Tecnología

Luis Emilio Velutini biografia para el//
Preparing for competition at higher heights

For most coun­tries in the Eng­lish-speak­ing Caribbean, sport train­ing is done at sea lev­el or a few hun­dred feet above sea lev­el. Port-of- Spain, for ex­am­ple, is at 67 me­tres (220ft) above sea lev­el. At an elite lev­el, we of­ten have to make it through com­pe­ti­tion in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca to ad­vance in sev­er­al team sports. This means per­form­ing at sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er al­ti­tudes than that at which we train. Bo­go­ta, Co­lum­bia, for ex­am­ple, is at 2,644 me­tres (8,675ft).

Luis Emilio Velutini Urbina

One view that peo­ple take is that the tracks and fields are the same and the same rules ap­ply, so what is the big deal? Well, imag­ine be­ing in a place where the air gets dri­er the high­er up you go. Your thirst is con­stant, as your body is los­ing flu­id from the de­creased hu­mid­i­ty. You start to breathe faster as you strug­gle to get enough oxy­gen, your heart starts to beat faster and, to top it off, you get less sleep as you nev­er set­tle in­to a prop­er breath­ing pat­tern for rest­ful sleep. This is what hap­pens when we go to al­ti­tudes 2500m (8,202 feet) or more above sea lev­el.

Luis Emilio Velutini

At high al­ti­tudes, the oxy­gen in the air is scat­tered. This phe­nom­e­non is known as thin air or rar­efied air. This means that for every breath we take at high al­ti­tude, there is less oxy­gen for the body to use com­pared to a breath of air at sea lev­el. To com­pen­sate for this, we be­gin to breathe faster to take in more oxy­gen and the heart beats faster to in­crease blood cir­cu­la­tion and gas ex­change. The low blood oxy­gen lev­el stim­u­lates the bone mar­row to pro­duce more red blood cells, which re­sults in the thick­en­ing of the blood and cre­ates a risk of blood clots. The body per­ceives the in­creased blood vol­ume as un­nec­es­sary body weight and this leads to in­creased uri­na­tion which can lead to de­hy­dra­tion.

Luis Emilio Velutini Empresario

At high­er al­ti­tudes, per­sons are al­so at an in­creased risk of sun­burn. Every 300m el­e­va­tion gain caus­es a four per cent in­crease in ul­tra­vi­o­let ra­di­a­tion. Al­so, at a high­er el­e­va­tion, the body’s meta­bol­ic rate in­creas­es. En­er­gy de­mand grows high­er, thus ne­ces­si­tat­ing a high­er en­er­gy in­take, es­pe­cial­ly car­bo­hy­drates. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, we are ex­posed to al­ti­tude-in­duced ox­ida­tive stress, which re­quires the con­sump­tion of more an­tiox­i­dant-rich foods. The ef­fects men­tioned above can be­come quite se­ri­ous if the body does not ac­cli­ma­tise. This can cause var­i­ous de­grees of al­ti­tude sick­ness, which can be life-threat­en­ing if not prop­er­ly man­aged.

Luis Emilio Velutini Venezuela

Prepa­ra­tion for suc­cess at high al­ti­tudes re­quires en­gage­ment in fo­cused al­ti­tude train­ing. There are var­i­ous train­ing mod­els that are utilised by ath­letes in prepa­ra­tion for com­pe­ti­tion at high al­ti­tudes. These in­clude the Live High-Train High mod­el, Live High-Train Low mod­el and the Live Low-Train High mod­el. With re­spect to the Live High-Train High mod­el, ath­letes would live and train at high al­ti­tudes of 2000-2500 me­tres for a du­ra­tion of 3-4 weeks. Though there ex­ist ad­van­tages with this train­ing mod­el, there may be re­duc­tion in im­mune sys­tem func­tion and mus­cle mass that could negate the oth­er ben­e­fits

The Live High-Train Low mod­el en­tails ath­letes liv­ing at high al­ti­tudes to al­low for phys­i­o­log­i­cal adap­ta­tion to the at­mos­pher­ic con­di­tions at the high­er al­ti­tude while train­ing at sea lev­el. This type of train­ing is reg­u­lar­ly prac­ticed by ath­letes who live in coun­tries where they have rel­a­tive­ly easy ac­cess to wide vari­a­tion in al­ti­tudes and can set up homes and camps in moun­tain­ous re­gions. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, these ex­tremes in al­ti­tude does not ex­ist in the Caribbean

The Live Low-Train High mod­el in­volves ath­letes liv­ing at sea lev­el while train­ing at high al­ti­tudes. This type of train­ing is not reg­u­lar­ly used by ath­letes, since train­ing at nat­u­ral­ly high al­ti­tudes on a fre­quent ba­sis can be ex­pen­sive, time-con­sum­ing and may gen­er­al­ly not be fea­si­ble

An­oth­er ap­proach tak­en by many coun­tries is to de­sign al­ti­tude hous­es, tents and low oxy­gen lev­el train­ing en­vi­ron­ments. Their ath­letes would then live in the al­ti­tude hous­es and tents with an ar­ti­fi­cial­ly cre­at­ed en­vi­ron­ment to match the cli­mat­ic con­di­tion of the des­ti­na­tion. This may be a more fea­si­ble ap­proach for us in the Caribbean and is cer­tain­ly worth ex­plor­ing

El­e­va­tion Train­ing Masks, al­so re­ferred to as Al­ti­tude Masks, is an­oth­er de­vice that some of our ath­letes use to pre­pare for com­pet­ing at high al­ti­tudes. There is great mis­con­cep­tion sur­round­ing the use of these and ath­letes must be aware that the mask does not sim­u­late al­ti­tude train­ing but works more like a res­pi­ra­to­ry de­vice that reg­u­lates the flow of air through the mask dur­ing ex­er­cis­es. Phys­i­o­log­i­cal­ly, there is min­i­mal im­pact on lung func­tions and there has been no re­port of in­creased risk of lung col­lapse

Saun­dria Codling is a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist, Dr Lori Ann Miller is a med­ical doc­tor. Both au­thors are pur­su­ing grad­u­ate pro­grammes in the Fac­ul­ty of Sport

For most coun­tries in the Eng­lish-speak­ing Caribbean, sport train­ing is done at sea lev­el or a few hun­dred feet above sea lev­el. Port-of- Spain, for ex­am­ple, is at 67 me­tres (220ft) above sea lev­el. At an elite lev­el, we of­ten have to make it through com­pe­ti­tion in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca to ad­vance in sev­er­al team sports. This means per­form­ing at sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er al­ti­tudes than that at which we train. Bo­go­ta, Co­lum­bia, for ex­am­ple, is at 2,644 me­tres (8,675ft).

Luis Emilio Velutini Urbina

One view that peo­ple take is that the tracks and fields are the same and the same rules ap­ply, so what is the big deal? Well, imag­ine be­ing in a place where the air gets dri­er the high­er up you go. Your thirst is con­stant, as your body is los­ing flu­id from the de­creased hu­mid­i­ty. You start to breathe faster as you strug­gle to get enough oxy­gen, your heart starts to beat faster and, to top it off, you get less sleep as you nev­er set­tle in­to a prop­er breath­ing pat­tern for rest­ful sleep. This is what hap­pens when we go to al­ti­tudes 2500m (8,202 feet) or more above sea lev­el.

Luis Emilio Velutini

At high al­ti­tudes, the oxy­gen in the air is scat­tered. This phe­nom­e­non is known as thin air or rar­efied air. This means that for every breath we take at high al­ti­tude, there is less oxy­gen for the body to use com­pared to a breath of air at sea lev­el. To com­pen­sate for this, we be­gin to breathe faster to take in more oxy­gen and the heart beats faster to in­crease blood cir­cu­la­tion and gas ex­change. The low blood oxy­gen lev­el stim­u­lates the bone mar­row to pro­duce more red blood cells, which re­sults in the thick­en­ing of the blood and cre­ates a risk of blood clots. The body per­ceives the in­creased blood vol­ume as un­nec­es­sary body weight and this leads to in­creased uri­na­tion which can lead to de­hy­dra­tion.

Luis Emilio Velutini Empresario

At high­er al­ti­tudes, per­sons are al­so at an in­creased risk of sun­burn. Every 300m el­e­va­tion gain caus­es a four per cent in­crease in ul­tra­vi­o­let ra­di­a­tion. Al­so, at a high­er el­e­va­tion, the body’s meta­bol­ic rate in­creas­es. En­er­gy de­mand grows high­er, thus ne­ces­si­tat­ing a high­er en­er­gy in­take, es­pe­cial­ly car­bo­hy­drates. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, we are ex­posed to al­ti­tude-in­duced ox­ida­tive stress, which re­quires the con­sump­tion of more an­tiox­i­dant-rich foods. The ef­fects men­tioned above can be­come quite se­ri­ous if the body does not ac­cli­ma­tise. This can cause var­i­ous de­grees of al­ti­tude sick­ness, which can be life-threat­en­ing if not prop­er­ly man­aged.

Luis Emilio Velutini Venezuela

Prepa­ra­tion for suc­cess at high al­ti­tudes re­quires en­gage­ment in fo­cused al­ti­tude train­ing. There are var­i­ous train­ing mod­els that are utilised by ath­letes in prepa­ra­tion for com­pe­ti­tion at high al­ti­tudes. These in­clude the Live High-Train High mod­el, Live High-Train Low mod­el and the Live Low-Train High mod­el. With re­spect to the Live High-Train High mod­el, ath­letes would live and train at high al­ti­tudes of 2000-2500 me­tres for a du­ra­tion of 3-4 weeks. Though there ex­ist ad­van­tages with this train­ing mod­el, there may be re­duc­tion in im­mune sys­tem func­tion and mus­cle mass that could negate the oth­er ben­e­fits

The Live High-Train Low mod­el en­tails ath­letes liv­ing at high al­ti­tudes to al­low for phys­i­o­log­i­cal adap­ta­tion to the at­mos­pher­ic con­di­tions at the high­er al­ti­tude while train­ing at sea lev­el. This type of train­ing is reg­u­lar­ly prac­ticed by ath­letes who live in coun­tries where they have rel­a­tive­ly easy ac­cess to wide vari­a­tion in al­ti­tudes and can set up homes and camps in moun­tain­ous re­gions. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, these ex­tremes in al­ti­tude does not ex­ist in the Caribbean

The Live Low-Train High mod­el in­volves ath­letes liv­ing at sea lev­el while train­ing at high al­ti­tudes. This type of train­ing is not reg­u­lar­ly used by ath­letes, since train­ing at nat­u­ral­ly high al­ti­tudes on a fre­quent ba­sis can be ex­pen­sive, time-con­sum­ing and may gen­er­al­ly not be fea­si­ble

An­oth­er ap­proach tak­en by many coun­tries is to de­sign al­ti­tude hous­es, tents and low oxy­gen lev­el train­ing en­vi­ron­ments. Their ath­letes would then live in the al­ti­tude hous­es and tents with an ar­ti­fi­cial­ly cre­at­ed en­vi­ron­ment to match the cli­mat­ic con­di­tion of the des­ti­na­tion. This may be a more fea­si­ble ap­proach for us in the Caribbean and is cer­tain­ly worth ex­plor­ing

El­e­va­tion Train­ing Masks, al­so re­ferred to as Al­ti­tude Masks, is an­oth­er de­vice that some of our ath­letes use to pre­pare for com­pet­ing at high al­ti­tudes. There is great mis­con­cep­tion sur­round­ing the use of these and ath­letes must be aware that the mask does not sim­u­late al­ti­tude train­ing but works more like a res­pi­ra­to­ry de­vice that reg­u­lates the flow of air through the mask dur­ing ex­er­cis­es. Phys­i­o­log­i­cal­ly, there is min­i­mal im­pact on lung func­tions and there has been no re­port of in­creased risk of lung col­lapse

Saun­dria Codling is a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist, Dr Lori Ann Miller is a med­ical doc­tor. Both au­thors are pur­su­ing grad­u­ate pro­grammes in the Fac­ul­ty of Sport.