The below study found that lower intensity hypoxic training results in a similar, or greater improvement in body weight and metabolic risk markers compared with normoxic training.

This could be particularly beneficial for obese/overweight patients unable to work at the required intensity at sea level to see these improvements.

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Influences of Normobaric Hypoxia Training on Physical Fitness and Metabolic Risk Markers in Overweight to Obese

Susanne Wiesner (1), Sven Haufe (1), Stefan Engelin (1,2), Harry Mutschler (3), Ute Haas (3), Friedrich C. Luft (1) and Jens Jordan (1,2)
1. Franz Volhard Clinical Research Center at the Experimental and Clinical Research Center, Medical Faculty of the Charité and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany
2. Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
3. Höhenbalance AG, Cologne, Germany

Published online 18 June 2009

Previous studies suggested that hypoxia and exercise may have a synergistic effect on cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors. We conducted a single blind study in overweight to obese subjects to test the hypothesis that training under hypoxia (HG, n= 24, FiO2= 15%) results in similar or even greater improvement in body weight and metabolic risk markers compared with exercise undernormoxia (NG, n= 21, FiO2= 21%).

After an initial metabolic evaluation including incremental exercise testing, subjects trained in normoxic or hypoxic conditions thrice weekly over a 4-week period at a heart rate corresponding to 65% of maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max). The experimental groups were similar at the start of the investigation and weight stable during the training period. Subjects in the hypoxia group trained at a significantly lower workload (P< 0.05). Yet, both groups showed similar improvements in VO2maxand time to exhaustion. Respiratory quotient and lactate at the anaerobic threshold as well as body composition improved more in the hypoxia group. We conclude that in obese subjects, training in hypoxia elicits a similar or even better response in terms of physical fitness, metabolic risk markers, and body composition at a lower workload. The fact that workload and, therefore, mechanic strain can be reduced in hypoxia could be particularly beneficial in obese patients with orthopedic comorbidities.