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This research examined the effects of respiratory-muscle (RM) training on RM function and exercise performance in older women. Twenty-six women (60–69 yr of age) were assessed for spirometry, RM strength (maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressure), inspiratory-muscle endurance, and walking performance to a perceived exertion rating of “hard.” They were randomly allocated to a threshold RM training group (RMT) or a nonexercising control group (CON) for 8 wk. After training, the 22% (inspiratory) and 30% (expiratory) improvements in RM strength in the RMT group were significantly higher than in the CON group (p < .05). The RMT group also displayed several significant performance improvements, including improved within-group treadmill performance time (12%) and reductions in submaximal heart rate (5%), percentage of maximum voluntary ventilation (16%), and perceived exertion for breathing (8%). RM training appears to improve RM function in older women. Furthermore, these improvements appear to be related to improved submaximal exercise performance.
The authors are with the School of Leisure, Sport and Tourism, University of Technology, Sydney, Lindfield, New South Wales 2070 Australia.