Respiratory muscle endurance training reduces the O2 cost of cycling and perceived exertion in obese adolescents

Desy Salvadego, Alessandro Sartorio, Fiorenza Agosti, Gabriella Tringali, Alessandra Patrizi, Miriam Isola, Antonella LoMauro, Andrea Aliverti, Bruno Grassi

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In obesity, the increased O2 cost of breathing negatively affects the O2 cost of exercise and exercise tolerance. The purpose of the study was to determine whether, in obese adolescents, the addition of respiratory muscle endurance training (RMET) (isocapnic hyperpnea) to a standard body mass reduction program decreases the O2 cost of exercise and perceived exertion. Nine male obese adolescents [16.0 ± 1.4 yr (x ± SD), body mass 114.4 ± 22.3 kg] underwent 3 wk of RMET (5 days/week) in addition to a standard body mass reduction program. Eight age- and sex-matched obese adolescents underwent only the standard program (CTRL). Before and after interventions, patients performed on a cycle ergometer: incremental exercise; 12-min exercises at a constant work rate (CWR) of 65% and 120% at the gas exchange threshold (GET) determined before the intervention. Breath-by-breath pulmonary ventilation (VE) and O2 uptake (VO2), heart rate (HR), and ratings of perceived exertion for dyspnea/respiratory discomfort (RPER) and leg effort (RPEL) were determined. Body mass decreased (by ~3.0 kg) after both RMET (P = 0.003) and CTRL (P = 0.002). Peak VO2 was not affected by both interventions. Peak work rate was slightly, but significantly (P = 0.04), greater after RMET but not after CTRL. During CWR < GET, no changes were observed after both interventions. During CWR > GET, the O2 cost of cycling at the end of exercise (P = 0.02), the slope of VO2 vs. time (3-12 min) (P = 0.01), RPER (P = 0.01), and RPEL (P = 0.01) decreased following RMET, but not following CTRL. HR decreased after both RMET (P = 0.02) and CTRL (P = 0.03), whereas VE did not change. In obese adolescents RMET, superimposed on a standard body mass reduction program, lowered the O2 cost of cycling and perceived exertion during constant heavy-intensity exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R487-R495
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 9 2017



  • O cost of breathing
  • O cost of cycling
  • Perceived exertion
  • Respiratory muscle endurance training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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