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Altitude training

Related Terms

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Background

  • Altitude training refers to exercise at varying elevations to maximize physical fitness.
  • Some experts define high altitude as any elevation at least 2,000 meters (about 6,500 feet) above sea level. Other experts set the limit at 2,400 meters (about 8,000 feet) above sea level, the elevation at which 25% of people experience symptoms of altitude sickness.
  • Athletes who train or live at high altitudes may gain a competitive advantage against athletes who train or live at sea level or moderately high altitudes (about 300 meters/1,000 feet) due to physiological changes in the body in response to the high altitude.
  • Evidence shows that some types of altitude training may help endurance athletes (those who exercise for long periods of time), as well as sprinters (those whose events are intense but last for less than two minutes). Some programs may also help mountain climbers, skiers, and rock climbers prepare for exercise at very high elevations (above 2,700 meters, or about 9,000 feet). Altitude training may help elite athletes as well as recreational athletes and may help people preparing for competition in many sports, including running, swimming, and soccer. However, some athletes experience no benefit from altitude training. It is impossible to predict how and when the body may respond to altitude training or if an individual will respond at all.
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Technique

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Theory/Evidence

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.