week 5 blog

For my presentation, I want to research how high altitudes can affect an athlete’s performance. Ever since Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos I constantly heard how the air is thinner in Denver and how players were more fatigued when playing their. For example, Coors Field in Denver, where the Colorado Rockies play, has an altitude of nearly 5200 ft above sea level. The stadium with the second highest altitude is Chase Field in Phoenix with an altitude of less than 1100 ft above sea level. To me, that’s a staggering difference between the stadiums with the two highest elevations. Interestingly, this current NBA season, the Denver Nuggets had the best home record in the NBA despite not being a top 3 team in terms of talent. So I always wondered how much of a home-field advantage was the altitude? How do the home players train/practice to overcome it? From our textbook, we learned that endurance exercise performed at higher altitudes can impair performance and is associated with increased levels of stress hormones that could reduce immune function. Not only can high altitudes hinder performance, but can also lead to an increased risk of infection due to a combination of stresses, such as low arterial oxygen levels, high altitude related sleep disorders, and acute mountain sickness (1). Now, clearly, this didn’t seem to affect Peyton, who is the best QB of all time, as he went on to throw the most touchdowns in a single season, win his fifth MVP award, and another Super Bowl during his twilight years in Denver. However, I am sure the altitude affects virtually every player, especially the visiting team.

  1. Powers, Scott K., and Edward T. Howley. Exercise Physiology. 10th ed., McGraw-Hill Education, 2017


2 thoughts on “week 5 blog

  1. Hi Haim,

    Great post, I’m curious to learn more! Agreed, it seems like altitude must affect training and performance, I wonder how these players would describe the transition phase going into or out of playing for a Denver team. I also wonder how players’ awareness of the change in altitude affects their performance. It seems difficult to measure, but I would imagine that maybe pitchers could psych themselves out because they know that the ball carries in thinner air leading to more home runs. Taking it away from professional athletes, how would our VO2 max measurements from a few weeks ago change if we went there? Since there’s less oxygen I suppose we would not perform as well leading to lower oxygen consumption calculated. I can very much see why athletes have been interested in training in high altitudes in the past, it may force your body’s metabolic processes to be more efficient aerobically. Anyways, I am looking forward to your presentation down the road!

    Thanks and see you in class Monday,

    PS did you see the yanks? Big win.

  2. I think this is a very interesting research topic. I always knew that it was harder for athletes to travel and perform at their best in Denver. I didn’t know there was such a different in records of the Nuggets and other Denver teams. Do you think there could be any difference in playing in a dome or indoor facility compared to an outdoor stadium in Denver? The Nuggets won game 7 of the first round against the Spurs this year at Denver. Do you think the altitude change had anything to do with this? Do rookies have a hard time adapting to the Denver altitude when they first get drafted or traded? Also do you think there is any difference in training for athletes who call Denver home?

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