Exposure to altitude has been used for almost 50 years to improve athletic performance. Research has shown that being at altitude for a continuous period of time, and training at sea level, improves endurance performance by 1.5% to 6%¹.
At high altitude, athletes have a reduced amount of oxygen they are able to breathe in. This triggers the body to adapt and increase its red blood cell count, thus improving oxygen efficiency. When training or racing back at sea level, athletes can compete more effectively – as a greater amount of oxygen is being delivered to muscles through the blood.
Many athletes will be familiar with the concept of sleeping in an altitude tent to simulate high altitude. The Altium i10 works in a similar way. It helps to boost an athlete’s red blood cell count over a short period of time, up to four weeks. The Altium i10 also comes as a more convenient solution, and at a considerably lower price point.
Using the Altium i10
When at rest, amateur and elite level athletes use the Altium i10 to activate a process known as Intermittent Hypoxic Exposure (IHE). Typically, this is combined with normal exercise schedules.
Altium i10 delivers IHE by reducing the oxygen concentration that you re-breathe during inhalation². The resting athlete uses Altium i10 over a one-hour session, in the comfort of his or her home.
Using the free Altium i10 app, the device is calibrated to the athlete. It is used in 6-minute periods at a base level of altitude (with reduced oxygen levels). Each 6-minute period is interspersed with 4 minutes of breathing normal air (at 21% oxygen). This process of 6 minutes ‘on’ and 4 minutes ‘off’ is repeated six times throughout the one-hour session.
During each one-hour session, the 6-minute periods help to reduce oxygen saturation in the blood, and the athlete’s body naturally responds to this over a period of time, up to 28 days.
The level of an athlete’s blood oxygen saturation is expressed as a percentage of SpO2. This itself is measured by Altium i10 via a process known as pulse oximetry. When simulating altitude, Altium i10 delivers an SpO2 of 80-92%. At rest, in a healthy individual at sea-level, SpO2 is around 98-99%.
Benefits on high from Intermittent Hypoxic Exposure (IHE)!
Across a variety of endurance sport disciplines, the process of altitude simulation through IHE has shown positive performance improvements in a number of research studies [link to references below]. From improved time-trial performances, running-time-to-exhaustion through to sub-maximal cycling power, there are many endurance benefits.
Altium i10 can improve endurance running and cycling in less trained, well trained and highly trained athletes.
Performance improvements have been shown after only two days of IHE but generally occur after 14 consecutive days or 14 sessions every other day. The alternate day approach of 14 sessions over 28 days has been found to be less intrusive – particularly for athletes with high training volumes.
With each Altium i10 session, the athlete’s body adapts to improve oxygen flow to the muscles. This delivers convenient performance improvements for the club level athlete or world class elite who cannot be at altitude all year round.
The Altium i10 is currently being used by keen amateur athletes, through to elite cyclists and triathletes, and those aiming for the pinnacle of their sport – including Olympians and elite athletes aiming for the Olympic Games.
Whether it’s for a mountaineer aiming to pre-acclimatise before taking on Mount Everest, or a competitive age group athlete seeking to beat a personal best, Altium i10 helps to condition and optimize the body as it gears up for its next challenge.
¹ Stray-Gundersen and Levine, 2008.
² 9-16%: around 6,600-2500m; see computational fluid dynamics
Blazek, A.D., Anderson, P.J., Brichler, J.G.., Slawinski, M.T., Rose, M.T., Kirby, T.E., Swain, C (2014). Effects of a Simulated Altitude Device on Endurance Performance and Mucosal Immunity. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online
Chapman R.F., Stray-Gundersen J., and Levine B.D. (1998). Individual variation in response to altitude training. The American Physiology Society, 1448-1456.
Katayama, K., Matsuo, H., Ishidi, K., Mori, S., and Miyamura, M (2003) Intermittent Hypoxia Improves Endurance Performance and Sub-Maximal Exercise Efficiency HIGH ALTITUDE MEDICINE & BIOLOGY 4 (3) 291-304.
Hamlin, M.J., and Hellemans, J. (2007) Effect of intermittent normobaric hypoxic exposure at rest on haematological, physiological, and performance parameters in multi-sport athletes. Journal of Sport Sciences. Feb 15; 25 (4):431-41.
Hellemans J. (1999). Intermittent hypoxic training: A review. Proceedings from the Gatorade International Triathlon Science II Conference Noosa Australia.
Stray-Gundersen, J., and Levine, B. (2008) Live high, train low at natural altitude Scand J Med Sci Sports. 1:21-8. Doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2008.00829.x
Swain, C., Kirby, T., and Altshuld, J (2010). Simulated Altitude via Re-Breathing Improves Performance in Well-Trained Cyclists. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online Vol 13
Wood, M.R., Dowson, M.N., and Hopkins, W. G. (2006) Running performance after adaptation to acutely intermittent European Journal of Sport Science, 6(3): 163_172