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Sports Medicine

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 1–8 | Cite as

Physiological Responses to Exercise at Altitude

An Update
  • Robert S. MazzeoEmail author
Leading Article

Abstract

Studies performed over the past decade have yielded new information related to the physiological and metabolic adjustments made in response to both shortand long-term high-altitude exposure. These investigations have examined the potential mechanisms responsible for the alterations observed in such key variables as heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, muscle blood flow, substrate utilization and mitochondrial function, both at rest and during exercise of varying intensities. Additionally, the occurrence and mechanisms related to the ‘lactate paradox’ continues to intrigue investigators. It is apparent that exposure to high altitude is an environmental stressor that elicits a robust sympathoadrenal response that contributes to many of the critical adjustments and adaptations mentioned above. Furthermore, as some of these important physiological adaptations are known to enhance performance, it has become popular to incorporate an aspect of altitude living/training into the training regimens of endurance athletes (e.g. ‘live high-train low’). Finally, it is important to note that many factors influence the extent to which individuals adjust and adapt to the stress imposed by exposure to high altitude. Included among these are (i) the degree of hypoxia; (ii) the duration of exposure to hypoxic conditions; (iii) the exercise intensity (absolute vs relative workload); and (iv) the inter-individual variability in adapting to hypoxic environments (‘responders’ vs ‘non-responders’).

Keywords

Stroke Volume Oxygen Delivery Submaximal Exercise Muscle Blood Flow Fractional Oxygen Extraction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Integrative PhysiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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