We often detail the known benefits of physical exercise, but many older adults, and some young people too, struggle to meet the recommendations of maintaining an aerobic routine.

New research finds advantage of high resistance inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST) to help this population transition to a healthier lifestyle. The study will be presented this week at the 2022 American Physiological Society in Experimental Biology annual meeting.

Although exercise reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases that come with aging, a 2016 study found that 28% of American adults age 50 and older were physically inactive.

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“Develop new forms of physical training that increase adherence and improve physical function They are essential to reduce the risk of chronic diseases with aging. High-resistance IMST may be one such strategy to promote adherence and improve multiple components of health in midlife and older adults,” explains lead investigator Kaitlin Freeberg.

What is High Endurance Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST)?

IMST involves inhaling through a handheld device called manual breathing trainer which adds resistance to breathing. The research team divided 35 adults age 50 and older into a high-strength control group and a low-strength control group. Both groups used a manual breathing trainer for 30 breaths a day (about five minutes) for six weeks; both groups were able to adhere to the program.

After six weeks, the high-endurance group showed a 12% improvement in a time-to-exhaustion test on the treadmill, while the low-endurance control group showed no change.

The improvement in the high-endurance group also revealed a relationship with changes in 18 metabolites tested in the study, predominantly those that “play key roles in energy production and fatty acid metabolism.”

How to train your breath to improve endurance

“These preliminary findings suggest that 5 minutes per day of high-resistance IMST is a promising and highly adherent mode of physical training that increases exercise tolerance and modulates metabolic pathways in middle-aged and older adults,” Freeberg wrote.

The key to breathing well during exercise

Fatigue of the respiratory muscles causes a mechanical and respiratory limitationespecially in activities that demand great aerobic resistance and long duration.

It is normal that when a physical activity begins, the body looks for the necessary energy to respond to the demand that is being subjected to it. One source of energy is food, which is done prior to exercise. The other is breathing.

“In the beginning one gets tired faster and the incoordination in breathing appears almost immediately. It is advisable to stop, recover and try to recover the rhythm. That is something that is achieved more with practice than with anything else”, says Ángel Santana, bodybuilding instructor and personal trainer.

For the expert, whatever the age, the best thing is that when you start doing physical activity you always have to think first about learn to coordinate breathing than to cover a distance, achieve a certain time or lift more weight.

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