I am an asthmatic prone to bronchitis and debilitating migraines induced by sinusitis.
A year and half ago I got pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, and my asthma flared up and stay flared. I was weeks using a nebulizer to get the asthma under control.
My oxygen consumption level was in the low 80 percent range. My heart had to work harder to get the oxygen I needed. As a result my blood pressure rose, and my resting pulse was twenty beats per minute higher. I was listless and constantly tired.
Forced expiratory volume (FEV) measures how much air a person can exhale during a forced breath. My FEV test was one long wheeze. I was a mess.
My oxygen consumption level is now in the high nineties, where it should be. My blood pressure and resting pulse are the lowest they have been in decades, and I am 35 pounds lighter (that comes from diet).
My FEV measurement is now above average for my age with asthma, above average for my age without asthma, and my doctor says it is the highest it has been in 10 years. I asked him how he would characterize that result. He said, “Remarkable”.
For more than a year now I have been doing high intensity interval sprint training (HIIT) on a bike twice a week along with a weekly 22-24 minute high intensity interval strength training session. When I first started doing the eight sprints it took me 29 minutes to complete, and it was very difficult. I would not start the next sprint until my pulse returned to a specified reasonable rate. It now takes me 19 minutes - same exact protocol, same difficulty level, and the same RPMs – and it is a comparative breeze.
In total, factoring out sick times, vacations, and life in general it comes to about 48 hours of exercise in a year.
Is there a study showing improvement for other asthmatics doing high intensity interval training? Yes - the effect of interval training in children with exercise-induced asthma competing in soccer.