Exercise and Altitude

June 3, 2021

No matter what your fitness level, significant changes in altitude pose challenges for your body, because of the reduced oxygen in the air. Traveling above 5,000-6,000 feet can have immediate effects on our bodies. If you take your training to an altitude that you are not used to -for example, if you routinely exercise at sea level and travel to an elevation of 8,000 feet—you’ll need to decrease the intensity of your sessions to allow your body to adapt.

Get Acclimated
Skipping this acclimation process can bring about adverse reactions associated with altitude sickness, as well as cerebral and pulmonary edema.

Signs of altitude sickness:
• Headache
• Nausea
• Fatigue
• Sleeplessness

Eye Protection
Don’t forget about your eyes. Wear UVA and UVB protective eyewear. Overexposure to the sun’s rays can lead to cataracts and other eye damage.

Protection from the Elements
• Sun protection—Hat for shielding the face and sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection
• Skin protection— Even on cloudy days, protect skin from overexposure. In cold and windy conditions, avoid water-based sunscreen that can freeze on the face. An SPF of 30 or higher, containing invisible zinc oxide is recommended

Altitude need not hinder your trail experience. Awareness and little preparation is all that’s required.

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