Nav: Home

Turn up the heat to increase altitude tolerance

May 03, 2016

Altitude training is a popular method for athletes wanting to improve their physical performance. At high altitudes oxygen levels are blood cells. This enables an enhanced performance at lower altitudes because more oxygen can be delivered to the muscles.

Many companies now offer altitude training in specialist chambers (often referred to as normobaric training) as an alternative to lowered so our bodies compensate by increasing the number of red traveling to a high altitude country (hypobaric training), which is costly in terms of both time and money.

New research reported in the open-access journal Frontiers in Physiology, suggests that heat-based exercise can offer a more efficient means of improving altitude tolerance and physical performance than normobaric altitude training can provide.

"We show that when the duration and frequency of training performed in heat or at altitude are the same, the heat-based training can offer a more obtainable and time-efficient method to improving tolerance to altitude," says Dr. Ben J. Lee, who completed this study as part of his PhD research at the University of Coventry. This is the first investigation that compares the effects of heat and low-oxygen training side by side.

Dr. Lee and his co-authors asked a number of male cyclists to perform a time trial and tested their tolerance to low-oxygen levels before and after a series of ten daily 60 minute training sessions in either low-oxygen or hot conditions. In addition, blood samples were taken to see how their cells responded to the different training methods experienced by the cyclists.

The results were very interesting. Heat-based training reduced the physical strain experienced by the cyclists, as measured by their temperature and heart rates, as well as improved their time-trial performance. These positive effects matched those experienced by the cyclists that undertook low-oxygen training. The blood analysis showed that the stress response at a cellular level was also the same, indicating that there was little difference between the two exercise methods.

"There are many companies that provide normobaric altitude training and acclimation sessions prior to completing mountainous treks. However, the evidence that this form of training offers any enhanced adaptation to 'real world' altitude is limited. Therefore people preparing for an altitude trek may be better off training with a heat stimulus rather than paying for expensive altitude sessions," suggests Dr. Lee.

The authors of the study stress there are some limitations to their findings, with the results only relevant to the recreational, rather than high-performance, athlete. In addition, the cyclists were not tested for their performance at high altitudes. "Our results have only been tested using artificial altitude oxygen levels and not real-world altitudes," explains Dr Lee.

While further research is needed, this study clearly indicates that heat-based training may be relevant to athletes and military personnel requiring a time- and cost-efficient way of preparing for high altitudes.

Read the full study in Frontiers in Physiology
-end-


Frontiers

Related Athletes Articles:

Sleep disturbances predict substance use among college athletes
Preliminary results of a new study show that sleep disturbance is strongly related to the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs among student athletes in college.
Study looks at the prevalence, challenges of athletes with ADHD
It's estimated there are more than six million children in the United States with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Athletes' symptom anxiety linked to risk of injury
The anxiety experienced by elite athletes over illness symptoms is linked to the risk of being injured during competition and should be taken seriously, according to a study carried out at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics 2015 and led by researchers at Linköping University, Sweden.
Student-athletes not sleeping enough, intervention could help
Survey results suggest that more than 40 percent of college athletes aren't getting the amount of sleep recommended for healthy adults.
New research on the muscles of elite athletes: When quality is better than quantity
A Danish-Swedish research team working on a project led by University of Southern Denmark has discovered that muscle endurance is not only determined by the number of mitochondria, but also their structure.
Detecting a new doping trend among Olympic athletes
Olympics officials already contending with the illegal use of steroids among athletes are now being proactive about a potential new trend in performance enhancement: gene doping.
Robot therapist hits the spot with athletes
Trials of a prototype robot for sports therapy have just begun in Singapore, to create a high quality and repeatable treatment routine to improve sports recovery, reducing reliance on trained therapists.
Athletes with concussion maintain improvements after use of mirroring neurotechnology
Brain State Technologies announces that a series of young athletes with long-term symptoms after concussion showed a variety of lasting improvements, after using HIRREM® neurotechnology.
Athletes may have white matter brain changes 6 months after a concussion
New research finds white matter changes in the brains of athletes six months after a concussion.
Rio athletes may benefit from 'leaky gut' therapy
'Leaky gut' is a condition where the thin mucosal barrier of the gut, which plays a role in absorbing nutrients and preventing large molecules and germs from the gut entering the blood stream, becomes less effective.

Related Athletes Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...