Getting high for a cause

A unique Victoria University study offers 10 people the chance to get fit without raising a sweat.

Participants will spend three weeks living in the world-class high altitude hotel, at a simulated altitude of 3200 metres, to study the impact on muscle oxygen levels.

Professor David Bishop said preliminary research from the facility showed a 25% increase in the blood's oxygen-carrying ability, a 40% increase in oxygen take-up from the blood and a 15% increase in endurance performance.

"This increase in fitness is all without raising a sweat and just living in the altitude hotel," Professor Bishop said.

Researchers need male volunteers aged 18 to 40 who are available to spend 19 days, 24 hours a day, in the new Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL) high altitude facility at the Footscray Park campus. Each participant will be paid $300 for completing the study.

"This opportunity would be perfect for people who want some time to relax, read, study and think,'' Professor Bishop said. "It will be just like Big Brother, but without the cameras.''

Researchers want to know more about chronic hypoxia ­– a condition resulting from reduced oxygen availability, such as living in mountains at high altitude.

"A greater understanding of the adaptations to hypoxia is essential to better understand the basis of pathological conditions such as pulmonary diseases, which are characterised by a reduced availability of oxygen,'' Professor Bishop said.

A series of tests will be performed during the study including blood samples and constant-load exercise regimes.

Food and accommodation will be provided to participants as well as entertainment including digital TV, DVDs, internet access, printer, books, newspapers, magazines and board games. Each participant will be provided with a personal DVD player plus access to more than 50 DVDs.

For more information on the study, email Professor Bishop at or call Dr Alessandra Ferri on 0410 502 087.

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