Effects of High Altitude on Performance of Three Different Types of Work

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To determine the effects of transition from a low altitude to a high altitude on three types of work performance, the rate at which S proceeded from low to high altitude, and the effects of a physical conditioning program. 24 young soldiers were studied at sea level. Their maximum performance on medicine ball putting (an explosive strength task), the bicycle ergometer (a stamina task), and chin-ups (a dynamic strength task) were measured. Half of the Ss participated in a physical conditioning program; Ss daily exercise was based upon exercise at 90% of his own maximum capacity. Eight Ss remained at sea level, 8 Ss ascended to an altitude of 14,110 ft. gradually (1 wk. each at an altitude of 5,200 ft. and 11,400 ft.), 8 Ss went directly to 14,110 ft. within 1 day. It was not possible to predict the amount of depression of performance capacity found at high altitude. Dynamic strength was not affected by high altitude, but explosive strength and stamina were. Explosive strength readapted within 2 wk.; stamina had not readapted after 1 mo. Gradual transition to high altitude was beneficial for the explosive strength but did not effect stamina. Physical conditioning proved efficacious in reducing performance decrement in explosive strength and stamina.

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