Doctor says asthmatic's improvement using high intensity interval training is remarkable

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.

Is there a personal training facility specializing in HIIT using bikes and strength training? Yes - our Austin Personal Trainers facility! 

Brief Bouts of High Intensity Training Improves Maximal Oxygen Uptake

From this study, Low-and High-Volume of Intensive Endurance Training Significantly Improves Maximal Oxygen Uptake after Ten Weeks of Training in Healthy Men comes this quote:

“Our study demonstrated that slightly overweight and healthy individuals only required brief, duration bouts of exercise with good effort three times a week, to produce large increases in VO2max and work economy and reduce blood pressure and fasting glucose levels.”

And this:

“The present study demonstrates that a relatively intense stimulus administered only once and for a relatively short duration can substantially improve VO2max and work economy. A single bout of 4-minute interval training three times per week will not solve all lifestyle-related problems for people already obese or overweight, and it is not the only solution for inactive persons with a BMI below 25.”

In the study one group of men performing just one high intensity session three times a week (walking, jogging, or running on a treadmill) for 10 weeks saw a VO2max increase of 10%, and the other group that did four sprints three times a week experienced a boost of 13%.

This protocol of four bursts is called the 4x4 12-minute workout. Other protocols are the Tabata protocol (20 seconds of intense work, followed by 10 seconds of rest for eight cycles), the Timmons protocol (20 seconds of cycling at total effort followed by 2 minutes of gentle cycling), and the Gibala protocol (60 seconds of work at 95% VO2max with 75 seconds of rest repeated for 8 to 12 cycles).

There are an infinite number of possible high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that can be performed. They cannot be both long and intense. Done right they will be brief and intense. You will have to build up to this. AtAustin Personal Training and at New Orleans Fitness Trainers we can help you gradually build up to a high intensity regime that is safe, effective, and efficient for your age and condition. You need not spend hours in the gym to feel better, look better, and perform better.