Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) is a lung disease characterized by difficultly in breathing and the respiratory muscle strength and endurance is often reduced in these patients. Earlier research has shown that high-intensity training is effective in increasing the strength and endurance of respiratory muscles of COPD patients, thereby treating their breathing problems. However, it was found that this intense training is difficult for the patient, and this has prompted researchers in Perth to conduct a study to see if short, high-intensity training sessions could help COPD patients.
For the study, nine subjects with COPD completed eight weeks of respiratory muscle training combined with a general exercise program. The training included 20-minute sessions, three times a week, where the participant did intense bouts of breathing into a machine. The respiratory strength and endurance were measured during the training period. It was found that just after one week of training the breathing pressures of the participants had improved to 68 per cent of the maximum and by the eighth week, it was 95 per cent of the maximum. The researchers also reported that the respiratory endurance of the participants had also improved. The researchers thus concluded that high-intensity, interval-based training is feasible and effective for patients with COPD.