to obese adolescents who exercised. And so they added breathing training to a standard weight-loss programme. They wanted to see if it decreased the rate of oxygen usage while exercising; in this case, cycling. They also wanted to see if the training reduced how hard participants felt they were working. This is known as perceived exertion. They also wanted to see if it increased their tolerance to exercise.

Researchers method

Nine male obese adolescents underwent 3 weeks of respiratory muscle endurance training. They performed this over 5 days. Another eight age-and sex- matched obese adolescents underwent a standard body mass reduction program. The was the control group (CTRL).

Before and after the exercise interventions each participant performed on a cycle ergometer. Breath-by-breath pulmonary ventilation and oxygen uptake, heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion for dyspnea/breathing discomfort and leg effort were all determined.

Research findings

Participants in both the RMET group and control group decreased their body mass (by ~3.0 kg). During the constant work-rate exercises, the oxygen cost of cycling, the slope of oxygen uptake versus time, breathing discomfort, leg effort and heart rate decreased following RMET but not following CTRL.

Research conclusions

The researchers concluded that in obese adolescents, respiratory muscle endurance training superimposed on a standard body mass reduction program, lowers the oxygen cost of cycling and perceived exertion during constant heavy-intensity exercise. In effect, exercise feels easier after breathing training. And breathing training can be performed in conjunction with a weight loss programme.