Athlete goes to bed up a mountain

June 9, 2000

Sports scientists at Staffordshire University have recreated the French Alps in an athlete's bedroom in an attempt to boost Britain's medal chances in this year's Olympics.

While Spencer Duval, 30, a 3,000m steeplechaser, is asleep inside the "Hypoxic Tent" - a unique altitude simulation system that recreates a mountainous atmosphere equivalent to 9,000 feet above sea level - his body is busy producing more red blood cells as a result of the lower oxygen levels.

As the increased number of red blood cells delays the onset of muscle fatigue, the runner's performance visibly improves. Tests after six months of treatment show that Mr Duval's body is 10 per cent more efficient.

Mr Duval said: "Sleeping in the tent is quite a pleasant experience as the air is cleaned and filtered, although it is strange to go upstairs to bed and then to climb into a tent."

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