Could POWERbreathe Help You to Better Sports Performance and Health?

What is POWERbreathe?

POWERbreathe is designed to reduce breathlessness, improve fitness and maximise sports performance – all in less than 5 minutes a day.  It boasts giving less breathlessness in 3 weeks and better stamina in 4 weeks.

It is a handheld breathing muscle trainer.  The manufacturers say that it works for everyone no matter how fit or unfit you are and even Olympic athletes use it.

The POWERbreathe device is a valve system giving a calibrated load to breathe against.  Breathing in (inhaling) against the load/resistance forces the valve to open and this exercises the breathing muscles.  The calibration allows you to increase or decrease the resistance making it harder or easier.

The mouthpiece is latex-free.

What does that mean in real life?

To a greater or lesser extent we exercise most of the muscles in our bodies on a daily basis just through moving about and our daily activities.  If we’re involved in fitness at any level then the more cardiovascular exercise we do, the better our lungs are at getting oxygen in for the heart to pump around the body.

You’ll know if you’ve ever got out of breath before your muscles tire out that it seems as if our lungs are trying to keep up.

The POWERbreathe somewhat turns this on its head.  By training the breathing muscles, fitness gets easier and we can therefore do more and work harder, which helps the lungs get stronger etc.  Like this:

So it doesn’t matter what kind of sport you do (or don’t do), the POWERbreathe is designed to improve general wellness as well as assist in fitness.

How does POWERbreathe work?

There’s a diagram of the chest and breathing muscles here.

from jerichoschools.org

The main muscles involved in breathing are the intercostal muscles (the muscles between the ribs) and the diaphragm.

In short, when you breathe the intercostal muscles lift the ribs up and out like a bucket handle, and the diaphragm pulls tight and flattens down.  This creates your inspiratory breath: the lungs fill with oxygen which is then pumped round the body by the heart.

If these muscles are weak then you won’t be able to fill the lungs as well; you have less circulating oxygen and this is causes breathlessness. But strengthen the breathing muscles and you will feel less breathless and more able to exercise harder and faster.

The POWERbreathe is therefore like dumbbells for the breathing muscles.

The science behind POWERbreathe.

Professor Alison McConnell is a sports scientist at Brunel University.  She was interested in why older people get more breathless as they get older and we know that muscles get weaker as we age.  Her research question was ‘if we could train the breathing muscles of older people, would they become less breathless?’  The answer was that they did and the POWERbreathe proves that the same is true for all of us.

Inspiratory muscle weakness is a significant contributory factor to breathlessness in many diseases. Rigorous testing and validation means that the POWERbreathe Medic is now licensed for prescription use in the UK for patients with breathlessness, asthma, COPD and emphysema, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, neuromuscular disease, Parkinson’s disease and spinal injury.  I’ll be talking about POWERbreathe and asthma in a future post.

The POWERbreathe Classic was the original design and this has been updated to give the POWERbreathe Plus.  The POWERbreathe Kinetic is a digital version.

Who will benefit from POWERbreathe?

The short answer is ‘anyone with lungs’.  If you are a:

  • Singer
  • Musician
  • Actor
  • Healthy senior
  • Person with a sedate or sedentary lifestyle
  • Person with an active lifestyle
  • Amateur or professional athlete
  • Casual fitness follower or play any sport at all
  • Ironman or Irongirl
  • Asthma, COPD, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, neuromuscular disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal injury patient.
  • However…

Who should NOT use POWERbreathe?

POWERbreathe is not for some people with certain conditions.  If you have or have a history of:

  • An unexplained collapsed lung (spontaneous pneumothorax)
  • Collapse lung due to an injury that hasn’t healed, such as a broken rib
  • A burst eardrum that hasn’t healed
  • Head cold or upper respiratory tract infection or sinusitis.
  • Also the manufacturers advise that it’s not for unsupervised use if you’re under 16 years old.
  • If you are on respiratory or heart medication, don’t stop or alter your doses etc without discussing with your doctor.

How to use POWERbreathe.

In 30 breaths twice a day, the POWERbreathe helps you to less breathlessness and better stamina.

So –

  1. Start at the lowest setting which is 0 on the calibrated scale.
  2. Stand comfortably and upright, relaxing the shoulders.
  3. Put the POWERbreathe mouthpiece in your mouth and let a full breath out
  4. Then take a sharp and deep breath in and relax and breathe out more slowly.
  5. Stand in front of a mirror if this helps.

You will feel/see the muscles in the neck and shoulders tighten as you breathe in, which is natural.  You should see the tummy pop out and the chest lift as you breathe in.

  1. Continue for 30 breaths without stopping if you can, or keep practising until you can achieve this.  Do this twice a day.
  2. Increase the load adjustment as you find that you can do 30+ breaths easily.
  3. Continue this for 6 weeks.

Find out how the POWERbreathe works in the real world on the POWERbreathe blog.

Elspeth Raisbeck

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