Tag: elite athletes

Obsession to win is overwhelming

World Championships are going on and doping still appears to be used in cross-country skiing. The reason why some athletes do that is that in addition to cardiac stroke volume, which is the most important factor in cross-country skiing, also red blood cell volume contribute to systemic oxygen delivery, which is the most important factor determining maximal oxygen consumption and thus endurance exercise performance. By using EPO or your stored blood, some athletes try to increase their blood oxygen carrying capacity, and by so doing their performance.

People were commented to be very stupid to dope on their home ground, which makes me smile when reflecting back to Lahti 2001. There numerous Finnish skiers were investigated to have used blood doping and were banned to take part in further competitions. Also after that we have had Finnish and other skiers that have used EPO and other drugs, no matter what has happened.

It is striking that these doping habits still continue. Obsession to win is overwhelming.

Altitude training – Benefits for “normal” people

Many elite athletes go high up in the mountains to do some altitude training as hypoxia (reduced oxygen pressure in the air) may give some physiological gains on top of normal training at the sea level. They still do that even if science does not really support these ideas. Some say believing is everything, but it is likely that good training camp in a good terrain where you can devote all your efforts just to training and recovering explains most of the fitness gains due to high altitude training period.

However, hypoxia or altitude training may atually be more beneficial for us “normal”people, who are not training like elite athletes. Recent evidence to support these ideas comes from a study by Camacho-Cardenosa et al. who recently showed that high-intensity interval training under normobaric intermittent hypoxia for 12 weeks in overweight/obese women seems to be promising for reducing body fat content with a concomitant increase in muscle mass.

We have also already some two years ago reviewed the acute responses of exercise and hypoxia in a human body, and health benefits of living and being and training in altitude. Acute responses are summarized in the figure below, but check out also this table for studies showing health benefits in health and disease.

Source: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2016.00116/full

Are elite athletes best persons to talk about climate change?

I came across with a video by International Ski Federation where elite winter athletes talk about climate change. While it is indeed a very good idea to increase the awaraness of this phenomenon, which is very critical for the success of our planet, I also started to wonder whether elite (winter) sport athletes are really the best persons to talk about preventing climate change.

This is because they are the persons that travel the most with airplanes all over the world to reach their training and competition destinations. Airplane travel is an important source of pollution promoting climate change, as discussed in detail for instance in this scientific paper, or by New York Times story (with lots of good links), which might be a bit easier to follow.

Unfortunately the video is a typical – lot of talk, no actions – promotion video. Hopefully International Ski Federation thinks also actions next time. In the meantime everyone can take their own actions for the matter by traveling being physically active rather than taking a car or airplane.

 

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