Sleeping in an oxygen tent is the latest hype among athletes

SAN DIEGO - It seems to be the latest magic bullet for a super condition: the altitude tent or oxygen tent. Cyclists from teams like Rabobank have been sleeping in it for a while, but triathletes and long-distance runners have also discovered the low-oxygen tent. They all hope to produce more red blood cells during their night's rest. The same effect as EPO, but then just legal.

On altitude internship in your own bedroom. It actually comes down to that. Athletes have been traveling into the mountains for years to improve their fitness. This works as follows: the higher you go, the less oxygen there is in the air. Your body responds by creating extra red blood cells. Back at sea level, your condition has improved considerably because the increase in red blood cells ensures that you can absorb more oxygen in the muscles.
"The problem is that altitude training has a lot of disadvantages," says Shaun Wallace of Hypoxico, the American company that launched the first altitude tent two years ago. «You are away from home and you often have to dig deep in the cash ring to train in the mountains for a few weeks. But the main negative effect is that you cannot maintain your normal training intensity at great heights. Exactly because of the lack of oxygen. »

Sex life

To solve that problem, Shaun Wallace worked with the people of Hypoxico on the idea of a handy transportable and easily installable height tent. Until recently it was called gadget Wallace Altitude Tent. "I have been working for Hypoxico for a few weeks," says Wallace. "I can now only deal with the height tents." That seems to be bearing fruit. More and more athletes are resorting to the tent. Last year, Ivan Gotti was looked up in the Tour of Italy. The leader of the Polti team retired to his tent every night. And won the Giro. A little later it turned out that the other riders, including Johan Museeuw, were not afraid to spend their nights without oxygen. And recently at the presentation of the Rabobank team, the team doctor also screened with the benefits of the miracle tent. "Of course we have to make sure that the rider does not suffer socially," the man said somewhat puzzlingly. He meant that the effect of the tent on the sexual life of the athlete was not yet sufficiently known ...

It is as if you would sleep at an altitude of 2500 meters. The ideal height to make more red blood cells

The Dutch triathlete Rob Barel, one of the pioneers when it comes to low-oxygen sleep, reassures Rabo riders. "It takes some getting used to, but it sleeps nicely," says Barel. His eega, who sleeps in the height tent with him, also seems to have no problems with it. «The generator is in a different room. There is therefore no noise nuisance. And for the rest it is just like at the campsite, only the low pressure tent is in our own bedroom. »
The term low pressure tent is actually not correct. "The generator creates absolutely no lower pressure, but only pumps oxygen-depleted air into the height tent," Wallace explains. «It's like you would sleep at an altitude of 2500 meters. The ideal height to make more red blood cells. »

Source: Het Belang van Limburg (06-02-00)