Stojan Burnik, and Blaž Jereb, Faculty of Sport, Ljubljana, Slovenia
The aim of the presents study is to make a comparison between heart rates measured at real altitude and at
the simulated altitude (in hypoxic chamber), before and after the process of acclimatization. Six students
(two women and four men) of Faculty of sport in Ljubljana participated in the study. They undergone
eighteen day long acclimatization process on 2100 – 5642 m. Heart rates were measured in rest and
during the step test before and after the acclimatization, at two locations: high altitude simulation
chamber in Ljubljana and real altitude in Elbrus, Kavkaz, both at 2100 m. The results showed that heart
rates were not significantly different between real altitude and simulated altitude. Acclimatization process
caused a decrease of heart rates in both cases. From that we can conclude that it would be possible to train
in hypoxic chamber and therefore shorten the acclimatization time in real very high mountains. Heart rate
could be used as an objective parameter of the quality of the acclimatization. This should be proven in the
future by research on bigger sample.
Keywords: mountaineering, hiking, acclimatization, heart rate.
1. Balado, D. (1996). Exercise physiology; energy, nutrition and human performance. Baltimore:
Williams & Wilkins.
2. Boushel, R., Calbet, J. A., Radegran, G., Sondergaard, H., Wagner, P. D., Saltin, B. (2001).
Parasympathetic neural activity accounts for lowering of exercise heart rate at high altitude.
Circulation, 104(15), 1785−1791.
3. Casas, M., Casas, H., Pages, T., Rama, R., Ricart, A., Ventura, J. L., Ibanez, J., Rodriguez, F. A.,
Viscor, G. (2000). Intermittent hypobaric hypoxia induces altitude acclimation and improves the
lactate threshold, Aviat Space Environ Med, 71(2), 125-130.
4. Debevec, T., Burnik, S., Jereb, B. (2007). Dynamics of heart rate under step testloading as an
indicator of altitude acclimatisation. Kinesiologia Slovenica, 13(1), 5−13.
5. Hacket, P. H., Roach, R. C. (2001). High-Altitude Illness. The New England Journal of Medicine,
6. Lundby, C., van Hall, G. (2001). Peak heart rates at extreme altitudes.
High Alt Med Biol., 2(1), 41-45.
7. Mazzeo, R. S., Brooks, G. A., Butterfield, G. E., Podolin, D. A., Wolfel, E. E., Reeves, J. T. (1995).
Acclimatization to high altitude increases muscle sympathetic activity both at rest and during
exercise. American journal of physiology, 269(1), 201−207.
8. Pavlidis, M., Stupp, T., Georgalas, I., Georgiadu, E., Moschoh, M., Thanos, S. (2006). Intraocular
pressure changes during high – altitude acclimatization. Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and
Experimental Ophthalmology, 244(3), 298-304.
9. Richalet, J. P., Bittel, J., Herry, J P., Savourey, G., Le Trong. J. L., Auvert, J. F., Janin, C. Use of a
hypobaric chamber for pre-acclimatization before climbing Mount Everest. International journal of
sports medicine, 13(1), 216-220.