Objective: To assess the breathing patterns of trained athletes under different conditions. The hypothesis is that the breathing pattern during a progressive treadmill exercise is independent of the protocol, at least in healthy people, and can be assessed using a nomogram.
Methods: A total of 43 male and 21 female athletes from different sports were studied. They performed one of two different protocols (steps or ramp) on a treadmill. The two protocols started at the same speed and had the same rate of increase in work. During the test, the expired air was analysed for CO2 and O2. Ventilation (VE) was continuously recorded, and tidal volume (Vt) and breathing frequency (BF) at the same intensity were analysed for both protocols, as well as Vt/Ti and Ti/Ttot.
Results: No significant differences were observed in Vt and BF between the two protocols in either the men or women at any level (confidence intervals up to 0.958 in all the groups). Ti/Ttot remained constant, and all increases in VE were strongly related to the respective increases in Vt/Ti. Plots of data for men and women showed a curvilinear relation between Vt and BF which could be fitted with an exponential function with a strong correlation (R2 = 0.98 for men and 0.97 for women).
Conclusions: Graphic expression of Vt v BF is a useful nomogram for the routine assessment of ventilatory response during exercise in healthy trained subjects.
- BF, breathing frequency
- Ti, inspiratory time
- Ttot, total respiratory time
- VE, ventilation
- Vt, tidal volume
- breathing patterns
- respiratory adaptation
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Competing interests: none declared