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Athletes who are training for a competition need to give themselves every advantage possible. One way that many of them do this is through high altitude training, which can be beneficial for a number of reasons.
High altitude training results in an increase in erythropoietin or EPO, a hormone responsible for triggering red blood cell production. Hemoglobin, which is a protein in red blood cells, also increases at a rate of around one percent per week. Greater amounts of red blood cells and hemoglobin result in more oxygen being delivered to the muscles, thereby improving endurance.
Distance runners, Olympic athletes and UFC fighters often engage in high altitude training, particularly when preparing for a competition or fight that is scheduled at an elevated location. There are a number of benefits to working out at higher locations such as:
It may take ten to fourteen days for you to notice the maximum benefits from high altitude training. In addition, everyone reacts differently when coming back down to normal altitudes again. Some people will notice symptoms such as headaches or sinus congestion shortly after returning to sea level. However, these symptoms are normally very mild and should not interfere with you continuing to work out.
Just because you can’t get to the mountains does not mean you cannot reap the benefits of high altitude training. Using special equipment, you can simulate working out at higher altitudes and enjoy the subsequent improvement in performance regardless of how high above sea level you actually are.