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Chronicles from Concordia

(S)out(h) of breath

8 Jan 2016, 15:52 UTC
(S)out(h) of breath
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Breathing at -70 degrees celsius. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA - A. Kumar
ESA-sponsored medical doctor Floris van den Berg recounts how he prepared for his year-long stay in Concordia on his blog and explains why living in Concordia can be breathtaking.
Concordia Station is effectively located 3800 meters above sea level, so the phrase ‘out of breath’ is the number one answer you get when asking people how they feel when they first arrive.
I want to feel ‘pretty good’ instead, and headed to the National Centre for Nordic and Mountain Skiing in Prémanon, France for altitude training. There I met Laurent Schmitt, an expert in sports performance and altitude training with an impressive resumé including years of training for the French national sports selections, I was happy to meet him and discuss the optimal preparation for my year at altitude.
Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-F. van den Berg
So why do we have such a hard time breathing at altitude?
In our ‘normal’ life, at sea level, there is a column of air pressing down on us, which is comparable to the pressure of 10 m of water. The higher we go, the smaller the column and lower the amount of pressure we feel ...

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