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New NAU Training Facility Uses Altitude Control Technology

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The new 77,000-square-foot Student-Athlete High-Performance Center at Northern Arizona University is using a special technology that allows athletic trainers to change the effective altitude within the facility to simulate different elevations in order to maximize physical training.

The altitude simulation, by Altitude Control Technology, enables the athletic staff to easily set the desired elevation in the new 2,000-square-foot altitude chamber, and within hours the athletes are able to train in a completely different environment, according to a news release

NAU is situated at approximately 7,000 feet of altitude, and many of the university's student-athletes use the advantages that high-altitude exercise and training can offer, which is particularly beneficial to NAU's cross-country, track and other endurance sports teams.

NAU athletic trainers and exercise scientists are also exploring new ways to train elite collegiate athletes, including simulating sea-level and even higher altitudes for different types of strength, recovery and endurance workouts. 

"Only a handful of NCAA athletic facilities have altitude training capabilities, and we're thrilled to be one, as now we are on the leading-edge of new research exploring the physical benefits of sea-level and variable altitudes for athletic performance," Mike Marlow, athletic director for NAU, said in a news release. "We explored numerous options for altitude simulation and the modern, flexible technology from ACT was the best solution for our Student-Athlete High-Performance Center due to its simplicity yet robust technology capabilities. Coupled with our nutrition counseling, strength program and expert staff, we know the altitude simulation environment will enable a whole new student-athlete experience."

According to ACT, its technology is installed much like heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems. Using a touchscreen similar to a smart thermostat, users can adjust the room setting to the desired altitude, and the system automatically and seamlessly recalibrates the oxygen and nitrogen mix. ACT said its technology is capable of creating a lower indoor altitude setting in mountain environments, where high-altitude can significantly degrade the sleep quality of visitors or even create serious illness. 

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