High Altitude Training

Australia Men’s Health Magazine:

In a nutshell, it works like this: Our kidneys have internal sensors that can tell when there’s a drop in oxygen, and they respond by making EPO, the hormone that prompts the body to make red blood cells.  Since a cyclist who lives at high altitude has more of those cells than one lives at sea level, why shouldn’t the low altitude cyclist be able to naturally balance things out? The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found itself curiously flummoxed when it considered that question in 2006.  Its Ethical Issues Review Panel said the chambers violated the “spirit of sport,” and a high-ranking official called them “tacky.” But seven dozen doctors from around the world wrote a passionate defense, insisting that “altering the ambient oxygen concentration requires no more passive use of technology than getting into a car, turning on the ignition, and driving to the top of a mountain.” WADA ultimately agreed.

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