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MEDEX2015: greater sea-level fitness is associated with lower sense of effort during Himalayan trekking without worse acute mountain sickness

Macdonald, J. H., Rossetti, G. M. K. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9610-6066, Smith, M., Jackson, A. R., Callender, N., Newcombe, H. K., Storey, H. M., Willis, S., van den Beukel, J., Woodward, J., Pollard, J., Wood, B., Newton, V., Virian, J., Haswell, O. and Oliver, S. J. (0201) MEDEX2015: greater sea-level fitness is associated with lower sense of effort during Himalayan trekking without worse acute mountain sickness. High Altitude Medicine & Biology, 18 (2). pp. 152-162. ISSN 1557-8682

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1089/ham.2016.0088

Abstract/Summary

This study examined the complex relationships of fitness and hypoxic sensitivity with submaximal exercise responses and acute mountain sickness (AMS) at altitude. Determining these relationships is necessary before fitness or hypoxic sensitivity tests can be recommended to appraise individuals' readiness for altitude. Forty-four trekkers (26 men; 18 women; 20-67 years) completed a loaded walking test and a fitness questionnaire in normoxia to measure and estimate sea-level maximal aerobic capacity (maximum oxygen consumption [[Formula: see text]O2max]), respectively. Participants also completed a hypoxic exercise test to determine hypoxic sensitivity (cardiac, ventilatory, and arterial oxygen saturation responses to acute hypoxia, fraction of inspired oxygen [Fio2] = 0.112). One month later, all participants completed a 3-week trek to 5085 m with the same ascent profile. On ascent to 5085 m, ratings of perceived exertion (RPEascent), fatigue by Brunel Mood Scale, and AMS were recorded daily. At 5085 m, RPE during a fixed workload step test (RPEfixed) and step rate during perceptually regulated exercise (STEPRPE35) were recorded. Greater sea-level [Formula: see text]O2max was associated with, and predicted, lower sense of effort (RPEascent; r = -0.43; p < 0.001; RPEfixed; r = -0.69; p < 0.001) and higher step rate (STEPRPE35; r = 0.62; p < 0.01), but not worse AMS (r = 0.13; p = 0.4) or arterial oxygen desaturation (r = 0.07; p = 0.7). Lower RPEascent was also associated with better mood, including less fatigue (r = 0.57; p < 0.001). Hypoxic sensitivity was not associated with, and did not add to the prediction of submaximal exercise responses or AMS. In conclusion, participants with greater sea-level fitness reported less effort during simulated and actual trekking activities, had better mood (less fatigue), and chose a higher step rate during perceptually regulated exercise, but did not suffer from worse AMS or arterial oxygen desaturation. Simple sea-level fitness tests may be used to aid preparation for high-altitude travel.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Nutrition and Health
ID Code:97687
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc

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