The effect of breathing an ambient low-density, hyperoxic gas on the perceived effort of breathing and maximal performance of exercise in well-trained athletes

Ansley, L., Petersen, D., Thomas, A., St Clair Gibson, A., Robson-Ansley, P. and Noakes, T.D. (2007) The effect of breathing an ambient low-density, hyperoxic gas on the perceived effort of breathing and maximal performance of exercise in well-trained athletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 41(1), pp. 2-7. ISSN (print) 0306-3674

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The role of the perception of breathing effort in the regulation of performance of maximal exercise remains unclear. AIMS: To determine whether the perceived effort of ventilation is altered through substituting a less dense gas for normal ambient air and whether this substitution affects performance of maximal incremental exercise in trained athletes. METHODS: Eight highly trained cyclists (mean SD) maximal oxygen consumption (VO(2)max) = 69.9 (7.9) (mlO(2)/kg/min) performed two randomised maximal tests in a hyperbaric chamber breathing ambient air composed of either 35% O(2)/65% N(2) (nitrox) or 35% O(2)/65% He (heliox). A ramp protocol was used in which power output was incremented at 0.5 W/s. The trials were separated by at least 48 h. The perceived effort of breathing was obtained via Borg Category Ratio Scales at 3-min intervals and at fatigue. Oxygen consumption (VO(2)) and minute ventilation (V(E)) were monitored continuously. RESULTS: Breathing heliox did not change the sensation of dyspnoea: there were no differences between trials for the Borg scales at any time point. Exercise performance was not different between the nitrox and heliox trials (peak power output = 451 (58) and 453 (56) W), nor was VO(2)max (4.96 (0.61) and 4.88 (0.65) l/min) or maximal V(E) (157 (24) and 163 (22) l/min). Between-trial variability in peak power output was less than either VO(2)max or maximal V(E). CONCLUSION: Breathing a less dense gas does not improve maximal performance of exercise or reduce the perception of breathing effort in highly trained athletes, although an attenuated submaximal tidal volume and V(E) with a concomitant reduction in VO(2) suggests an improved gas exchange and reduced O(2) cost of ventilation when breathing heliox.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: induced arterial hypoxemia, respiratory mechanics, ventilatory response, exertion, work, tolerance, reproducibility, exchange, level, he-o2
Research Area: Sports-related studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Science (until 2011)
Faculty of Science (until 2011) > School of Life Sciences
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Depositing User: David Salliss
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2007
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2012 21:55
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/1385

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