Altitude Training for Clinical Applications

The latest research in simulated altitude training has demonstrated positive outcomes in patients with lower exercise tolerance, such as geriatric populations, as well as those with conditions including cardiovascular disease. Both passive and active hypoxic training has been shown to improve factors such as quality of life, exercise tolerance, resting heart rate, blood pressure and cardiovascular health in these individuals.


View the case studies below to learn more about altitude training for clinical applications:

Intermittent hypoxia increases exercise tolerance in elderly men with and without coronary artery disease


Group Studied Altitude (%) Altitude (m)
Elderly patients with/without CVD

14% – 10%

3000 m – 5800 m
  • Passive hypoxic exposure was more effective than control at improving exercise capacity and tolerance
  • After passive hypoxic exposure, subjects saw greater improvements in resting heart rate, blood pressure, minute ventilation, arterial oxygen content, peak workload and perceived exertion during sub maximal exercise

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Intermittent hypoxia training as non-pharmacologic therapy for cardiovascular diseases: Practical analysis on methods and equipment


Group Studied Altitude (%) Altitude (m)
Individuals w/ CVD, Young (<50) and elderly populations 12% – 10% 4300 m – 5800 m
  • Accumulated evidence demonstrates safety and effectiveness of hypoxic training for healthy patients and those with various diseases 
  • Passive hypoxic exposure and training in hypoxic environments can be used effectively as treatments for cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, chronic heart failure, etc.) 
  • Hypoxic intervention improves quality of life, exercise tolerance and capacity and reduces resting heart rate and blood pressure to a greater extent than conventional treatments alone

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Endurance Training in Normobaric Hypoxia Imposes Less Physical Stress for Geriatric Rehabilitation
Group Studied Altitude (%) Altitude (m)
Geriatric Populations 15.2% 8500 m
  •  Endurance training in hypoxia requires less physical effort to reach similar relative intensities compared to normoxic training
  • Hypoxic training can provide the same aerobic training effect while, generating less wear and tear on the body  

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Improved Exercise Performance and Skeletal Muscle Strength After Simulated Altitude Exposure: A Novel Approach for Patients With Chronic Heart Failure
Group Studied Altitude (%) Altitude (m)
Patients w/ Cardiovascular Disease
19.8% – 14.8% 1500 m – 2700 m
  • Patients with chronic heart failure increased quality of life, 6 minute walk distance, and exercise tolerance (duration of submaximal walking to fatigue), after 10 sessions in hypoxia over 22 days
  • Benefits lasted up to 4 weeks after intervention
  • Quality of life measured with the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionaire

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Effect of IHT Conditioning on Inflammatory Biomarkers in Older Adults
Group Studied Altitude (%) Altitude (m)
Older men and women (65-75 years)
15.5% 2500 m
  • Resistance training for older people in hypoxia is an effective tool for reducing low-grade inflammation, and increasing anti-inflammatory biomarkers.

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Safety and Efficacy of Intermittent Hypoxia Conditioning as a New Rehabilitation/Secondary Prevention Strategy for Patients with Cardiovascular Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Group Studied Altitude (%) Altitude (m)
Elderly Patients w/ CVD
14% – 10% 3000 m – 5800 m
  • IHT can be safe and effective for improving heart rate and blood pressure
  • IHT can be an effective therapy to combat the negative effects of CVD

Click here to view the full paper

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