It is well known that acute hypoxia has negative effects on balance performance. An attempt to compensate for the influence of hypoxia on competition performance was made by the application of hyperoxic gases (inspiratory fraction of oxygen > 0.2095) prior to exercise. Purpose: To investigate whether hyperoxic preconditioning (pure-oxygen supplementation prior to exercise) improves balance ability and postural stability during normobaric hypoxia (3500 m) in highly skilled skiers. Methods: In this single-blind randomized, crossover study, 19 subjects performed a 60-s balance test (MFT S3-Check) in a normobaric hypoxic chamber. After a short period of adaptation to hypoxia (60 min), they received either pure oxygen or chamber air for 5 min prior to a balance test (hyperoxic preconditioning vs nonhyperoxic preconditioning). Capillary blood was collected 3 times. Results: Balance performance, indexed by sensory (P = .097), stability (P = .937), and symmetry (P = .202) scores, was not significantly different after the hyperoxic preconditioning phase. Balance performance decreased over time (no group difference). After hyperoxic preconditioning, arterial partial pressure of oxygen increased from 52.7 (4.5) mm Hg to 212.5 (75.8) mm Hg, and oxygen saturation of hemoglobin increased from 85.8% (3.5%) to 98.9% (0.7%) and remained significantly elevated to 90.1% (2.0%) after the balance test. Conclusion: A hyperoxic preconditioning phase does not affect balance performance under hypoxic environmental conditions. A performance-enhancing effect, at least in terms of coordinative functions, was not supported by this study.
David Morawetz, Tobias Dünnwald, Martin Faulhaber, Hannes Gatterer and Wolfgang Schobersberger
David Morawetz, Tobias Dünnwald, Martin Faulhaber, Hannes Gatterer, Lukas Höllrigl, Christian Raschner and Wolfgang Schobersberger
Background: The altering effects of hypoxia on aerobic/anaerobic performance are well documented and form the basis of this study. Application of hyperoxic gases (inspiratory fraction of oxygen [FiO2] > 0.2095) prior to competition or training (hyperoxic preconditioning) can compensate for the negative influence of acute hypoxia. Purpose: To investigate whether oxygen supplementation immediately prior to exercise (FiO2 = 1.0) improves all-out exercise performance in normobaric hypoxia (3500 m) in highly skilled skiers. Methods: In this single-blind, randomized, crossover study, 17 subjects performed a 60-second constant-load, all-out test in a normobaric hypoxic chamber. After a short period of adaptation to hypoxia (60 min), they received either pure oxygen or chamber air for 5 minutes prior to the all-out test (hyperoxic preconditioning vs nonhyperoxic preconditioning). Capillary blood was collected 3 times, and muscle oxygenation was assessed with near-infrared spectroscopy. Results: Absolute and relative peak power (P = .073 vs P = .103) as well as mean power (P = .330 vs P = .569) did not significantly differ after the hyperoxic preconditioning phase. PaO2 increased from 51.3 (3) to 451.9 (89.0) mm Hg, and SaO2 increased from 88.2% (1.7%) to 100% (0.2%) and dropped to 83.8% (4.2%) after the all-out test. Deoxygenation (P = .700) and reoxygenation rates (P = .185) did not significantly differ for both preconditioned settings. Conclusions: Therefore, the authors conclude that hyperoxic preconditioning did not enhance 60-second all-out exercise performance in acute hypoxia (3500 m).