Is it possible to physically simulate hypoxic training by doing periodic breath holds or breath regulation during aerobic activity?
Ideally, it ought to be done in a hypobaric/hypoxic chamber whilst strapped to some monitors. But short of that, I can think of two ways -
- While running, every few minutes, I can try to hold my breath for a couple of steps initially and gradually increase it to 8-10 steps
- if I normally run say 6 steps per inhalation+exhalation cycle and I try to increase it to 7 and further on.
What I would like to understand is
- if it will work?
- the risks involved, and how to mitigate them (e.g. a pulse oximeter on a finger to monitor?)
I considered posting this question on the physical fitness SE, but did it here instead considering that I would prefer an answer by someone trained in the medical sciences.
In general, based on past work (ref: 1, 2, 3, and 4) it seems that intermittent hypoxic training is indeed beneficial. But most "professional" work (both researchers and athletes) in the area uses hypoxic chambers - which is not practical for the average internet user.
What is less clear is if breath control is an adequate method of simulating hypoxic training. The only reliable references (the runnbetternow website and an NIH publication by a yoga center) I could find aren't exactly by medical professionals. FWIW, these references are in favor of the method. The question is if medical practitioners agree.
The end goal here is to prepare for mountain activities. As it is not practical to move one's permanent base to a mountain top, one would like to be able to somehow simulate high altitude training whilst still living at sea level. Of course, this will be in addition to (not in lieu of) actually periodically training at altitude.