COMPETING AT HIGH ALTITUDE NO MORE DANGEROUS THAN AT LOW ALTITUDE
Roi, G. S., Giacometti, M., Banfi, G., Zaccaria, M., Gritti, I., & Von Duvillard, S. P. (1999). Competitive running at high altitude: Is it safe? Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31(5), Supplement abstract 861.
Athletes (N = 1,442) participating in 36 competitions at altitudes between 2,000 and 5,200 m since 1991, were screened by a physician and had blood samples taken. Those allowed to compete were healthy, altitude acclimatized, well trained, and without a history of altitude-related health problems.
Racing at altitude did produce some temporary changes in physiology but the most were similar to those exhibited at low altitude.
Implication. Competitive running at high altitude does not impose a substantial increase in health risk beyond that encountered at low altitude provided participating athletes are well-trained, altitude acclimatized, and medically controlled.
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