Breathing Effort At High Altitude

At high altitude, the partial pressure is less than at sea-level, meaning oxygen molecules are further away from each other. The higher you go, the more difficult breathing at high altitude becomes.

In order to compensate, your lungs work much harder.

  • At 1,000m, some people feel short of breath during moderate exercise 
  • At 3,000m, oxygen availability in the air decreases by 30% (compared to sea level)
  • At 4,000m some people feel short of breath at rest 
  • At 5,500m, oxygen availability in the air has decreased by 50% (compared to sea level)

At sea level, exercise is limited only by the capacity of your heart to pump oxygenated blood to your muscles. But at high altitude, you’re limited by the ability to pump air in and out of your lungs.

At Mount Everest’s summit it requires maximal levels of breathing just to put one foot in front of the other. This is only sustainable for minutes at a time. However, Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) may reduce the expected decrease in oxygen saturation at rest with ascent to altitude above 4,900m.

Also, when your respiratory muscles work very hard, they ‘steal’ blood from your extremities to meet oxygen requirements, impairing  performance. This is called metaboreflex. Hard respiratory work leads to chronic breathing muscle fatigue.

Prepare Your Breathing For High Success

POWERbreathe IMT exercises your breathing muscles using ‘resistance training’. Developed by sports scientists, this ‘dumbbell for your diaphragm’, improves breathing strength and stamina to reduce breathing fatigue, beneficial because ‘High-Altitude Exposure Reduces Inspiratory Muscle Strength’.

Findings also show IMT

  • Reduces oxygen requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 8-12%
  • Reduces cardiac output requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 14%
  • Reduces breathing requirement of exercise in simulated altitude by 25%
  • Increases arterial oxygen saturation by 4% and lung diffusing capacity by 4%
  • Reduces perceived exertion and breathlessness

Elevate Your Performance With Simulated Altitude Training

Not only should you prepare your breathing for the challenges at altitude, but also your body. This is achievable with altitude training, as individual athletes and sports teams report extensively on its benefits.

As an individual’s response to altitude exposure varies massively, it is important to understand that a one size fits all approach will not work and training programmes and/or altitude exposure must be tailored to suit the individual’s needs. This is possible with altitude simulation and simulated environmental conditions equipment by POWERbreathe.

Hypoxic mask-based systems, sleeping rooms, exercise rooms, and inflatable modules all help to provide various tailored extreme conditions in a safe, controlled, local environment for:

  • Individual amateur athletes, elite athletes and sports teams
  • Individuals and groups preparing for extreme adventures
  • Sports science researchers

Suitable Products to Elevate Your Performance