Respiratory Adaptations to Exercise Training

Longevity Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain and Bella Vista previously discussed what the respiratory responses to an exercise training bout are. Today, we further explore the respiratory adaptations to long term exercise training.

Regular cardiovascular training and strength training, in particular endurance training, help to create and increase in the maximal rate of pulmonary ventilation with improvements in tidal volume, respiration rate and V02max.

Lets take a look at each component in detail:

Changes in heart rate

With exercise, your heart rate will rise to increase the blood flow through your body, transporting carbon dioxide and oxygen. This requires your heart to beat stronger, and therefore your cardiac output increases to deal with an increase in workload. However, over time, as the heart becomes more efficient, you will require less ‘effort’ for the same exercise bout.

Efficiency of lungs

The ability of the lungs to expand enabling more air to move in and out occurs with regular exercise training and therefore the overall efficiency of your lungs improve. The benefit comes mainly due to your lungs now delivering more oxygen to the cells of the body. Regular exercise increases blood flow, strengthening your lungs and ensures better exchange of gases.

Respiratory muscles

Just as doing squats regularly will increase your leg muscles, regular cardiovascular training helps to strengthen the diaphragm and intercostal muscles. This results in an improved ability to breathe in more air, for longer with less fatigue.

Gas exchange

Regular aerobic training can improve the efficiency of your body’s tissues to absorb oxygen and remove carbon dioxide in the body.

VO2 max

VO2max improves as a result of an increased cardiac output, increased red blood cell numbers, increased muscle and alveoli capillarisation, increased gas exchange, increased oxygen utilisation and an increase in carbon dioxide excretion.

Increased Anaerobic and Aerobic Threshold

As a result of improved oxygen delivery, you will be able to reach higher exercise intensities and/or workload before reaching your threshold; the point where oxygen supply can’t keep up with oxygen demand.

Overall, with regular cardiovascular and endurance training, your body will become more efficient, allowing you to be able to do more ‘work’ until you reach your threshold. Alternatively, the increase in respiratory adaptations will allow for less demand on the body for the same exercise bout.

For further information or a free 15 minute phone consultation, please call Longevity Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain and Bella Vista on 1300 964 002.

Written by Angela Vitucci

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