Fitness Training And Adaptive Medicine

fitnessHigh altitude training came into its own after the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City where it was recognized that there were conferred a number of physiological advantages to training in a hypoxic (low oxygen) environment. Since then a number of systems for hypoxic training have been developed utilizing hypoxicator type mechanisms that mix different ratios of CO2 and oxygen for inhalation typically in a seated position. Tent type systems allow athletes the option to both train and sleep in a hypoxic environment.

All of these devices have an advantage over high altitude training where it has been found that transient exposure to hypoxia called Intermittent Hypoxic Training IHT yields greater physiological benefits then prolonged hypoxic exposure at high altitudes. IHT is an important component of adaptive medicine included in the Russian Academy of Medical Science that complements the research done with adaptogenic plants, notably Rhodiola and Eluthero. Both adaptogens as either plant based or IHT produce numerous beneficial responses in physiology as a method for increasing endurance.

Using Zamozdrav Breath Balance confers many of the same benefits as physical exercise. In fact, the increase of chronic diseases over the past 100 hundred years is due in part to a decrease in physical labor that characterized rural societies during previous time periods. Both exercise and physical work place a ‘stress’ on the system that allows for higher CO2 levels through increased metabolic ATP activity. As arterial CO2 increases the breathing center will begin to adapt through a slower breathing pattern. This same re-patterning can be induced with breath balance training. However, if your health is very compromised you will be unable to accommodate the increased stress placed on the system from physical exercise.

With sports training, the use of these tools allows a much quicker adaptation to higher CO2 levels similar to high altitude training. One of the more noticeable affects is decreased lactic acid buildup in the muscle tissues (tired, sore, achy) and quicker recovery times. Another affect is increased nose breathing capacity while training. Since lactic acid is a byproduct of anaerobic metabolism, a characteristic of chronic fatigue and exercise induced fatigue, the introduction of breath balance training that increases ATP through aerobic metabolism serves to offset high lactate levels.

When you begin to adapt to higher levels of carbon dioxide this sets into motion a positive feed back loop that has far reaching systemic affects. As CO2 levels in the blood increase you have an immediate impact on the Bohr affect that allows oxygen to be released to the red blood cells normalizing both intra and extracellular PH values. Over time this yields not just greater efficiency in mitochondrial ATP production, but an increase in both the numbers of and size of mitochondria. This is what gives high altitude Sherpas their incredible endurance. Further benefits can also be noted:


  • New capillary formation in heart, brain and skeletal muscles
  • Blood volume increase of 20% to 30%
  • Reduced cholesterol levels in the blood
  • Hemoglobin, myoglobin increase
  • Less muscle fatigue due to decreased levels of lactate build up
  • Increased resistance to any type of stress

It matters little whether we are looking to improve our health and overcome an illness, or improve our performance for a sports event because adaptation to either requires that some type of stressor be placed on the system to push it to a higher level of functioning. This is was is meant by the term adaptive response.

Given that CO2 is the primary catalyst in our system it becomes important to understand how most effectively to utilize an adaptive response to maintain optimal levels carbon dioxide. The reason this is so important is because once our physiology becomes “set” we cannot adapt and we will succumb to the stressor be it a chronic illness or the stress of athletic training. Having the ability to both monitor, and to increase carbon dioxide levels by provoking an adaptive response in the organism through Zamozdrov Breath Balance training allows us to gradually move the CO2/Oxy ‘set point’ thereby restoring homeostasis once again.

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