Making sense of it…
In a nut shell, the higher the altitude the less the oxygen in the atmosphere. Typically coastal cities range between 20 – 21% in oxygen levels while areas like Johannesburg can range between 18 -19%. Climatic conditions as well as pollution also play a factor and in most cases can be worse than these ranges. Now a 2% change in oxygen levels might not sound like a lot, but as a percentage it is about a 10% deficit to anyone moving from a coastal region.
High Altitude Effects on Athletes
The symptoms of competing at altitude varies per individual, however these are the common effects:
- Heavy/Rapid breathing during warm ups.
- Needing more breaks during training sessions to catch your breath
- Loss of focus or a lack “ooomph” in performance
- Light headedness or slight dizzy spells during exertion
- The air feels thin or dry
Who does it affect…?
Athletes living in a coastal region and competing in high altitude areas e.g. Johannesburg
For those moving from any coastal region to compete in JHB, the unfortunate reality is that you are moving from oxygen rich levels i.e. coastal cities (20%-21%) to lower oxygen levels (18%-19%), which can result in less than optimum performance levels. Even with a week of acclimatisation the feeling of fatigue and breathlessness becomes more evident in high intensity sports.
Challenge: Low oxygen levels at higher altitudes
Solution: Oxygen Loading – simulating an oxygen rich environment where training was completed.
Athletes living and competing in high altitude areas
Studies have shown that training at high altitudes and competing at sea level has great performance benefits i.e. moving from a low oxygen environment to a high oxygen environment. Living and training in high altitude areas has its advantages IF you going to compete at lower altitudes. If however you will be competing in a high altitude area, its best to create an oxygen rich environment during competition, replicating competing in a low altitude area.
Challenge: Oxygen levels too low to simulate a higher oxygen environment during competition
Solution: Oxygen Loading – simulating an oxygen rich environment to maximise the effects of high altitude training.
Pure O2 creates the ideal state to PEAK performance levels naturally. Peaking at the right time is the difference between being an athlete and a spectator. The only active ingredient is 95% pure oxygen, infused in mint to enhance focus, control and explosiveness.
Oxygen loading is done a few minutes before the start of physically intense routine, time trial or taking to the stage. It’s going to take 5 minutes in total. During a 5 minute period, every 20 sec we recommend trying a 1 sec burst of Pure O2.
Press down the nozzle for 1 sec and breathe in. After you have let go of the nozzle, continue to breathe in. The lungs take about 3 sec to fill completely with air. We want, 1 sec out of those 3 sec to be with Pure O2. After you take a deep breath with a 1 sec burst of Pure O2, hold your breath for 3 seconds then breathe out.
Every 20 seconds, over the period of 5minutes we want you to do the above.
This translates to 3 shots every minute and a total of 15, 1 sec shots over the 5 min period.
This is a good start for oxygen loading. If you get light headed, it’s because your body isn’t used to the high oxygen levels. Simply increase the time between the shots, so do 2 shots every minute or even 1 if it helps.
This is a guide and should be tweaked according to tolerance levels. It’s best to have tried oxygen loading prior to an event and not for the first time on comp day. If dizziness is experienced which can occur simply revert to breathing as normal and the feeling will dissipate within seconds.