Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Recommendations for altitude training programming to preserve athletes’ health after the COVID-19 pandemic
  1. Giorgio Manferdelli1,2,
  2. David John Bishop3,
  3. Martino V Franchi4,
  4. Fabio Sarto4,
  5. Olivier Girard5,
  6. Simone Porcelli6,7
  1. 1 Institute of Biomedical Technologies, National Research Council, Segrate, Lombardia, Italy
  2. 2 School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK
  3. 3 Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living, School of Sport and Exercise Science, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4 Institute of Physiology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Università degli Studi di Padova, Padova, Italy
  5. 5 School of Human Sciences, Exercise and Sport Science, University of Western Australia Faculty of Law, Perth, New South Wales, Australia
  6. 6 Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
  7. 7 Medical Committee, Italian Winter Sports Federation, Milano, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Simone Porcelli, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy; simone.porcelli{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Low-to-moderate altitude (2000–2500 m) training camps are an integral part of many athletes’ training programmes.1 Despite potential positive effects on performance, sojourning at altitude represents an important stress on the human body with transiently increased pulmonary and kidney stress, neuroendocrine dysregulation and immune perturbations.2 This highlights the importance of the careful planning and organisation of altitude training camps, which may be even more critical during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Preliminary reports suggest that hypoxaemia and inflammation induced by COVID-19 result in heterogenous lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome, eventually leading to acute respiratory failure.3 Some authors have also speculated that COVID-19-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome may share some similarities with high-altitude pulmonary oedema.4 Even though COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, it can also negatively affect the cardiovascular system, exposing affected patients to myocarditis or myocardial damage.5 Moreover, COVID-19 may impair renal function as well as the circulatory and the immune system.

As we move towards the gradual resumption of normal life once the COVID-19 emergency subsides, athletes will also seek to resume their regular training.6 With the cancellation or postponement of almost half of the scheduled sporting events in 2020 (eg, the Tokyo Olympics, many of the cycling tours, World Marathon …

View Full Text


  • Twitter @FabioSarto3, @PorcelliSimone

  • Contributors GM and SP conceived the article. All authors contributed in writing the article. All authors have commented, revised and approved the article in its final form before submission to the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.