Science

What factors should be considered to provide maximal protection when people are exercising in the cold?

One of the factors to maximize the protection and strength during an exercise is drinking water. I personally think that there is a huge misconception that because it is cold you do not have to drink as much water to prevent dehydration, this would be completely false. Our bodies need the water all the time especially during exercising to make sure that the body is constantly hydrated regardless of the temperature. So, drinking water would help maximize protection when performing doing exercise no matter what temperature. Another factor would be “Acclimatization” which refers to those physiological responses of a deeper origin: the hormonal and metabolic programming that governs not only your tendency to sweat, but how you sweat, when you sweat, and even the amount of salt your sweat carries with it. This temperature-regulation system is controlled in large part by a collaboration between your hypothalamus and pituitary gland, and manages a range of physiological responses. These include the readiness with which you shunt blood to vessels in your skin (which has a cooling effect); the meter and sensitivity of your heartbeat; your body’s overall production of thermal energy; and the allotment of bodily resources to protecting your liver, brain, kidneys, and other vital organs (Gonzalez 2014). So to adjust to an extreme “cold” temperatures is a gradual physiological process known as acclimatization.

How would training at medium altitude and then competing at altitude affect a runner’s performance? How would training at sea level affect a runner’s performance?

The higher you go in the atmosphere, the thinner the air. Thinner air means less air resistance, so athletes who sprint, jump, or cycle will perform better at high-altitude venues. But thinner air also means less oxygen, so the pace of hard endurance training and competition–which depends on high rates of oxygen consumption–gets slower at altitude (Baker 2008). That means, athletes should be OK to do training at medium altitude then going to a higher altitude to compete. They will actually be able to run faster in the higher altitudes but there will be less oxygen in the air at the same time “win loose situation”. As long as it is a sprint competition the athlete would be fine, however, the long distance competition will probably put an athlete at a disadvantage as far as training in lower altitude and competing in higher altitude.

Training near sea level while living at an altitude of 2500 m (8000 ft) for a month enhances subsequent endurance performance, probably by increasing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood through an increase in production of red blood cells (Baker 2008). So that being said, athlete who are sprinters enhances subsequent endurance performances because of the oxygen rich air at sea level. However, going to higher altitude to compete would have the same effects though. For example, someone who will be competing in an altitude significantly higher than that of where they live would be to train by sleeping in a nitrogen tent, or using a nitrogen mask to simulate the thinner air at the higher altitude.

Discuss the health risks associated with acute exposure to high altitude and how can these risks be minimized?

High-altitude illnesses encompass the pulmonary and cerebral syndromes that occur in non-acclimatized individuals after rapid ascent to high altitude. The most common syndrome is acute mountain sickness (AMS) which usually begins within a few hours of ascent and typically consists of headache variably accompanied by loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, disturbed sleep, fatigue, and dizziness (Taylor 2011). Acetazolamide can reduce the risk of developing AMS; for example, one of the recommendation to reduce and or mitigate the risk is to wear a nitrogen mask when doing normal activities and to also sleep in a nitrogen tent to help acclimatize self before ever getting there. There is always period for the adjustment when arriving but doing these few things will help shorten the acclimatization period.

What alterations occur in strength, power, and muscular endurance with physical detraining?

The changes in strength, power and muscular endurance would depend on the individual’s level of training, physical condition during the exercise and the duration of training. Normally the alterations would not occur within the first few weeks and it is also noted that the gains can be maintained by doing a workout once every 10-14 days which will determine the physical condition “wellbeing” of the person training (Brodison 2009). Discussing from a personal experience, these workout plans really help to gain what we have lost and if done properly, one can be back to where they were when they stopped in half the time it took them to get there the first time.

What similarities do we see between spaceflight and detraining? Why does the body make these adaptations during spaceflight?

Detraining is defined as a partial or complete loss of training-induced adaptations in response to either the cessation of training or a substantial decrement in the training load and as result of either inactivity, many of the gains achieved during regular training are quickly lost, especially with the cardiovascular endurance. Spaceflight is basically flying of spacecraft into or in outer space. Space flight’s detrimental effects on muscle structure, metabolism and function decrease the work capacity of the muscle, cardiac atrophy can also occurs during short of prolonged spaceflights. One of the similarity that can be discussed is how the heart reacted to both spaceflight and detraining. In both instances, however very different time tables, the heart walls were decreased in thickness due to the lack of the load being placed on the heart. In space the heart does not have to work as hard due to the lack of gravity. From other hand, when someone detrains the heart gets to stop working as hard as it has been in the past and therefore becomes thinner than before (Perhonen 2000).

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References:

Robbie Gonzalez (2014). How do our bodies adjust to extreme temperatures? Retrieved on January 7 2018 from https://io9.gizmodo.com/how-do-our-bodies-adjust-to-extreme-temperatures-1503474690

Baker, A. & Hopkins, W.G. (1998). Altitude training for sea-level competition In: Sportscience Training & Technology. Internet Society for Sport Science. Retrieved on January 8 2018 from http://sportsci.org/traintech/altitude/wgh.html

Andrew T. Taylor (2011). Rambam Maimonides Med J. 2011 Jan; 2(1): e0022. Published online 2011 Jan 31. doi: 10.5041/RMMJ.10022. Retrieved on January 7 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678789/citedby/

Brodison, Shaun (2009). “Detraining and the Body.” . N.p. Retrieved January 7 2018 from http://ezinearticles.com/?Detraining-and-the Body&id=3490963

Perhonen, Merja A., et al (2000). “American Physiological Society Journal of Applied Physiology.” Cardiac Atrophy after Bed Rest and Spaceflight. N.p. Retrieved on January 7 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11457776

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