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Hypoxic Exercise Training to Improve Exercise Capacity in Overweight Individuals

17 Sep 2020
Randall Cooper
Hypoxic exercise, otherwise known as oxygen-deprived exercise, has gained a lot of attention in recent years as a way of boosting performance by adapting the human body to reduced oxygen, effectively teaching it to do more with less. You may have noticed Olympic athletes or elite football clubs flocking to the mountains to get their fix of low-oxygen, high-altitude training in search for that extra performance edge.

One study just published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise tested hypoxic training’s efficacy in improving the health status of overweight individuals compared to regular training. 

It compared the two training regimes by dividing twenty-three participants into two groups; with group one (11 men and one woman) conducting an eight-week hypoxic exercise program while group two (eight men and three women) conducted a ‘normal’ (normoxic) exercise program of the same length. Training included three sessions per week with constant load cycling at 75% maximal heart rate and arterial oxygen saturation rate of 80% for the HET group. 

The study evaluated the participants before and after each training session, assessing measures including their insulin and lipid profile, blood NO metabolites and oxidative stress, MRI body composition scans and participants’ performance in incremental maximal and submaximal cycling tests.

The results? 

The hypoxic exercise regime was shown to be effective. Group one displayed significantly better peak oxygen consumption and maximal power output compared to the group that exercised normally. However, no difference was found between the groups in terms of their vascular function, metabolic status and body composition. 

This study provides a good indication that combining exercise training with hypoxic exposure may increase the health benefits of exercise for overweight individuals.

Link to study: Click Here.

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