How To Avoid Altitude Sickness
Scaling a mountain is one of those “bucket list” exploits we all want to accomplish at some point in our lives. We imagine we’ll feel so invigorated being up there, 8,000+ feet above sea level, looking down upon the land after hours of putting our bodies to the test. Unfortunately, some people spend this “magical moment” crippled with headaches, vomiting and weakness from altitude sickness. Don’t let that be you! Here are some important tips to consider before your trip.
Start Training Early.
- Practice working out at 70% Max Heart Rate on cardio machines in the months leading up to your trip.
- Spend time hiking above 8,000 ft. if you can.
- Eat foods containing a lot of iron, which aids oxygen transport.
- Bring high-carbohydrate snacks to keep your body fueled during the climb.
Plan Your Climb Wisely To Avoid Altitude Sickness.
Schedule rest if you’ve never climbed above 4,000 ft.
- Lots of electrolytes – especially once you get over 8,000 ft.
- Try to sleep below 10,000 ft., ideally at around 5,000 to 6,000 ft.
- Keep a route with fast descent open, so you can drop 1,500 ft. in a jiffy.
Raid Your Medicine Cabinet.
- According to TIME Magazine, basic ibuprofen (Advil) can prevent 26 percent of altitude sickness cases.
- Ginger extract capsules will help if you are prone to nausea.
- Stock up on herbs like glutathione, vitamin C, antioxidants, vitamin E, and l-glutamine – all of which are recommended by the Denver Naturopathic Clinic. (Zaca contains a lot of these)
Serious climbers will tell you that descending to a lower level and giving the body time to become acclimated is the only real way to combat altitude sickness with any degree of success. “Within a few days, you’ll increase your breathing rate to take in more oxygen,” mountaineer Dr. Stuart Harris told the Boston Globe.
“Other systems in your body adjust as well; for instance, your kidneys will excrete more bicarbonate in the urine in order to accommodate your faster breathing rate. That will cause you to urinate more frequently. After several weeks, your body will produce more red blood cells to become more efficient at transporting oxygen.”