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Hypoxic conditioning: a novel therapeutic solution for load-compromised individuals to achieve similar exercise benefits by doing less mechanical work!
  1. Olivier Girard1,
  2. Ivana Matic Girard2,
  3. Peter Peeling1,3
  1. 1 School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2 Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  3. 3 Western Australian Institute of Sport, Mt Claremont, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Olivier Girard, School of Human Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6009, Australia; oliv.girard{at}

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Identifying an intervention whereby mechanical loading during aerobic exercise remains low, while metabolic solicitation is elevated, provides an endless challenge for health professionals working with load-compromised individuals. There are many situations where injured athletes (eg, awaiting surgical procedures or within rehabilitative settings) or patients suffering from chronic musculoskeletal disorders (eg, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis) experience difficulties maintaining or regaining fitness via appropriate levels of physical activity. In such individuals, a progressive return to weight-bearing activity can be painful because of excessive plantar and joint loads imposed by ground reaction forces.

Hypoxic conditioning (HC) is defined as an exposure to systemic and/or local hypoxia—that is, a reduced (or insufficient) oxygen (O2) supply to tissues caused by decreases in O2 saturation of arterial blood—at rest (passive) or combined with exercise (active) training.1 Contrasting results have been observed regarding HC studies that prescribed exercise at a set work rate in hypoxia, and then compared this with exercising at the same absolute intensity under normal O2 conditions, for instance, with either greater (ie, reduction in triglycerides, muscle growth) or similar (ie, body mass) cardiometabolic adaptations in overweight individuals or those with obesity.2 Compared with normal O2 conditions, …

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  • Contributors OG drafted the manuscript. IMG drafted figure 1. All authors provided input and approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.