The world is full of opportunities for amazing adventures and breathtaking views. The trick is getting to them!
If you love the kind of travel that involves peaks and valleys, then you’ll have to know how to deal with high altitudes. Because traveling at high altitude comes with risks, including altitude sickness, it requires some planning. While it ranges in severity, altitude sickness is never easy to deal with. The key is to prep your body so that you’re less susceptible and/or better equipped to manage its symptoms.
Preparation is essential when you want to explore the world’s amazing sites. Don’t ruin a great adventure because you didn’t plan ahead.
Here are five simple tips to prep your body for high altitude travel:
Get Fit. If you’re planning a trip that involves higher elevation, then you’ll probably need to do some climbing. Kicking up the workout in the weeks or months before your journey will improve your cardiovascular system, which helps with endurance and strength while also preparing the body for the shift in oxygen levels during your ascent. Even athletes have trouble acclimating to different elevations, but improved cardio is the best way to help you adjust to new barometric pressure levels. So get in shape!
Take Breaks. Whether it’s a day hike or a month-long trek, plan a journey that embraces the slow and steady. Consult experienced travelers to plan out a schedule for your trip. Include rest periods within your schedule to ensure that you’re giving your body a chance to acclimate to lower oxygen levels. Creating a rest schedule beforehand will help you stay mindful of your healthy pace when you're on the trail.
Prepare to Rest. Being at higher elevation makes you more susceptible to dehydration, so avoid alcohol in the days leading up to your trip. Instead, start drinking more water in the days leading up to your trek and keep on drinking throughout your trip. On moderate to intense treks, drink approximately a gallon of water each day.
Feed Yourself. Ascending anything takes a lot of calories. Be sure to prep for your trek with slow-burning, carb-rich foods in the days before your trek and continue to eat consistently throughout your trip. You might also benefit from a nutrient supplement like Altitude RX that will help improve your body’s ability to oxygenate your blood, reducing the chance of experiencing altitude sickness symptoms. This may seem obvious, but higher altitudes often cause a loss of appetite, which is counter-productive when it comes to staying healthy and avoiding altitude sickness. So even if you don’t feel hungry, eat!
Oxygenate. Some higher altitude locations may require an extra oxygen source, and this is not limited to adventure expeditions like Mt. Everest. Even some higher-altitude ski resorts recommend using oxygen masks for intermittent periods to mitigate altitude sickness.
When planning your trip, find out whether or not extra oxygen is recommended and available. Using oxygen during periods of rest will make the adjustment to lower air pressure a little more manageable. The key is to plan time to relax and hydrate.
Preparing your body for high altitude travel is the best way to ensure a fun and safe trip. Don’t let the symptoms of altitude sickness ruin your next great adventure.