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Reduced performance of male and female athletes at 580 m altitude.

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1
Australian Institute of Sport, Henley Beach, South Australia.

Abstract

This study examined the effect of mild hypobaria (MH) on the peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) and performance of ten trained male athletes [x (SEM); VO2peak = 72.4 (2.2) ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)] and ten trained female athletes [VO2peak = 60.8 (2.1) ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)]. Subjects performed 5-min maximal work tests on a cycle ergometer within a hypobaric chamber at both normobaria (N, 99.33 kPa) and at MH (92.66 kPa), using a counter-balanced design. MH was equivalent to 580 m altitude. VO2peak at MH decreased significantly compared with N in both men [-5.9 (0.9)%] and women [-3.7 (1.0)%]. Performance (total kJ) at MH was also reduced significantly in men [-3.6 (0.8)%] and women [-3.8 (1.2)%]. Arterial oxyhaemoglobin saturation (SaO2) at VO2peak was significantly lower at MH compared with N in both men [90.1 (0.6)% versus 92.0 (0.6)%] and women [89.7 (3.1)% versus 92.1 (3.0)%]. While SaO2 at VO2peak was not different between men and women, it was concluded that relative, rather than absolute. VO2peak may be a more appropriate predictor of exercise-induced hypoxaemia. For men and women, it was calculated that 67-76% of the decrease in VO2peak could be accounted for by a decrease in O2 delivery, which indicates that reduced O2 tension at mild altitude (580 m) leads to impairment of exercise performance in a maximal work bout lasting approximately 5 min.

PMID:
9118979
DOI:
10.1007/s004210050138
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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