To determine the effects of long term exercise on respiratory muscle strength, maximal inspiratory (Pl max) and expiratory (PE max) pressures, pulmonary volumes and capacities and anthropometric parameters were measured in a group of 101 male runners aged 16 to 58 years. The runners exhibited significantly (p less than 0.05) lower PE max (202 +/- 41 cm H2O and significantly greater residual lung volumes (RV) (2.08 +/- 0.49 L) than predicted values for normal subjects of similar height and age. Forced vital capacities were not different (p greater than 0.05) from values reported for normal non-smoking populations. These data suggest that running may cause a non-pathological increase in RV, perhaps mediated by reductions in expiratory muscle strength. Additionally, current RV regression equations developed for normal subjects may be inappropriate for use in running populations.
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