Oxygen chambers – a good night’s sleep for our athletes?
If you’re big on your sports nutrition; taking supplements, finding the best post-workout shakes and the like then you probably reckon you’re a bit of a pro at the whole training shebang. But if you think you take your training seriously, what about the crazy things our very own Team GB have been doing before they compete?! One wacky and wonderful (and quite frankly, a little bit weird) craze that some of our athletes have completed before the Games began included sleeping in an oxygen chamber: sound bizarre? Read on...
Silver medallist Michael Jamieson prepares for his swimming races by sleeping in an altitude chamber, which some say triggers the body to make more oxygen which will help fuel training. Jamieson’s team mate Andrew Willis also slept in these weird oxygen hubs – one at 2,800m and the other at 2,400m. US swimmer Michael Phelps also revealed that he too had an altitude tent built in his Baltimore apartment.
For nearly a decade now, this has been considered best practise for training, as the high altitude is said to increase endurance levels. These weird pods thin your blood and increase your red blood cell count – rather than finding a pool atop a mountain, these swimmers have brought the altitude to their bedrooms – it’s genius, really!
Its scientific name is ‘hypoxic training’ and it involves not only sleeping in, but breathing, living or exercising in oxygen reduced air to improve your athletic performance. By exposing the body to high altitude it becomes used to the lower levels of oxygen – this acclimatisation can improve oxygen levels being delivered to your muscles. The theory goes that more oxygen will mean better performance.
Before you jet off to sprint up Kilimanjaro, it’s worth knowing the possible risks of high altitude training. Producing too many red blood cells can make the blood sluggish and makes it harder for your heart to pump round the body. There’s also the possibility that your immune system will become weakened at very high altitudes (>5000m) To top it all off, you also can’t train as intensely at high altitude, so it’s probably not the greatest for trying to achieve a PB.
Hmm. It might make you workout that little bit faster, but when it comes to getting our forty winks we’d much rather have our eight hours sprawled on a comfy mattress thank you very much!
This article is brought to you by http://www.gnc.co.uk/
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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