INTERMITTENT ALTITUDE EXPOSURE IS AS ADAPTIVE AS CONSTANT EXPOSURE
Beidleman, B. A., Muza, S. T., Fulco, C. S., Cymerman, A., Sawka, M. N., Lewis, S. T., & Skrinar, G. S. (2008). Seven intermittent exposures to altitude improves exercise performance at 4300 m. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 40, 141-148.
This study determined if seven intermittent altitude exposures, in combination with either rest or exercise training, improved time-trial exercise performance and induced physiological adaptations consistent with chronic altitude adaptation at 4300 m. Adult lowlanders (N = 10) completed cycle endurance testing during an acute exposure to a 4300-m altitude once before and once after seven days of intermittent altitude exposures (four hours per day). Cycle endurance testing consisted of two consecutive 15-minute constant-work rate exercise bouts followed immediately by a time-trial performance. During each intermittent altitude exposure, five Ss performed exercise training while the remaining five Ss rested.
Both groups demonstrated similar improvements in time-trial cycle exercise performance and physiologic adaptations during constant-work rate exercise from pre- to post-intermittent altitude exposures. Thus, data from all Ss were combined. Seven days of intermittent altitude exposures resulted in a 16% improvement in time-trial cycle exercise performance from pre- to post-exposures. During the two constant-work rate exercise bouts, there was an increase in exercise arterial O2 saturation, a decrease in exercise heart rate, and a decrease in exercise ratings of perceived exertion as the study progressed.
Implication. Seven days of intermittent altitude exposures, in combination with either rest or exercise training, improves time-trial cycle exercise performance and induces physiologic adaptations during constant-work rate exercise consistent with chronic altitude adaptation at 4300 m.
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