Height 101

(Denver, Colorado) After Avalanche’s 7-0 victory over Lightning in Game Two of the Finals, many observers have raised the issue of altitude as an explanation.

Posted at 7:00 am

Clouds Lifrancois

Clouds Lifrancois

After all, it seems unnatural for a hockey machine to be as good as amorphous lightning. Those questions seemed more legitimate after Lightning’s 3 resounding home win.

Looking back at the first four games, we now see that we have to take it and leave it, and that altitude is only one source of explanation, but not the only one, far from it. Obviously, the right to the last change is of paramount importance.

John Cooper’s men put their tongues on the ground again in the second half of the game on Wednesday. The meeting took place in Tampa, however, where one might say that the highest passes are the bridges that span the highways.

However, altitude remains an interesting element to analyze. If we just wanted to add a bit of scientific knowledge to our sports pages, we interviewed an object specialist to better understand the human body: Dr.s Todd Ball, MD, professor of medicine and lung sciences at the University of Denver School of Medicine.

Photo from the University of Denver website

considered ds Todd Ball, MD, professor of medicine and lung sciences at the University of Denver School of Medicine

Journalism What is the basic principle behind the difficulty of exercising at heights?

considered ds Todd Paul : Many of your readers themselves may have noticed that their ability to exercise decreases at higher elevations, even in places like Denver, which we consider to be at moderate elevations. These people must have felt short of breath. It is the result of a change in atmospheric pressure. No matter where you are, the percentage of oxygen in the air always remains constant, at 21%. But the number of oxygen molecules we breathe decreases as we go up in altitude, because the pressure decreases. With each breath, we absorb fewer oxygen molecules. And there is less pressure to push this oxygen into the body, into the tissues. So even though there is a lot of oxygen in the air, people breathe in less of it. It is a real phenomenon. People who like to run take note.

Lightning and Avalanche players spent a few days in Tampa. Do avalanche players retain a long-term advantage, because they play and train at altitude throughout the year?

There are many coping factors that affect multiple organs, and these differences are not fully understood. What we have known for a long time is that training at altitude gives an advantage. This is the reason why many runners move to Colorado to train. However, we’re in Denver at a moderate altitude, so it’s not like Bolivia, for example. Since avalanche players play and train at altitude most of the time, they have a certain advantage. But each player has their own individual characteristics as well. Except all other things being equal, if we take the exact same one, the one who trains at altitude will have an advantage.

Do the effects of altitude change with the seasons or whether the activity is indoors or outdoors?

No, unless you’re in a pressurized room, it’s the same. Humidity can have an effect, but it remains minimal.

Denver is one of the few cities with teams in all five of the major professional sports. In which sports are athletes most likely to experience the effects of elevation?

The real answer is long distance running. But hockey will be at the top of the list because it’s a sport that requires a blast, as players transition from aerobic exercise to anaerobic effort. The heart must constantly deliver oxygen. So football will be very high as well. Baseball will be at the bottom of the list because it is a fast move, and then the player has plenty of time to recover.


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