Beidleman, B. A., Muza, S. R., Rock, P. B., Fulco, C. S., Lyons, T. P., Hoyt, R. W., & Cymerman, A. (1997). Exercise responses after altitude acclimatization are retained during reintroduction to altitude. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29, 1588-1595.

Following altitude acclimatization, ventilation is increased and heart rate, plasma volume, and lactate accumulation are decreased during submaximal exercise. Males (N = 6) were evaluated on physiological parameters during an exhaustive exercise bout at introduction to altitude, after 16 days of acclimatization, after 8 days at sea level, and upon reintroduction to altitude.

It was found that the adaptations that occurred during the first adaptation were retained in significant but partial amounts after the 8-day sea level intervention. [The tenor of the paper suggests that the retention is total.]

Implication. Altitude adaptations deteriorate slowly upon return to seal level. If the return-duration is sufficiently short, significant proportions of the acclimated features will be retained and will make subsequent adaptations both faster and easier.

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