Study sheds light on how IMT improves performance in endurance sports

Indiana U. research at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting

An Indiana University study found that strengthening inspiratory muscles by performing daily breathing exercises for six weeks significantly reduced the amount of oxygen these same breathing muscles required during exercise, possibly making more oxygen available for other muscles.

Louise Turner, a researcher in the Department of Kinesiology, said just the act of breathing during an endurance activity, such as running, swimming or cycling performed at maximum intensity, can account for 10 to 15 percent of an athlete's total oxygen consumption. While inspiratory muscle training (IMT) has been shown to improve performance in endurance sports, Turner's study sought to shed light on how IMT does this.

"This study helps to provide further insight into the potential mechanisms responsible for the improved whole-body endurance performance previously reported following IMT," she said.

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