WHAT IS RESPIRATORY FITNESS? HOW IS IT RESPIRATORY FITNESS RELATED TO CARDIO FITNESS?
RF is the ability to maintain adequate to excellent internal chemistry (CO2 levels, pH levels) associated with breathing in spite of all the stress or joy we encounter day and night. RF Training builds one’s CO2 adaptation level. CO2 adaptation is the ability to handle additional carbon dioxide in the blood and airways. As such, receptors and breathing mechanisms acclimate to CO2 hence delaying the brainstem’s trigger to “take the next breath”. Breathing rate and heart rate relax and slow down, as does the ageing process. When CO2 adaptation is sub-par, respiratory fitness is sub-par. Internal chemistry (pH, electrolyte balance, oxyhemoglobin affinity) is then much more likely to be thrown out of balance and cause physiological stress. Left unchecked, the stress contributes to a progression toward symptoms, illness and disease. RF Training and/or capnometry training serve to rebalance internal chemistry by training in higher CO2 adaptation capacity.
RF is correlated to but not the same as cardio fitness. If short of breath while walking or climbing a flight or two of stairs, this is a sign of respiratory fatigue. It is a sign that respiratory fitness is not in place. Cardio fitness training does not guarantee respiratory fitness. Despite having decent aerobic health, marathon runners are also susceptible to an over-breathing habit that can throw physiology out of whack. That said, a healthy breathing habit while exercising will build CO2 adaptation so that respiratory fitness improves naturally along with cardio fitness. The breathing health quiz will help you discern your RF level. Whether short of breath on a regular basis going or an Olympic athlete, your breathing.coach can help you determine a safe but expeditious way of building RF for better health and performance.
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