Antarctica is a challenging habitat for humans. A group of 6 explorers (3 women and 3 men) participated in an expedition in Antarctica. The objective was to observe the physiological acclimatization of the explorers using the following strategies: physical preparation, highcaloric nutritional intake, and the latest physiological monitoring and outdoor equipment. Anthropometric measures (dual x-ray absorptiometry), specific maximal aerobic test, maximal aerobic running speed test, submaximal aerobic cold testing, strength tests (grip strength, leg press and chin up), and endurance tests (bar suspension and chair position) were conducted pre- and post-expedition. Due to the sample size, a paired t-test was used for normally distributed data and non-parametric (Wilcoxon) to compare values pre- and post-expedition. Effect sizes are presented as Cohen’s d. The lean mass for the women was significantly higher after the expedition (45.4 ± 4.4 vs. 47.1 ± 4.1 kg; p = 0.040, d = 1.86); however, no significant difference was observed for the men (66.7 ± 7.3 vs. 66.0 ± 5.7 kg; p = 0.581, d = 0.11). Pre- and post-expedition values were significantly different for the specific maximal aerobic test, where the VO2peak was 40.8 ± 4.2 vs. 46.9 ± 7.4 ml/kg/min, respectively (p = 0.027, d = 1.01), but no significant difference was observed for the other aerobic tests. The muscular testing did not change significantly, except for the left leg one maximal repetition (295 ± 110 vs. 364 ± 135 lb, pre- and post-expedition respectively, p = 0.031, d = -0.56). The overall preparation for the expedition appears to be a key aspect in order to countermeasure the physical ability decay during an Antarctica expedition. However, further studies will need to be developed to discern the importance of the preparation components.
Parent, Andrée-Anne; Martin, Daniel; Morales, Sandra; Boucher, Jean; and Comtois, Alain-Steve
"XP-Antarctik Expedition: The Effect of a Month-Long Expedition in Antarctica on Physiological Performance,"
Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments: Vol. 14
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jhpee/vol14/iss1/10