In recent years, a unique training method called intermittent hypoxic/ hyperoxic training has gained attention for its potential benefits on both physical and mental health. While it may sound complex, this training technique offers a simple yet effective way to enhance your overall wellbeing. In this article, we’ll explore the positive effects of intermittent hypoxic/hyperoxic training and why you might want to consider incorporating it into your routine.
What is Intermittent Hypoxic/ Hyperoxic Training?
Intermittent hypoxic/hyperoxic training involves exposing your body to alternating periods of reduced oxygen (hypoxic) and increased oxygen (hyperoxic) levels. It helps the body to enhance the performance of many bodily systems and to increase the oxygenation across the body. The more commonly known name for this training is altitude training. This can be achieved through various methods, such as using specialised equipment or training in high-altitude environments. Here at BodyMindBrain we use CellGym, a German made specialist system, which uses real time biofeedback to make sure that the training is safe and tailored to your body’s response. The real beauty of this approach is that it provides a wide array of benefits for wellbeing and performance while relaxing in a chair.
If you look of the major scientific search databases you will see many thousands of research papers studying this approach and reporting many benefits for the body and mind. Some of these are listed below:
Physical Benefits of Intermittent Hypoxic/ Hyperoxic Training
1. Enhanced Athletic Performance: Intermittent hypoxic/hyperoxic training has been shown to improve endurance, strength, and overall athletic performance. By challenging your body’s ability to adapt to varying oxygen levels, this training method stimulates the production of new red blood cells and enhances oxygen utilisation, leading to increased stamina and improved exercise capacity.
2. Accelerated Recovery: This training technique promotes efficient recovery after intense workouts or physical exertion. By optimizing oxygen delivery to your muscles and tissues, it helps reduce muscle soreness, inflammation, and oxidative stress. This means you’ll bounce back faster, allowing you to train more consistently and achieve your fitness goals.
3. Increased mitochondrial density: Mitochondria are the “powerhouses” of cells that generate energy. Intermittent hypoxic/hyperoxic training may promote an increase in mitochondrial density and oxidative enzymes, improving the efficiency of energy production in cells.
4. Increased antioxidant defense: Intermittent hypoxic/hyperoxic training can trigger the body’s antioxidant defense system, leading to increased production of enzymes that protect against oxidative stress. This can potentially reduce the risk of cellular damage and inflammation.
5. Weight Management: Intermittent hypoxic/hyperoxic training can support weight management efforts. The increased oxygen consumption during training sessions boosts your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories both during and after the training. This is very helpful for people who have been injured and unable to train for a period of time or for those just getting back into an exercise regime. Additionally, the improved endurance and stamina can motivate you to engage in longer and more intense workouts, further contributing to weight loss or maintenance.
Mental Health Benefits
1. Improved Cognitive Function: The brain relies heavily on oxygen to function optimally. By enhancing oxygen delivery to the brain, intermittent hypoxic/ hyperoxic training has been linked to improved cognitive function, including enhanced memory, attention, and mental clarity. This can positively impact your performance at work or school and boost overall brain health.
2. Stress Reduction: Intermittent hypoxic/ hyperoxic training has stress-reducing effects on both the body and mind. By improving your body’s ability to adapt to stressors, this training method helps regulate stress hormones, such as cortisol, and promotes a sense of calm and relaxation. It can also improve sleep quality, further supporting your mental wellbeing.
3. Mood Enhancement: Engaging in intermittent hypoxic/ hyperoxic training releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones that contribute to a positive mood and a sense of well-being. Regular training sessions can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, boost self-confidence, and promote an overall positive outlook on life.
4. Sleep quality: Adequate sleep is crucial for wellbeing, and some studies suggest that intermittent hypoxic/hyperoxic can help improve sleep quality. Better sleep can have a positive impact on mood, cognition, and overall mental well-being.
Getting Started with Intermittent Hypoxic/ Hyperoxic Training
If you’re considering incorporating intermittent hypoxic/ hyperoxic training into your health routine, there are a few options available. You can train at specialised facilities equipped with hypoxic or hyperoxic chambers, or you can explore natural high-altitude environments for outdoor workouts. If you live at sea level then your best option is to attend a centre with a hypoxic/ hyperoxic system such as BodyMindBrain. As wit hall health and wellbeing interventions it will be important to ask questions and find out if the approach is right for you and if there are any contraindications according to your current health and fitness condition.
Remember, consistency is key. Start gradually and allow your body to adapt to the training conditions over time. We recommend 10 training sessions as the initial start point. Whether you’re an athlete looking to enhance performance, someone seeking mental health support, or simply interested in optimising your overall wellbeing, intermittent hypoxic/hyperoxic training can be a valuable addition to your fitness and wellness journey.
Intermittent hypoxic/ hyperoxic training offers a unique and scientifically-backed approach to improving both physical and mental health. By challenging your body’s response to varying oxygen levels, this training technique can enhance the efficiency of many physical systems and support athletic performance, accelerate recovery, boost cognitive function, reduce stress, and enhance mood. Consider incorporating intermittent hypoxic/ hyperoxic training into your routine with the guidance of a professional and unlock the potential for a healthier, more vibrant you.