Royal Marine passes fitness test with help from POWERbreathe

At the Triathlon Show we recently attended in London (February 2015), we were delighted when a visitor to the stand shared a very personal and positive story with us.

In 1998 / 1999 the gentleman in question had applied to take the Royal Marines fitness test but unfortunately didn’t pass on that occasion.

Determined to pass the fitness test, he went away to assess how he could become fit enough to take it again and came across POWERbreathe which he immediately incorporated into his training regimen.

After about 3-months’ training with his POWERbreathe, he re-took the test and as he says in this short video, “aced the test”.

WATCH VIDEO >

The Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC) and Potential Officers Course (POC) are among the toughest initial trainings of any elite force in the world. But before recruits make it through to these courses they need to pass the Royal Marines Pre Joining Fitness Test which involves two runs of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) each with the treadmill set at a 2% incline. To pass they need to do the first run in under 12 minutes 30 seconds and then complete the second 2.4km run immediately afterwards in less than 10 minutes (regardless of age). So you can see how tough it is to pass the test!

Energy and stamina are required if recruits are to get through, and this is where POWERbreathe can help. Because a recruit will be asking more from their muscles, their body will demand more oxygen to provide more energy to their muscles. To cope with this extra demand, their breathing will increase and their circulation will speed up as it needs to take the oxygen as quickly as possible to their fiercely working muscles. This will naturally leave a recruit out of breath and potentially feeling fatigued early, hindering their chance of finishing the test in the time allowed.

POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) trains these breathing muscles to become stronger, enabling recruits to draw in more air, filling the useable area of their lungs to their fullest capacity, giving them the strength and stamina to perform at their best.

Read more about POWERbreathe for Armed Forces here.

 

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.

Why you should dig deep and breathe from your diaphragm

We thought we’d write a very quick blog on why it’s important to breathe deeply from your diaphragm, after all that’s why POWERbreathe was developed – to answer a need for training the breathing muscles (primarily the diaphragm) so that we all start to breathe again as nature intended, from the diaphragm and not from the chest.

Your diaphragm is the large muscle that’s located below your lungs. When you take a deep breath in your lungs expand with air and press down on your diaphragm, which in turn causes your abdomen to expand.

This deep diaphragmatic breathing is something we all did when we were babies, but with our busy and often stressful lifestyles we become shallow chest breathers and lose the benefits that deep breathing brings.

Remember how at a particular stressful moment we’re often told to “take a deep breath,” well this is because it helps to calm you down. Research has also shown that deep breathing exercises will help people with breathing problems, as it makes their breathing muscles stronger. Deep breathing exercise with POWERbreathe is also helpful to athletes because inspiratory muscle training exercises these breathing muscles to become stronger and more resistant to fatigue, while also helping them to take in as much oxygen as possible for improved stamina and ultimately performance.

Try this quick test:

1. Place your right hand on your abdomen and your left hand on your chest. As you breathe, see which hand rises more. If your left hand rises more, you are a chest breather. If your right hand rises more, you are an abdomen breather, pulling air into the base of your lungs.

If you’re a chest breather, don’t worry because you can develop your breathing muscles for a better breathing technique with POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training.

If you’re a belly breather, then the next stage is to make your breathing more efficient with POWERbreathe.

POWERbreathe trains your diaphragm and intercostals (the muscles between your ribs which contract during inspiration) to breathe in a strong, smooth and continuous motion, improving the mechanical efficiency of your ‘bellows’ and making them stronger and more resistant to fatigue.

Training your breathing muscles with POWERbreathe is probably one of the most effective things that you can do for both short and long-term physical health, and now you can see why we say POWERbreathe is for ‘anyone who breaths’.

 

POWERbreathe for Firefighters with Chronic Respiratory Conditions

A study recently published (February 2014) in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health assessed the prevalence of chronic respiratory conditions in (South Australian) metropolitan fire fighters. It also studied associations between occupational exposure, use of respiratory protection and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in firefighters with and without chronic respiratory conditions.

Study: Chronic respiratory conditions in a cohort of metropolitan fire-fighters: associations with occupational exposure and quality of life.

Methods:

Respiratory symptoms, medical conditions, occupational tasks and exposures and consistency of using respiratory protection were inquired by questionnaire. The Health Survey was used to measure physical and mental health-related quality of life.

Fire-fighters were categorised in subgroups: asthma; COPD/emphysema/chronic bronchitis; no chronic respiratory conditions; and as being ‘not involved’ or ‘involved’ in fire-fighting tasks, the latter further categorised as ‘consistent’ or ‘inconsistent’ use of respiratory protection.

Conclusions:

Ten percent of metropolitan fire-fighters reported underlying chronic respiratory conditions. Presence of such a condition in combination with suboptimal protection from inhaled exposures may lead to poorer physical health-related quality of life.

Read Abstract: Chronic respiratory conditions in a cohort of metropolitan fire-fighters: associations with occupational exposure and quality of life.

How could POWERbreathe help?

A project conducted at the University of Birmingham Sports Medicine and Human Performance Unit into the respiratory performance in firefighters unearthed some not-so-surprising findings:

  • Lung function is impaired whilst wearing SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus)
  • Respiratory muscle strength and lung function are impaired further after physical work in SCBA
  • Firefighters adopt a special breathing strategy to minimise the breathlessness induced by working in SCBA

Looking at data from scientific studies, if firefighters performed POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training for a minimum of 4-weeks, they could:

  • Increase their inspiratory muscle strength
  • Reduce breathlessness
  • Reduce heart rate (1)
  • Reduce the rate of air use from the cylinder (increasing wear time by around 1.5 min from a 15 min cylinder) (1)
  • Increase time to exhaustion (findings from a standard laboratory treadmill test)

(1) Donovan K, McConnell A. Fire-fighters’ Self-contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA): The Effects of Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT) during Fire-Fighting Simulations in the Laboratory. In: Hanson, Lovesey, Robertson, editors. Annual Conference of the Ergonomics Society; 1999: Ergonomics Society; 1999. p. 348-52.

Read more about how POWERbreathe could benefit those in the Fire Service.

Women Police Officers Fail Fitness Test – POWERbreathe Could Help

Nearly 3% of 13,024 police officers have failed to pass their compulsory fitness test, and of those 3% who failed, 70% of them were women (according to a news article published online at BBC News UK which looked at figures provided by 27 forces under the Freedom of Information Act.)

Compulsory police fitness testing for those involved in officer safety training was introduced only last year (2014) in England and Wales for police officers, and what could be missing from their training in preparation for the fitness test, is Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT).

Biologically women have smaller lungs and airways and weaker respiratory muscles, which makes breathing during exercise much harder work. This could be a contributing factor in fitness levels in women, and why more women than men failed the police fitness test.

The study that discovered women really do get more exhausted during exercise than men, ‘Physiological mechanisms of sex differences in exertional dyspnea: Role of neural respiratory motor drive’ revealed that “because of a woman’s smaller size, when she is exercising, her brain needs to send stronger electrical signals to the respiratory muscles, and specifically the diaphragm, than does a man’s in the same situation.”

This revelation that women are more short of breath than men during exercise because their respiratory muscles are more active does not mean that there’s no hope for women. On the contrary, all is not lost because women – in fact all of us – can influence the strength and stamina of our breathing, by exercising our breathing muscles with POWERbreathe.

By incorporating POWERbreathe respiratory muscle training into fitness training 4 – 6 weeks in advance of the police fitness test, women can start off with an advantage as opposed to feeling disadvantaged because of their physiology. By taking just 30 breaths twice a day through POWERbreathe against the adjustable resistance we can all improve our breathing strength and stamina, and for women preparing for their police fitness test, this would help their performance in the Shuttle Run Test, and ultimately during any prolonged foot chases and foot patrols.

Read more about incorporating POWERbreathe IMT into police fitness training, or if you’re a police officer and are already using POWERbreathe, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter pages as we’d appreciate your feedback.

Corporal Darren Peacock – POWERbreathe 90 days in

Darren PeacockIt’s been 90 days now since I started using powerbreathe and my time here in Afghanistan is almost up.

I am currently up to level 8 on my POWERbreathe Medium Resistance, I have found all the levels hard at first then once it got easy with a quick turn you can up the resistance.

I have noticed changes in my breathing while I have been undergoing training to run a marathon, now with 15, 17 and 20 mile runs completed, my next challenge was the London marathon on 22nd April.

I have also chosen to run for Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, my girlfriend back in the UK set up a just giving page and I have been going round with a bucket here collecting.

As for the changes, I commented before on how I no longer feel the “second wind” and start running with no shortness of breath, what I never mentioned was the recovery aspect.

At medium and high tempo running afterwards I was out of breath for a few minutes but now my breathing returns to normal in no time at all. I started following a TRX cardio training DVD that has involved skipping with instruction from Jump Master Buddy Lee.

As I have never skipped before I was shocked with what a great exercise it can be, if I had tried this training before there would be no question that I would have found it far harder as I would have had to concentrate more on my breathing. But now my sole concentration was on the skipping.

I think combining skipping and POWERbreathing at the same time might be my next progression, but I think I will need some guidance on this from the experts.

I have to say I am more than impressed with my fitness level and how the 30 breaths twice a day has made me able to run harder and train harder without having to worry about being restricted by my breathing.

The temperature out here has risen quite dramatically and running in the heat has not been that easy but I have managed to push through and have been helped by using a POWERbreathe breathing trainer product.

I cannot wait to get home and re-book a Peak Flow lung test to get the official results and see if I have lowered my lung age.

Here is a link to my Just giving page

Corporal Darren Peacock 44 days in Afghanistan and 43 days of using my POWERbreathe

Darren PeacockIt’s been 44 days now since I left the UK for Afghanistan and 43 days since I began using my POWERbreathe Plus.

After the first 10 days I increased the resistance to level 1 and immediately noticed the difference. My breathing in was harder but after 5 days it started to become easier.

Each Monday I have been increasing the resistance by 1 level this is helped by the fact that the POWERbreathe is very simple to use and also to maintain, just a soak in warm water and leave it to dry then its ready to use again.

Stupidly I did not bring the nose clip with me even though the instructional DVD tells you to use it. At first I did not need it but as I increased the resistance after level 2 I found it hard to use without making sure no air was getting in through my nose.

As I left the clip at home I have just been holding my nose with my fingers, which does the trick, but next time I will make sure I use the nose clip provided.

As for the results of using my Powerbreathe product as I commented on in my last blog I noticed I was not short of breath as I started to run.

Normally when I did any sort of cardio training I was breathing heavily for the first 10 minutes but after I got my “second wind” my breathing relaxed. Now its like I start with my “second wind”.

Also my breathing used to dictate how long and hard I could run for but now it’s my legs that tire before my breathing. My marathon training has been going well with 2 15 mile runs completed now then next week contains a 3, 7.5, 3 and 17.5 mile run and the same the following week. My running pace has improved due to my stronger lungs and as my Power Breathing improves so do my average mile speeds.

After completing 4 weeks of TRX Basic training program I have moved onto the TRX strength training routine I have found my 30 second recovery between exercises faster due to my breathing returning to normal quicker.

I am fully impressed with the results I am witnessing and the benefits of Power Breathing, there are 6 more levels on my POWERbreathe Plus hopefully by the time I leave Afghanistan behind I will be on level 10 and fully feeling the effects of using this product.

Corporal Darren Peacock – 10 days in with the POWERbreathe

Darren PeacockIt’s been 10 days since I arrived in Afghanistan and 9 days since I started using my POWERbreathe .

My workload is quite heavy durning the day, working 12 hour shifts but I find it easy to fit in 2 sessions of POWERbreathe training although I have received many an odd look for my work  colleagues.

As an Ex-smoker I used the smoke breaks my colleagues take to remind myself that I need to get 30 breaths with my  POWERbreathe Plus.

I found it very simple to use I watched the DVD with instructions on the flight here so was ready to go once I got here. My plan while I am here is to run a Marathon on the same day as the London Marathon, April 22nd.

I have managed to follow my running training so far but have had to switch to running on a treadmill as it is very dusty outside. My current running program is building me up for longer running, a few 3 mile runs, 7.5 and a nice 12.5 on a Sunday.

Although there is a gym here I have opted to continue with my TRX training as I have 24 hour access to it and along as I can attach it 8 foot about me I can get a 45 minute session. I was a bit sceptical at first about the benefits of PowerBreathing but I am very surprised with the results, I have noticed my breathing is easier while I am running even though its been only 9 days, I used to be really out of breath for the first 10 minutes of exercise until I got my second wind but now my breathing is more controlled as I start.

Tomorrow is time to turn my POWERbreathe Plus to setting number 1 and see the difference in resistance. I can’t wait to see and feel the results as I progress through the different settings.

Regards

Darren

Corporal Darren Peacock and POWERbreathe in the Royal Air Force

Darren PeacockMy name is Darren Peacock and I am a Corporal in the Royal Air Force for the past 15 years.

My Job as a Survival Equipment Fitter involves working with adhesives and Isocyanates so every 12 months I have to take a COSHH medical with involves a peak flow test.

I was looking for a way of improving my results and remember I had seen a Powerbreathe product in the Argos catalogue some years back so decided to buy one.

I also stopped smoking on New Year’s day 2011 and started running, last year I took part in 2 half Marathons and a number of 10k runs.

On the 22nd of this month I am deploying to Afghanistan for 4 months so hopefully my POWERbreathe Plus Medium Resistance will be here then I can start using it.

I was asked by POWERbreathe if I would supply blogs of my training and experiences using the POWERbreathe so they could share my experience with their community. I was happy to oblige.  Keep checking back for more updates from me and if you have any questions please do comment below.

All of us here at POWERbreathe look forward to reading the blogs Darren sends and we wish him well in Afghanistan.

Regards
Darren Peacock

Emma Foden – When I met POWERbreathe

I came in to contact with POWERbreathe in its very early days, about 2004, when I was massaging a group of Ironman competitors. I was asked my opinion on whether I thought it would work or not. In all honesty, I hadn’t heard about POWERbreathe as I was very new to the health and fitness industry.

I told the group I would look into the product and get back to them. On first look they seem very like an asthma inhaler and an obvious too good to be true, simple tool to aid breathing and therefore aid performance. I went back to the group with my findings and subsequently two bought a POWERbreathe and loved them.

Three years ago I was finishing my Masters degree in Exercise Physiology and was offered the opportunity to use POWERbreathe for my final study with wheelchair basketball athletes that I already supported in their training for Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.  POWERbreathe had already been used in various studies among sports people and had great reviews to show they improved sprint performance. Wheelchair basketball is a game of high intensity sprint work and I was interested to find out if a POWERbreathe could improve the sprint performance of a wheelchair athlete.

I conducted some initial tests and left each of my subjects with a POWERbreathe (kindly donated). When I returned for the testing at the end of the study I imagined the results to be amazing because so many of them had said that their breathing had improved and they felt a lot healthier. The study showed that POWERbreathe did not improve sprint performance amongst wheelchair basketball athletes and it was concluded that this is potentially due to the amount of skill needed to manoeuvre the chair during the sprints not just the person’s own physiological benefits. I wrote the research for The British Journal of Sports Medicine, you can find the abstract here.  http://msscentershop.info/content/44/9/665.abstract

Many of the subjects I used went on to buy a POWERbreathe themselves and I was so impressed I bought one for my dad. He’s an active wheelchair user in his 60’s but is finding himself a little short of breath when he pushes up a hill or pushes over long distances. When he remembers it (because his memory is going too) his breathing noticeably improves and he says so which is great because my dad is hard to please!

I now own a Personal Training and Exercise Science business (www.dynamicfitnessuk.com or twitter; @em_fitnessgoals) and would have no hesitation suggesting and recommending POWERbreathe to any of my clients to aid performance.

Emma Foden BSc (Hons), MSc, MGHT
Personal Trainer and Exercise Scientist
M. 07900 551 730
E. emma@dynamicfitnessuk.com
W. www.dynamicfitnessuk.com