David Beckham gets short of breath – how POWERbreathe could help

An article published on the Mail Online (11th December 2013) revealed how David Beckham gets short of breath when he’s out running early in the morning with his 11-year-old son.

Although retired, 38-year-old David Beckham still maintains a level of fitness yet he admits how he struggles to keep up with his son, Romeo. This revelation came out during a chat at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

Beckham said, “He’s one of those annoying runners who always wants to be one step in front of you. We ran three and a half miles and the third mile was the quickest of all of them. I was breathing hard.’

There is however something that Beckham could do to help alleviate that feeling. He could warm-up his breathing muscles before he heads out for a run in the early morning cold by specifically exercising his inspiratory muscles with POWERbreathe.

POWERbreathe was developed as a training tool to exercise the breathing muscles. It does this by utilizing the principles of resistance training. As you inhale against the resistance, your breathing muscles are effectively ‘lifting a weight’ which trains them to work harder, and like all weight training, improves their strength and stamina.

Over time, usually around 4-weeks, the breathing muscles have become much stronger and less prone to fatigue, and the resistance can be increased, just as you would increase your weights. Each mechanical POWERbreathe (the Classic and Plus series) has a vast training range, but the K-Series is limitless and will be the only inspiratory muscle training device you’ll need.

So for David we’d suggest the POWERbreathe K5, with additional valve heads for each member of his family. They can all then monitor and compare their breathing training using the K5’s Breathe-Link software, and watch their improvements on screen in real-time.

Even though there’ll be no doubt that the Beckhams will perform a warm-up before their runs, it’s unlikely that they’ll target their breathing muscles, and yet research has shown that a standard pre-exercise warm-up routine fails to prepare the inspiratory muscles for the rigors of exercise.

Not only would David benefit from a POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle warm-up, but also from spending about 5-minutes per day using his POWERbreathe to train his inspiratory muscles, making them stronger and more resistant to fatigue, which will benefit him (and his children if they choose to train with it too) long-term.

Read more about why POWERbreathe should be an essential component of everyone’s fitness training, or if you’re already using POWERbreathe to help alleviate breathlessness when you exercise, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook page or Twitter as we’d love to hear from you.

And if you’re David Beckham reading this (well, we can all dream), then please get in touch and we’ll arrange a demonstration.

Is your heart healthy: Heart Rhythm Week 21st May – 27th May

heart rhythm weekThis week is Heart Rhythm Week.  Heart Rhythm Week is put together to raise awareness to arrhythmic conditions and ask that you understand your own heart rate better.

By doing pulse checks you can make sure that the beat is regular – although not everyone is sure of how to check it properly.

The British public are unable to recognise the warning signs of a deadly irregular heartbeat according to a new survey commissioned by national heart rhythm charity Arrhythmia Alliance (A-A). On average respondents in a survey were only aware of a third of the symptoms, even though irregular heartbeats are the leading cause of death in the UK and affect more than two million Britons.

If you feel faint, short of breath or experience palpitations then you need to run through the ‘Your Heart In Your Hands Checklist.

The Heart Rhythm Checklist is designed to help you and your doctor determine whether or not you suffer from a heart rhythm disorder. A heart rhythm disorder (cardiac arrhythmia) is when the heart beats too quickly, too slowly or irregularly. Palpitations, feeling faint/fainting or shortness of breath could be symptoms of a heart rhythm disorder. Symptoms alone do not mean you have a heart rhythm disorder, however, if your symptoms are persistent or uncomfortable, talk to your doctor. Download Your Heart In Your Hands Checklist

Please leave a comment if you found this blog interesting. Also please feel free to join in the conversation with us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel and feed for regular updates.

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COPD and coping with breathlessness

COPD-And-BreathlessnessThe full term for COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD as it is known is two long term lung diseases – chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Anyone who suffers from COPD knows the disease makes it extremely difficult for you to breathe. COPD has no cure. However, taking certain measures can help you manage the disease.


Here are some COPD facts about living with COPD, the symptoms of this lung disorder, how you can treat it and what causes it.

If I have COPD how does that affect my lungs

Air is carried in and out of your lungs through tubes called airways.  The earliest tell-tale sign of COPD is when these airways become partially blocked from swelling or mucus build up. This will result in you finding it difficult to breathe.  At the end of the airways are many tiny balloon-like air sacs, which inflate and deflate when you breathe in and out. With COPD, these air sacs lose their elasticity. If this happens it can lead to the collapse of small airways and make it more difficult for you to breathe easily.

What causes COPD

The most common cause of COPD is smoking. The disease will progress much quicker in smokers. Passive smoking is also a cause of COPD.  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can also be caused by long term exposure to other irritants. These include:

  • Dust
  • Chemicals
  • Air pollution

How COPD is diagnosed

If you think you have COPD you need to seek medical advice. Your GP will check your medical history, take a physical examination and also run some breathing tests.

The first breathing test the GP will run to check if you have COPD is the spirometry test. This is a painless and simple test which involves you breathing into a hose which is connected to a spirometer machine.  This machine then measures how much air your lungs can hold as well as measure how quick you can blow air out of your lungs.

What are the signs and symptoms of COPD?

The most common symptoms of COPD are:

  • A continuous cough that does not disappear
  • Huge amounts of mucus when you cough
  • Shortness of breath at the sign of activity
  • Wheezing
  • A tightness in the chest

COPD treatment

COPD treatment is not a cure. The goal is to ease your symptoms and make your quality of life better. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease treatment will slow down the progression of the disease, prevent or treat any complications and help you breathe more easily. Part of your COPD treatment will be a serious of breathing exercises which will help you to cope with the illness you have.

Gus Mckechnie 50k bike challenge – Starting with the POWERbreathe

Gus McKechnie 50000 mile bike challengeOk at the moment I’m 21,000 miles into my 50,000 mile challenge and most of this is being done on the Red Funnel ferries.  I have also been using POWERbreathe products for the past six years.  This helps me with a couple of aspects.  First of all I have a form of cerebral palsy and the POWERbreathe helps keep the muscles activated and in general helps me breathe easier.

The other side is that it plays a role now in helping me warm up for my challenges.  I first used a green one in 2005.  When I was getting ready to row around the Isle of Wight (UK).  At that time I was doing it in memory of my brother and father.  My Brother had a genetic condition called Haemachromatosis and also hadn’t looked after his body.  I wanted to row in aid of a number of charities but also to raise awareness of the condition.

We set off from Warsash and rowed round in a way that hadn’t been done before by going around Bembridge first rather than the needles.  I continued by doing a number of other things including marathon rows on Concept 2 machines.  After completing one million metres in Cowes week 2007 I was ready to put the charity work behind me.

Then things started to take a turn for the worse.  Mum had been struggling with her digestion for most of the year.  It reached a period after Cowes week that year when she was so bloated she couldn’t eat anymore and had to go into hospital.  It become apparent this was more than a stomach bug.  Testing revealed by my birthday in September it was a form of cancer.  I made the hard decision to not take up a lucrative graduate position so I had the flexibility to take care of her.  A couple of weeks later it was confirmed as ovarian cancer and on the 12th October the cancer cause a heart attack whilst I was at home with her.

I then had an extended period when I was not exercising on a regular basis.  My cerebral palsy/hemiparesis got perceivably worse as a result as did my physical disability   This started to have a sometimes painful effect on my breathing.  To the point I once passed out in the loft of my mothers house and left myself with a painful bump on my head.

I got back to cycling on the ferry and eventually after originally deciding to ride just 25,000 miles on a bike I decided to ride 50,000 the same distance as twice around the equator.  It was going to be something that I would go into instantly and reel off miles and miles.  In order to help counter act the hemiparesis I need to get another powerbreathe.  The black version was available and I have started to get work with that.  With 30 breathes in the morning and 30 in the evening.

In the past five years I have also completed 9 running marathons (New York x5, London x2, Chicago xl and Brighton x1) and want to aim at my tenth one.  I have also entered the indoor rowing 2012 Crash Bs with a fried from Solent University and im hoping it will help play a role in that as well.  I look forward to blogging for POWERbreathe and keep you updated on my progress.

Charity website: Redfunnel

Crash B team list: Team Entrants

POWERbreathe Trial – Melanie Ryding Week 14: I left the inhaler on purpose

Melanie Ryding I forgot the inhaler on purposeMelanie Ryding I forgot the inhaler on purposeThis week, I am beginning to realise that I in fact do NOT need that inhaler at all. Up till now i have always taken it (just in case) but this week, I went to the track WITHOUT it on purpose. Coach is not holding back on me at all, and I am learning to permanently hurt!!

This weeks track was fartlek (speed play) on the roads instead of the track. race pace, with even faster bursts. sheesh!! Summary: yes, it was hard hard, hard, and I told coach where in the car the inhaler was in case I needed it (he is now more worried than me!) but there was nothing to be worried about!.

The rest of the training? Big weights are starting to kick back in again, and to be honest it doesnt seem much like winter training to me, it seems as hard as it ever was!! The first cross country of the winter was last week too – a lovely cheeky little race with 4 river crossings! A steep banked brook that was just a teeny bit too wide was hillarious fun as far as i was concerned, but every time I came to the jump I encountered and had to shimmy round people queuing and stepping carefully! Move over, this is a race dont you know!!

My new mini mission is to mentally as well as physically forget that i ever had asthma. I WILL make it a thing of the past, with the continued help from POWERbreathe.


Josephine Gull – POWERbreathe breathing techniques training 3 weeks in

Winter training 3 weeks in

Time flies when you are having fun. I am already at the end of week 3 and my endurance and strength just keep on improving. Monday I managed to move up to slightly heavier weights for the legs and at the end of the training, doing 2×300, they were still going strong. Tuesday I overcame a major mental obstacle by completing 9 full 500s on the track with little rest between runs and this evening I overcame the physical obstacles too. I no longer had the mental obstacle, but because of pain on the outside of my feet for the past two days, I now had yet another physical one. The only way to overcome the pain was to keep up a fast pace all the way through and it went surprisingly well. Despite my left calf being full and hard from the start, I managed to push out it all the way to the finish. The rests were the most painful and I never thought I would see the day I that would actually rather run another 300 straight after than to first rest. That was a big enough victory for me. Adversity can make you stronger, teach you things, and if you learn from it and use it to your advantage, you will come out of it much stronger than you entered it. After this week, I don’t think I’ll ever look at the track the same way again; was it always that small and was 300 always that short? 🙂

POWERbreathe training week 3

I used my Ironman Plus (heavy resistance) to train my lungs on my training free day, but since Monday and Tuesday took its toll on the entire body and I was recovering, I turned it down by 1/4 to level 2.25 to get in a good breathing session and keep correct breathing techniques. When you are tired, don’t push for maximum because bad form will break you down instead of building you up; when you do it wrong you feel it clearly in places where you should not and you risk hurting yourself. Don’t get me wrong, you should push your limits, but not all the time. Giving a little now and then wont hurt and on days you feel strong and rested you can go ahead and challenge yourself.

Warm-up & cool down

Before every training session I use the POWERbreathe as a pre-warm-up and after as a post-cool down. This week, even though I only got in one real POWERbreathe session, I actually used it a lot;  warming up and cooling down with it every training. Warming up and having the energy to cool down with it does require some discipline, but the benefits are almost immediate and significant. Speed skaters use them straight after (many have special breathers with pure oxygen to speed up the process) and claim to recover faster with than without. I certainly got the message loud and clear this evening when my lungs could handle more right from the start. During the runs my breathing was more efficient and I managed to stay relaxed even when I got tired. I also made a big discovery; even though my mouth and throat was dry from the many runs, I was not short of breath, I no longer suffered from mild throw ups and uncontrolled stomach muscle contractions. Before, I would always put a peppermint in my mouth to prevent this from happening, because the mint tricks the brain into thinking that there’s fluid and that the mouth is no longer dry and your body no longer thirsty. This is great, because now I can leave the peppermint rolls at home and go as far, as long and as fast as I want without being stopped in my tracks 🙂 It is amazing how small things can make such a big difference.

That was it for now. Check back at the end of next week for part 3. Keep it fun & may the force be with you! 🙂


Breathlessness and breathing difficulties when swimming

One of the best forms of exercises to improve and maintain your fitness levels is swimming. However swimming requires good breathing techniques and an overall efficient lung function. Breathlessness and breathing difficulties occur in swimming at different stages in your life. Breathing problems also have different fitness and health implications that depend on your age and swimming ability.

Basics of breathing

So here is the science. Water is much denser than air which means your chest will be somewhat compressed. To overcome this you need to consciously exhale while under water. You may have a feeling of panic as you may feel constraint while under water but this will pass as you become more confident and you will lessen the likelihood of hyperventilating or holding your breath as a reaction to stress.  By blowing out in the water slowly, immediately after inhaling gives you some sense of control.  By regulating your breathing pattern you will ensure a steady supply of oxygen. This is critical for aerobic metabolism.

Technique-Related Problems

To be able to breathe with ease while in the swimming pool, you need to improve your stroke and breathing technique. This is done by rotating your body in the direction you intend to breathe. By doing this it means your head is in the right position to take a breath – just above the surface of the water.  Do not make the mistake of straining to lift your head out of the water or wait to exhale just before taking a breath in as this will tire you and cause you difficulty taking a full breath. It is also critical that you time your breathing correctly especially if you are swimming freestyle. The correct technique is to take your breath just as your stroke arm leaves the water at your hip.

Fitness-Related Problems

Difficulty catching your breath after a particularly intense set might only mean you need better conditioning. Hypoxic or breath-control training is helpful for the younger racers who are training to withstand race conditions, but the benefits are not so clear for older swimmers. Increased lung function, comes with steady and continued workouts.

Health-Related Problems

Asthma is another respiratory condition which makes breathing difficult. Exercise-induced asthma can result from an aggravation of an existing condition or from sensitivity to the chemicals used in, and produced by, the pool disinfection process. Cardiovascular problems also cause feelings of breathlessness and shortness of breath. Lung damage due to smoking is another cause of having difficulty breathing while swimming. Anaemia caused by vitamin deficiency and other conditions can also result in you having difficulty breathing or getting enough air into the lungs. If you do suffer from respiratory conditions then it is important to learn how to breathe correctly while swimming otherwise it will be a constant struggle.


How to breathe when you are short of breath

Short of breath is also known as suffering from dyspnoea or suffering from breathing difficulties. In fact if you suffer from any respiratory condition you are more than likely to be short of breath.  Being short of breath can have serious repercussions for your health if not addressed.  Not everyone knows or recognises the symptoms of a person suffering from shortness of breath, so here are the common signs and symptoms:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Breathing through pursed lips
  • Constant feeling of being winded or unable to speak
  • Sitting down with hands on your knees
  • Using chest and neck muscles to breathe

However, adopting some breathing techniques can help you breathe more efficiently. One of the most common breathing exercises is breathing through pursed lips.  When breathing through pursed lips you are using less energy to breathe and you can relax too.  If you are short of breath, pursed lip breathing helps you slow down the pace of your breathing making you feel less short of breath.

If you do any activity that makes you short of breath you should always use pursed lip breathing. These activities include:

  • Exercising
  • Bending
  • Lifting
  • Climbing stairs

Pursed lip breathing should be practised frequently and can be done anywhere at any time.  However, try and practice the technique at least 4-5 times a day particularly when you are:

  • Watching television
  • Using your computer
  • Reading a book or magazine

How do I practice pursed lip breathing

Pursed lip breathing is very simple to do and requires little or no effort.  However, you need to be totally relaxed, especially your neck and shoulder muscles. You also need to be sitting comfortably in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground.  So, here are the steps in order:

  1. Breathe in (inhale) very slowly through your nose for two counts.
  2. As you breathe in you should feel your tummy get tighter.
  3. Pucker your lips as though you are going to blow or whistle.
  4. Breathe out (exhale) slowly through your lips for four or more counts.

It is important you should exhale normally and do not force the air out.  It is equally important that you do not hold your breath when you are practising pursed lip breathing.  These steps should be repeated until your breathing slows down. Pursed lip breathing is great for people who suffer from short of breath symptoms and for people with respiratory conditions.

POWERbreathe Tips – as submitted by you

If you would like to submit a tip, please email enquiries@powerbreathe.com

Stick with POWERbreathe

Stick with it as after the first 5 days it starts to become a habit!. Up to level 9 after 8 weeks with increased Heart Rate and Onset Blood Lactate Accumulation (OBLA). Submitted by Simon Vincent, Totally Cycling Performance. Simon will be sending us a great blog next week so keep an eye out for that one 🙂

PB workout for advanced athletes

5min warmup on 50%, 10min on 75% with a 5/3 – inhale/exhale rhytm, 5min on 80% with 5/2 rhytm, 5min on 75% with a 3/2 rhytm, than 5min on 50% cooldown it is like a Tempo run then a bit of climbing then back to easier tempo. Quiet challenging, but well worth the effort. Submitted by Levente Dorogi

I think like in every sport, specificity is very important. So if you are a standing athlete – runner or hiker – keep on using standing, if you are a paddler seated or kneeled positions are more beneficial. And just popped into my mind, how brilliant tool it is for wheelchair athletes to improve their breathing efficiency. I have to advise the same things, like every coach does. Gradual, patient build up will lead to higher performance, and shorter recoveries. Submitted by Levente Dorogi

If you start off with a Level 5 at the first time and do 50breaths probably next day you won’t have the strength to do it all over again. I think a good way to start is to chose a level what you can use for 1minute, comfortably, twice a day. Then every week add quarter twist on the adjuster, and add 30sec to your time.After 1 month you can incorporate the RM type of workouts, but don’t start with 1 RM and make your lungs collapse. The 20-30RM is a good start, and never go to total failure. Later you can mix up workouts: for instance in a kind of interval session: Warmup – 40RM-10RM-40RM-10RM – Cooldown 50% of your regular PB strength. (RM: Repetition MAX: for instance : 30RM = A level where you can do 30 reps maximum, not more – in our case aim for 33-34 and stop at 30, don’t go to failure). Submitted by Levente Dorogi

You have to experience how many breaths you can do on each level to set up a training like that, but the first month of introductory period is perfect for experimenting.  I am using the POWERbreathe Plus: I know that my 10RM is Level 6-6.5, 20RM is Level 5, 30-40RM is Level 4, and that is the breaking point as on Level 3-3.5 I can train for up to 15minutes. Sometimes I do my core workout and Pilates with the POWERbreathe in my mouth, and use very light SUB Level 2 resistance. Submitted by Levente Dorogi

I also incorporated ‘PB’ into my training: 50breaths before workout as Warming Up on a medium level and 8min as a cooldown after training on 50% of my average training level. I do my stretching before the ‘PB’ cooldown as the 8min standing would stiffen up my muscles. Submitted by Levente Dorogi

My next step is to include ‘PB’ into my Track Sessions. I am starting doing it next week. Cannot wait the effects.(In my opinion even if ‘PB’ cannot claim that it can positively effect VO2max, for the moment, during long term usage it will be inevitable) Submitted by Levente Dorogi

For correct breathing practice

I intend to use the Powerbreathe for ‘fitness and sports performance’, so I will gradually keep increasing the setting until I do find failure, but I am not rushing up the scale because I want to achieve good breathing practice, rather than just a high setting. As some of my sessions didn’t start particularly well in terms of the correct breathing practice I now do what could be called a ‘warm up’. I do 15 correct breaths without the Powerbreathe, this reminds me how I should breathe and perhaps in some small way does prepare the muscles for some harder work when using the Powerbreathe. I find this gives me a much better start to the 30 training breaths. Submitted by Phil Bradbury

Half a turn can make a substantial difference

Depending upon which model of POWERbreathe you have, half a turn can make a substantial difference.

You need to think of the load as having threshold properties. In other words, a relatively small increase in load can tip the muscles over the edge into a state of fatigue.

For example, if you are running close to your best 10k speed, just think about how much difference a 0.5 kph increase in running speed makes to the tolerability of that run. The run becomes non-sustainable and you have to stop or slow down.
Submitted by Alison McConnell, Professor of Applied Physiology Centre for Sports Medicine & Human Performance, Brunel University

Suggested POWERbreathe training for runners

Non-running day: 30 breaths on POWERbreathe twice daily (morning and evening).

Running days: use the POWERbreathe warm-up immediately prior to your run, then do 1 set of 30 breaths at the training load within 30 minutes of completing the run.

Also consider some core training.
Submitted by Alison McConnell, Professor of Applied Physiology Centre for Sports Medicine & Human Performance, Brunel University