Breath Training for the Heights with Airofit

I first saw Airofit online and immediately thought how interesting – basically lung training from the inside out. If going to high altitude, what could be better?

So many of us do the aerobic training, the weight training, the stretching – but how often do we directly train our lungs, with breathe exercises?

What a novel, yet simple concept.

A dose of training in the desert between the rocks above and flying off over the dunes below. Yes, it’s a real camel, they are everywhere in the United Arab Emirates.

I train however I can, wherever I am living at the time. If there are rocks, great, mountains even better. It isn’t so much training as just getting out and having fun.

Bicycling is always good and a swim in the sea is never to be missed. But it is all external training. It isn’t something that directly impacts and trains my lungs to take in more air quickly, have greater capacity, and then expel it rapidly and get some more.

Breathing is so simple, and so often overlooked. Yet for climbers, and particularly for those hiking or climbing into the heights, it only makes sense. And it isn’t something you have to add another activity, take much time for or even get hot and sweaty doing.

Balancing a bit of beach time, with a sea swim, with upping the ability to take in and expel even more oxygen, more quickly.

So I got an Airofit and started using it.

It was easy, a session or two, 15 minutes a day. And just while sitting around in the mornings or evenings, not while being active.

First, it was a moment in time, where I could focus only on breathing. A break in the day and a moment that was easy to add in.

The app was easy and intuitive, provided lots of options: breathing in circles, in diamonds, and even ‘elevation.’ There was plenty to train with. And ways to make it more challenging.

Then I was three weeks into using Airofit and took a lung test, breathing in deeply, and out deeply. My lung capacity had gone from 5.5 liters up to 8.1 liters in just under a month. That was a lot more air to put it simply. More importantly, I could feel it.

Stronger inhalations, faster exhalations and more powerful breathing. I went from one underwater length of our pool to two, just to test it. Something was certainly working. Logic says that training our lungs like this can only be a good thing. And as a high-altitude climber, more relevant than ever.

More recently, I’ve found the breathing exercises really helped in triathlons, making me faster in the swims with less effort, able to push consistently at a higher pace on the bike and helping to increase my oxygen uptake to keep me moving on the run.

Joys of the desert.

I’m looking forward to a summer season in the Karakoram soon, hiking up the Baltoro Glacier and around the corner to Gasherbrum 2, an 8,035 mètre (26,371 feet) peak tucked right in the heart of a whole rage of rather tall peaks, including K2, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum 1.

En route to Camp 2, on Gasherbrum 2. Karakoram mountains. Photo: David Hamilton

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the ability to take in more air and go up a grade or two at the climbing wall.

If you want the back story on how Airofit went from helping professional singers to helping professional athletes, a short video from the founder is here.

And if you are into the science, you can find that here.

And if like me, you just want to try it out, you can buy one here.

You will get 10% off with the link. If you get up an 8,000 mètre peak without oxygen after using it, I can buy you a beverage in Kathmandu with the small commission I earn.