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By studying this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Describe the changes in atmospheric pressure, air temperature, and air density with increasing altitude.

  2. Describe how altitude affects sprint performances and explain why that is the case.

  3. Explain why distance running performance decreases at altitude.

  4. Draw a graph to show the effect of altitude on V˙O2 max and list the reasons for this response.

  5. Graphically describe the effect of altitude on the heart rate and ventilation responses to submaximal work, and explain why these changes are appropriate.

  6. Describe the process of adaptation to altitude and the degree to which this adaptation can be complete.

  7. Explain why such variability exists among athletes in the decrease in V˙O2 max upon exposure to altitude, the degree of improvement in V˙O2 max at altitude, and the gains made upon return to sea level.

  8. Describe the potential problems associated with training at high altitude and how one might deal with them.

  9. Explain the circumstances that caused physiologists to reevaluate their conclusions that humans could not climb Mount Everest without oxygen.

  10. Explain the role that hyperventilation plays in helping to maintain a high oxygen-hemoglobin saturation at extreme altitudes.

  11. List and describe the factors influencing the risk of heat injury.

  12. Provide suggestions for the fitness participant to follow to minimize the likelihood of heat injury.

  13. Describe in general terms the guidelines suggested for running road races in the heat.

  14. Describe the three elements in the heat stress index, and explain why one is more important than the other two.

  15. List the factors influencing hypothermia.

  16. Explain what the wind chill index is relative to heat loss.

  17. Explain why exposure to cold water is more dangerous than exposure to air of the same temperature.

  18. Describe what the “clo” unit is and how recommendations for insulation change when one does exercise.

  19. Describe the role of subcutaneous fat and heat production in the development of hypothermia.

  20. List the steps to follow to deal with hypothermia.

  21. Explain how carbon monoxide can influence performance, and list the steps that should be taken to reduce the impact of pollution on performance.


  • Altitude 549

    • Atmospheric Pressure 549

    • Short-Term Anaerobic Performance 549

    • Long-Term Aerobic Performance 550

    • Maximal Aerobic Power and Altitude 551

    • Acclimatization to High Altitude 553

    • Training for Competition at Altitude 554

    • The Quest for Everest 554

  • Heat 557

    • Hyperthermia 557

  • Implications for Fitness 559

  • Implications for Performance 559

  • Cold 561

    • Environmental Factors 562

    • Insulating Factors 564

    • Heat Production 565

    • Descriptive Characteristics 565

    • Dealing with Hypothermia 566

  • Air Pollution 567

    • Particulate Matter 567

    • Ozone 567

    • Sulfur Dioxide 567

    • Carbon Monoxide 567


Air Quality Index (AQI)

atmospheric pressure


exercise-induced muscle cramps

exertional heat stroke

heat exhaustion


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