Wednesday, October 17, 2007

DOES ALTITUDE REALLY MATTER IN SPORTS?

We a football crazy country was looking forward for the WCQ against Yemen. Before the Maldivian National Team left to Yemen I was going through the local newspapers about the progress of training. I came across sincere and some crazy quoting in those news articles …

Well maybe some of the articles can be some ticks of journalism to sell those papers , the major concern the Sports Physician and the officials of FAM brought forward was the altitude (2300m) where the game has to be played, the second concern brought forward was the lack of oxygen due to the high altitude. He was right on pointing out those concerns.

The problem when training at high altitude (>2000m) is that there is less oxygen, this may not be frightening to individuals at rest but create a challenge to endurance athletes. To simplify the higher the altitude the longer it takes to adopt. Before training or competing at high altitudes it’s advisable to understand the adaptation process and things to be done as there are number of physiological changes in human body when training at high altitude.

Adjusting to the Altitude

There are key steps to remember whenever playing or training above 5000 Feet. (Our National Team played above 8000 Feet)

1. Allow time for your body to acclimatize (approximately 5 days)
2. A rest day or two before activity
3. Recognize early warning signs and symptoms of high altitude sickness
4. Prevention through education means being aware and knowing that there is no substitute for common sense.

There are complementary methods that can possibly prevent or speed up the body’s ability to
Acclimatize.

Eat Healthfully & Supplementation

1. Two days before: high complex carbohydrates
2. Eat complex carbohydrates diet throughout the entire trip
3. Eat frequent small meals rather than rather than large meals
4. High amounts of green leafy vegetables
5. Drink plenty of fluids
6. Sip small amounts every 15 minutes prevents fluid consumption
7. Take vitamins on a regular basis and increase certain vitamins beforehand
8. A multi-vitamin should be taken on a regular basis
9. Increase vitamin C intake
10. Increase vitamin E intake
11. Take antioxidants and vitamins in liquid form

Other recommendation

Increase amounts of amino acid, tyrosine. Tyrosine is an amino acid considered unessential because it is manufactured in the body. The importance of this particular amino acid is its role in metabolism, and its support of proper nervous system functioning. Taken three times daily before meals, and gradually increase during the trip if above 10 thousand feet preventing altitude and exercise induced deficiencies.


Studies have indicated that these vitamins and antioxidants taken before and during improve the body’s ability to remove free radicals, as exercising increases free radical activity. Vitamin C and E are strong antioxidants and increases the body’s cellular ability to use oxygen.

Activity Recommendation

The activity intensity should be lowered at the start of training at high altitude. Pushing the exercise or practice too hard may increase your risk of overtraining or injury, a gradual progression on training or practice is a must. And keep a note that some people just do not adapt as well as others.
There is no one exercise progression plan which fits all occasions – same as at sea level it is advisable to keep a log which you rate fatigue during workout and at rest, morning resting heart rate, weight, and mood. Correlate this with the intensity of your practice, this will help to get the best out of players.

With the information above there are few questions to be asked …

1. Was our team fully prepared for the high altitude adaptation while we travelled to WCQ at Yemen?
2. Will talking about the matters of high altitude problems in the media without a proper education of the adaptation procedure do any good?
3. Did our team arrive Yemen in the right time for the players to adopt for the thin air (low oxygen)

I leave it to the readers from here for their opinion on this … and let’s learn something from this experience.

Good luck to Maldives National Team for the match against Yemen in Maldives.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Haha good reason to loose a match dho! I don't think it’s only the newspapers to blame, I think the team officials must take the blame for their lack of confidence to WIN.
Yeah right they read a lot of stuff just so they can present themselves to the media.
Outlining things like "high altitude" and sometime hoping to make it the escape goat does NOT help us play better

CAN WE JUST FOCUS ON WINNING!!!!!

Angagadu said...

are you backing the escuses?

Ain't you partly responsible for the questions you raised?

Anonymous said...

I think it is also important to educate the players on the physiological changes that happen to their bodies as soon as they arrive at such altitude. Such as what happens to red blood cell counts etc..

These things are simple , but if efficiently handled, things that could be dealt with.

PERSONAL TRAINER said...

Thanks

Anonymous:
Yes i agree we need to be well prapared and focus on winning only.

Angagandu:
1 - I am not backing anything. I presented some question I had when i did some studies on the issue.

2 - I am not resposible for it by any means, it has nothing to do with my work in FAM. National Football team is totally a different issue when it comes to my comitments in FAM.

Anonymous:
It is imporatnt to educate the players, but i feel not on the scientific level but with the problems they might face. And prepare a proper procedure for adoptation is important from the responsible authority.

Modu said...

Hello Zinan Sir,

With due respect to you. I believe that it is your reponsibility to work with the National Team Educating the said manner as you are involved in FAM at some level.

Were you aware that the team was playing at Yamen? Where you aware that it was more than 2000m? If so why didn't point out these matters to the officials there at FAM?

I feel you are responsible to answer the questions you asked ...

Suhail said...

Zinaan,

1 - Don't u think you should ask the questions before that team departed to WCQ

2 - Why on earth are you trying to back the escuses of the officials of that team

3 - What r u trying to do? Convince ur readers that the offcials did there job and 3 - 0 is a reasonable result? If so forget it 3 - 0 is not reasonable and not worth even trying to convinvce anyone that it is reasonable.

PERSONAL TRAINER said...

Mode:

Thanks for pointing out ...
Yes i was aware that they hav to play at Yemen.
Yes i was aware that it's above 2000.
It is not my responsibility to point out these matters. I feel it's not my comitment consult on this although i am involved in TDC of FAM.

Suhail:
1 - I believe that the questions has been asked by the responsible officials of the team, I am not aware any of these in the Maldivian National Football team as it's not my area of work in FAM.
2 - I am not backing anyone or I am not pointing finger on anyone just, these are some question which came to my mind when i did some studies on the matter.
3 - My article has nothing to do with convincing a result of Maldivian Natioanl team. It's upto to the football fans and official to decide it.

Thank you, keep commenting

Mode said...

hello zinan sir

Heard u on radio,
ur explanation was good,
like the phrase u always use,
"there isn't something called the method"
u made in in dhivehi at the start,
"Hama ekani eh gotheh noon onnaanee"