Olympic stars of the future are benefiting from the latest training technology at Royal Preston Hospital.
Four young athletes from the Ribble Valley Athletics Club are being put through their paces using the latest cardio pulmonary exercise equipment which provides them with an in-depth evaluation of their current fitness levels.
The young athletes are using this information to help them set training goals in advance of a two week altitude training camp in the Pyrenees.
Cardio Pulmonary Exercise (CPEX) equipment is used at Lancashire Teaching Hospital trust to assess patients’ fitness for major surgery, especially major cancer surgery.
The equipment looks like a normal exercise bike, but is wired up to technology which assesses the heart and lungs during intense exercise to establish the point at which someone moves from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism.
This allows doctors to predict how well a patient’s heart and lungs will cope with major surgery.
Don Lennon, a UK Athletics performance coach at Ribble Valley Athletic Club who is also on the England Athletics national coach mentoring program mentored by national endurance coach Dave Sunderland, said: “A group of our young athletes will be travelling out to the Pyrenees next Easter to take part in a two week high altitude training camp, which is also used by the Team GB Olympic athletes.
“High altitude training enables athletes to expand their heart’s capacity which means that when they return to training back home, they can push themselves harder and improve their performance.
“Our athletes are already competing at county and national level so we are hopeful that this training will help take them to the next level which would be representing their country at Junior level and push them towards the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and beyond.”
Dr Sudheera Reddy, a consultant anaesthetist at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been using this cardio pulmonary exercise technology for around a year and we see around 12 patients a week as part of their pre-operative assessment for major surgery.
“Our equipment is state-of-the-art and comparable to the type used by elite athletes as part of their training programmes so we are very happy that it can be used to support these young athletes and their coaches develop new training goals.”
Karen Partington, chief executive, said: “We are always looking at new technology and innovations which can improve our services and the experience we provide for patients.
“The cardio pulmonary exercise equipment is a key part of the care we provide for patients before major surgery, but I am delighted that it can also play a part in helping us to support future athletic talent.”