I have recently taken part in some altitude training in Kenya and boy was it hard work! Trainers in endurance events exercise a training technique known as altitude training. Several decades back, scientists found that individuals who reside in the hills, where the atmosphere contains lower amounts of oxygen, have higher than normal blood glucose amounts. This means that many athletes travel to high altitude areas in Africa for this type of training. A limiting factor in events that require endurance is that the time necessary to transfer oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. Since more than 98 percent of the oxygen from the blood is bound to red blood cells, individuals who have high numbers of red blood cells ought to consume high amounts of oxygen and so consume more oxygen available due to their own muscles, giving them higher endurance. It looks like altitude training at high elevation would enhance performance much more, so theoretically, all long distance runners, cross country skiers, bike racers along with additional athletes in endurance sports benefit from training and living in high altitudes.
But you can not train as deeply from the hills where oxygen is lean. Deficiency of oxygen through hard exercise slows down you. 1 set of investigators decided to determine if residing at high altitudes would raise red blood glucose focus, and training in low elevation would enable the athletes to carry out tougher workouts. The athletes that did this had a greater maximal oxygen uptakes, greater maximal aerobic power and reduced resting heart rates compared to the control group. The blood of those altitude trained athletes can carry more oxygen, and the oxygen concentration in their blood would go back to normal earlier after extreme contests so their performance was massively improved.
The following is taken from the personal diary of Atieno _Mbar), Lead Warden of Marsabit National Reserve (1972-84):
I fear for the safety of Tonto. I have not seen him for 3 days now, although his behavioural patters have been growing increasingly erratic; I could usually rely on him to collect his weekly food drop. Since being ousted from his troop by a new buck on the scene, Tonto has taken to roaming the reserve alone. It makes me sad and worried, and yet I know that this is the way of the world. It is not fair and yet it must be, in the natural world (as is sometimes the case in our own human world) the powerful wield their strength will little regard for lesser individuals. And so it is that, after leading his troop through famine and the threat of invading predators, Tonto finds himself alone.
I have grown tired of waiting for Tonto to return, it may sound ridiculous, but I feel compelled to venture into the forest to search for him. Nearly a week has passed, if he doesn’t find food soon he will surely die. More importantly he needs to socialise. To go from living with his troop, assessing signs of danger, sourcing food and attending to his females to simply fending for himself is a hard change for any beast, This This is why I must find him more than anything, to remind him that there is someone who still needs him, that his life is not without purpose. I will head in to the great forest at dawn and search for his tracks and other tell tale signs of his whereabouts. Tonto has always been a little destructive, leaving claw and scratch marks to mark his territory. Then again, there is nothing wrong with a little aggression, in certain situations it is more than warranted.
It has been tiring searching for Tonto, his marks seem to be everywhere I go yet his tracks are no where to be seen. My fresh water is beginning to run low, and fire wood is beginning to run low. Although temperatures must be running into the forties, inside the great forest moisture hangs heavy in the air, dampening the underbrush and making it impossible to find dry tinder. I should have brought supplies and more protective equipment, but I was in a rush when I left – not thinking straight. Gloves would have been useful, I’m starting to graze my knuckles and the tips of fingers are bloody – must be from hacking away the mangroves. Today I am thinking of my family, I do not know why – I must find Tonto. 10/07/78: I’m not going back. Tonto is dead. I have not found his body, but I know it in my heart. No man can survive without the love of his family, just like no beast can survive without water. The claw marks have been leading me in circles, and they have started to be embedded deeper and deeper into the trees. The troop found me today, marking my territory in the great forest – they want me to stay with them. It is not as simple as this though – I must prove myself – I must challenge the male.
Here is the question, the real question, the question on everyone lips: What would the world look like if animals that aren’t humans ruled the world? What if all the giraffes ruled the world instead of all the humans?
What on earth would that look like? Well I guess everything would be higher up, and a lot of stuff on the ground, and things would be written in Giraffe instead of the various human languages, and swimming pools would be absolutely massive, like really, really big. HUGE! Ha!
Can you imagine the swimming pools you’d need?! And what about all the other stuff? What about the swimming pool pumps and covers that you’d need? Eh? What about all that stuff?
That’s a lot of things that would have to be different and we haven’t even moved beyond the problems of what we’d have to do if all the giraffes were in power and maybe wanted to swim in swimming pools with swimming pumps and covers. What if they wanted to go skiing? Can you imagine the size of the ski’s that you’d need for a giraffe? They would have to be at least two times bigger than normal human skis I reckon, two times!
It’s taken us two hundred words to cover swimming and skiing! There’s so much other stuff!
This is going to take a while…
All The Animals, All The Time! When I was young I wanted to be a monkey so bad it hurt. I only went to the zoo once or twice when I was young (even though we lived very close to one of the best zoo’s in the country, I think my parents just didn’t care to much about me having fun) but the few times that I did go (and I don’t want to sound unappreciative for those times, I mean, I got to go to the zoo and the zoo’s amazing and many kids don’t get to go to the zoo, it’s just that for whatever reason all the other kids who grew up near me seemed to be going to the zoo a hell of a lot more…) I used to just love watching the monkeys.
All I ever wanted to do was to climb into those cages and cover myself in hair and be one of them, one of the monkies. And of course I would! Who the hell wouldn’t! I mean, one way you have to go to school and do what your told and eat boring food and stay inside and go to bed and maybe, maybe, you might get the odd chance to go and climb a tree if you are lucky and you are allowed and your parents aren’t being totally unfair. The other way you are a monkey and are always climbing trees like all the time! That is like literally amazing. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
I love getting out of the city, it’s something everyone should do as much as possible. Should people who live in the country try and visit the urban world every once in a while to make sure they stay connected to that aspect of the modern human experience? Well, I don’t know, I think people who live in the country side a deep connection with life and nature in its essence and the natural order of things, and really don’t need to have all that confused by what they might see in the city. The city is gross and bad, just leave it alone and keep going as if everything was still just the countryside, that’s what I say! I go to the countryside all the time, just last week I went up to stay in some lodges in Perthshire, Scotland just to get out into the fresh air for a bit and it worked wonders. If you’ve been stuck in the city a while you really have no idea just what a feeling it is to get out of there, do it now. Perthshire is a beautiful part of the country which doesn’t really get the attention it deserves, probably because it’s just so far away from everywhere. But, trust me, that’s what makes it such an escape!!