Davis, J. E., Swanton, S. A., Gaskell, G. L., & Walsh, K. (2009). Effect of moderate altitude on lactate clearance during active and passive recovery. ACSM 56th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington. Presentation number 2898.

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This study determined the effect of moderate altitude exposure on lactate clearance during active and passive recovery following maximal exercise. Healthy, active young Ss (N = 6) completed two graded-exercise tests to exhaustion on a cycle ergometer at sea level, upon acute exposure to 3,400 m, two weeks following acclimatization at 3,400 m, and upon return to sea level. Exercise workloads were increased every two minutes following a two-minute warm-up until volitional fatigue. Following the exercise tests at each location, Ss participated in either an active or passive recovery trial. During the active trial, Ss exercised at 35% of their VO2max while venous blood lactate measurements were taken every two minutes until lactate levels were decreased to half of their maximum values. This protocol was repeated during passive recovery while the S sat in a chair and the same measurements were performed.

Lactate decrease was significantly faster during the active trial than in the passive trial in all locations. However, there were no differences in the active or passive trials between locations except that lactate decrease for the active trial in the return to sea level condition was significantly faster than the original sea level recovery rate.

Implication. Active recovery is beneficial for the removal of blood lactate even after acute exposure to moderate altitude and altitude acclimatization.

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