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Cardiovascular Responses to Climbing Mt. Rainier in Relation to Aerobic Fitness and Body Composition: Board #24 May 28 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Visich, Paul1; Loubert, Peter1; Davis, John2; Stansberry, Mark3

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 5 - p S174-S175
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000322221.59744.1c
A-23 Free Communication/Poster - Endurance Training: MAY 28, 2008 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM: ROOM: Hall B

1Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 2Alma College, Alma, MI. 3Mountain Town Rehab, Mt. Pleasant, MI.


(No relationships reported)

Mountaineering provides considerable challenge to cardiovascular fitness because of vertical climbing, the additional weight of a backpack and the change in partial pressure of oxygen with increasing altitude. Few studies have looked at the relationship between VO2 max and body composition and the cardiovascular responses to high altitude summit climbs. Recent technological advances (heart rate data loggers and GPS) have made this sort of data collection possible.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess cardiovascular responses while ascending Mt. Rainier in middle age males with varying aerobic fitness and body composition.

METHODS: Four middle-aged males volunteered to participate in this study. Aerobic capacity was determined by completing a Bruce protocol treadmill test with metabolic assessment. Body composition was assessed by skinfold thickness using the Jackson and Pollock three-site formula. Aerobic capacity and body composition were determined before attempting the summit climb. Heart rate during the climb was measured using a Polar Heart Rate data logger and elevation was determined using a handheld portable GPS. Climbers ascended from 5,420 feet to 10,030 feet over approximately 6h, during which data were collected.

RESULTS: Four males with an age of 49.8 + 4.2y, an aerobic capacity of 44.0 + 8.0 and % fat of 21.4 + 4.3 completed the study. When assessing the relationship of %HRR to VO2max, an inverse relationship was observed (r= −.86). In addition, when assessing the relationship of %HRR to body fat%, a positive relationship was observed (r= .95).

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that aerobic fitness has a pronounced effect on exercise intensity when climbing Mt. Rainier. In addition, body fat% demonstrated to have a strong positive influence on oneâЄ™s HR response when climbing Mt. Rainer. These results strongly suggest the need to promote aerobic fitness and decrease body fat when preparing to climb Mt. Rainer successfully.

©2008The American College of Sports Medicine