Zansors launches the Respa breath sensor – “the future of fitness wearables”

Personal health analytics brand Zansors has launched a breath sensor that tracks breathing patterns to help athletes and fitness enthusiasts improve their performance.

Called Respa, the sensor is an easy-to-use wearable that clips to clothing and tracks the user’s breathing for the duration of their workout. With the Respa companion app, users can train smarter and practice better as they are given real-time alerts for staying in optimal breathing zones, says Zansors.

Respa is just one in several personal health monitoring sensors that Washington DC-based Zansors has developed in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and academic researchers at University of Michigan. “Together, we’re creating an ecosystem of apps and sensors that capture and interpret the signals the body sends,” the company states on its website.

Zansors says its believes in providing affordable, innovative and personal solutions to help people take charge of their health. Zansors is committed to developing, launching and supporting a complete portfolio of sensor and app products.

Benefits

According to Zansors, the algorithm interprets breathing data collected by sensors to notify in real-time when users should push harder, stay in the “sweet spot”, or slow down for optimal performance. This technology represents the “future of wearable fitness tech”, the company says.

Crossing ventilatory threshold (VT) can damage muscle from lactic acid buildup/overtraining, states Zensors. The company claims that this device can detect when users are nearing this threshold, and it beeps/vibrates in real-time, notifying to dial down or stop training.

Strategies that encourage deep, slow, paced breathing help control respiratory rate changes during activities and are beneficial to extending the duration of an activity prior to reaching VT, thereby maximising the conditioning effect, says Zensors.

Whether training for the first race or just trying to get in better shape, Respa Fitness 2.0 promises to help users build stamina and maximise calorie burn every time they exercise.

The sensor also gives gentle alerts that remind users to come back to their breath during yoga practice, and it provides breathing data visualisations and coaching to help users improve their practice over time, the company says.

Why monitor breathing rate?

Breath is an important monitor of general health, giving indications of lung and heart performance and functionality. It can help athletes improve performance by making them aware of their breathing patterns. It is an effective method for enabling everyday athletes to measure lactic acid and ventilatory threshold levels, arming them with the data needed to avoid overtraining and preventing muscle damage, Zensors says.

Commenting on the results of a 2018 study into the technology, Dr Abhijit Dasgupta, PhD, Zansors’ co-founder and Chief Data Science Officer at Zansors commented: “Lactic acid threshold and ventilatory threshold are commonly used as a reference point for exercise intensity. Measuring an athlete’s lactic acid threshold and ventilatory threshold can prevent overtraining and muscle damage, however, everyday athletes do not typically have access to these levels without going to a lab.

“The goal of this study was to understand just how effective an everyday wearable sensor like Respa could be in providing athletes with this type of insight – during their workouts.”

During the study – carried out at Winthrop University, South Carolina, scientists studied six athletes on a treadmill wearing a RESPA breathing sensor. They progressively increased the incline of a treadmill, then used laboratory equipment to measure breathing and heart rate to determine when ventilatory threshold was attained.

Scientists discovered that acoustic breathing signals detected by Respa show a signature pattern when the athlete reaches ventilatory threshold, Zansors said. This is characterised by a small decrease in signal followed by a rapid increase; the characteristic dip in signal occurs roughly a minute before VT is reached.

By detecting this pattern, Respa can quickly notify athletes that they are close to hitting their ventilatory threshold, thus enabling them to immediately shift exercise intensity and delay the onset of the ventilatory threshold. Moreover, once VT is reached during these experiments, the signal continues to rise rapidly.

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