Hiking Made Easy – High altitude hiking can be fun and challenging. However, first, you may need to know how to train for high altitude hiking?
The air is thinner and contains less oxygen while you are hiking at a high altitude (measured as over 10,000 feet), making it more difficult to breathe.
It is critical to give yourself enough time to prepare for your high-altitude hike in order to complete it in the best possible condition. Preparing for a high altitude hike is not easy and requires some extra effort.
The higher you go in altitude, the more significant the threats become. It is unfortunate that there are no particular risk factors that might lead to the development of altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness – it does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, or physical fitness.
It is not more likely for someone who has experienced in the past to suffer in the future. Knowing that these dangers exist, you should do all in your power to minimize any additional risks and prepare to become as physically fit as you possibly can in the weeks leading up to your simulated altitude hike.
If you follow these preparatory guidelines for your high-altitude trek, you will appreciate it much more since you will have more time to concentrate on your wonderful surroundings and breathtaking air, which will allow you to enjoy it even more.
Also Read: Why Do Hands Swell When Hiking – 10 Reasons
How to Train For High Altitude Hiking – 15 Tips
Due to the fact that appropriate training can help to mitigate some of the symptoms of high altitude, many climbers devote a significant amount of time to training before leaving on a high-altitude trek.
If you’re new to high-altitude hiking, you might be wondering where to begin your preparations for the journey.
We will not provide you with an exhaustive fitness schedule to prepare for your next hike because every individual is unique. As a substitute, here are 15 tips for high altitude hiking training:
Consult With A Medical Professional
Before beginning a new training routine, consult with your doctor to ensure that you do not have any pre-existing illnesses that might prevent you from hiking at high altitudes. Let’s get this party started if you’re all clear.
Concentrate on Your Cardio
As a result of climbing at higher altitudes, your cardiovascular system will be operating at its utmost capacity.
We gain height, and the atmospheric pressure in the air around us drops as a result. When compared to the air at sea level, this indicates that there is a proportionately lower amount of accessible oxygen in the air. So, this is how to train for high altitude hiking.
When hiking at high altitudes, your body will have a difficult time getting enough oxygen into your bloodstream to keep you going. As a result, having a stronger cardiovascular core will help you achieve more success while you’re at high altitudes.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to improve your aerobic fitness to the point where you can trek all day at a brisk pace in lower-level mountains without being too tired or hot (up to 6,000 meters).
If you’re having too much difficulty down there, things aren’t likely to get much better as you get to the top of the mountain.
In the case of those who live near hills and smaller mountains, you’ll want to get out as much as possible during your training for longer walks (6-10 hours).
In the event that traveling out of the city is not an option, any sort of cardiovascular exercise will be useful. Moreover, it can be good to incorporate a variety of sports, such as running (particularly uphill! ), bicycling, and swimming, to avoid overuse problems.
Increase Your Water Consumption
It is very crucial to stay hydrated when hiking at altitude.
At high altitudes, dry mountain air mixed with more intensive breathing can quickly lead to dehydration. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll want to drink more water, but sadly, that’s easier said than done in this situation.
Begin gradually increasing your daily water consumption a few weeks before your journey so that your body has time to adjust to the additional volume of water you will be drinking. So, staying hydrated is important.
So, increasing your water intake will help you how to train for high altitude hiking.
To enhance your aerobic fitness, you should include a significant amount of cardio at a sustained intensity in your fitness routine.
Even though many people swear by interval training to increase cardiovascular fitness, you should be certain that you will be able to keep a steady pace for the number of hours you will be walking each day.
The VO2 max (the greatest amount of oxygen that your body can consume) is improved by aerobic activities such as running, riding, and swimming.
The importance of this is increased while trekking at high altitudes since there will be less oxygen in the air for you to inhale, and each breath will be critical. Whatever form of exercise you pick, make sure to incorporate hill training into your routine.
Hike With A Heavy Pack
At higher heights, even a lightweight pack might seem like a tonne of bricks, especially if you’re hiking in a group.
As a result, while you’re preparing for high altitude hiking, you’ll want to become used to carrying a pack that’s far heavier than the one you’ll be carrying on your trip.
Although it is not harmful to the human body, carrying a heavy pack can be exhausting. What is the solution? It is possible to carry jugs of water or MSR Dromedary bags full of upward water sections of a climb and then dump the water when you reach the top.
This allows you to benefit from the training effects of hiking with a large load while limiting the harm done to your knees, hips, and body when going downhill at a fast pace. So, this is how to train for high altitude hiking using a heavy pack.
Deep Breathing Exercises
At high altitudes, deep breaths are more efficient than short breaths because they provide your body more time to efficiently exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen.
Deep breaths also assist in calming your heartbeat and stabilizing your blood pressure, which is beneficial. It can also assist you in calming down on the hill if you become anxious. It can be a side effect of shortness of breath.
In order to expand your lungs, practicing deep breathing requires strengthening your respiration muscles like the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, which may be done alone or as part of a yoga routine.
Laying on your back and taking long, steady breaths through your nose is a good way to improve your deep breathing skills. Take deep breaths into your abdomen, back, and sides, and make sure you’re exhaling completely.
Increase Training Trek Distance and Altitude Gradually
As you train, you should aim to increase the distance and duration of your walks. Even if it is difficult to raise the altitude of your training treks.
Start out slowly and gradually increase your walking time until you are walking approximately one hour less than you would be expecting to walk on the longest walking day of your trip.
Exercise at least a couple of weeks before you want to go on your high-altitude trek to allow yourself enough time to recuperate from it. If you want to learn more ways how to train for high altitude hiking, continue reading.
If you are unable to get away from the city, you may always engage in some stair training. While jogging up and down staircases isn’t nearly as enjoyable as going on a walk, it is some of the most effective training you can receive on flat ground.
Staircases are commonly seen in high-rise residential buildings, high-school football stadiums, and ice rinks.
If you’re having trouble finding a staircase to run up, you may always hunt for a hill to train on by making hill sprints.
What is our recommendation? Begin with interval training on stairways and gradually progress to exercising with a backpack on your shoulders and back.
A weighted backpack is preferable to a weight vest when it comes to training because it more closely resembles the circumstances you’ll encounter on your trek.
Take A Rest Between Arriving and Hiking Time
In order to maximize your chances of having a successful trek at high altitudes while you reside at or near sea level. The essential thing you can do is allow for adequate time between arriving at your location and starting your hike.
If you take Everest as an example, climbers spend a month or more in Everest base camp before attempting to summit. However, even if you’re only flying into Colorado, it’s important to take a few days to relax before you begin climbing.
Many travelers neglect this phase, and as a result, they may find themselves spending more time in bed than they did on the trail. So, this is how to train for high altitude hiking while taking a rest.
Yoga Breathing Techniques
It is possible to become out of breath at a high altitude after only a brief burst of physical activity. In order to gain control over your breathing again, it is recommended that you practice yogic breathing.
The simple act of being accustomed to breathing in a rhythm and taking deep abdominal breaths might be beneficial. You will feel less scared on your walk if you have a better understanding of how to keep it under control.
Don’t Forget About Strength Training
Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts frequently place so much emphasis on improving their aerobic endurance that they fail to perform any weight training.
Although spending time in a gym lifting weights isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. However, weight training may help you build stronger muscles and give more stability and support to your body when you’re working in a demanding setting.
Additionally, weight training can help in the prevention of injuries and the improvement of anaerobic ability in your muscles. They both are beneficial at higher elevations.
As a trekker, you are unlikely to desire to develop into a hulking bodybuilder. But a well-rounded training regimen that incorporates weight lifting may make a significant impact on your performance in the hills.
A certified personal trainer or fitness specialist at your local gym can assist you in developing a customized weight lifting regimen that is tailored to your specific requirements.
So, this is how to train for high altitude hiking using strength training.
Maintain A Steady Pace on the Trail
When you’re ready to tackle the path, be prepared for a completely different experience than you’re used to having on your regular hikes.
No matter how much trekking you’re used to, you’ll never know how your body will react to being at a high altitude unless you’ve experienced it.
Slow down, be willing to take breaks, carry a water bottle to promote regular hydration, and bring food to keep you fueled throughout the day.
The most effective strategy to avoid altitude sickness is to acclimatize adequately to higher altitudes before traveling.
You should avoid gaining more than 1,000 feet (304 meters) of elevation every day from campground to campsite until you’ve climbed beyond 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), especially if you’re at the beginning of your trek.
With time, you’ll become more adjusted to the altitude and gain more experience at higher elevations. Moreover, you’ll be able to make your own judgments about how much elevation gain you’re comfortable with every day.
For the most part, hiking and trekking guides will keep their daily elevation gain plans reasonable. Moreover, they make sure that no one campsite is more than 1,000 feet (304 meters) higher than the preceding.
Ascending slowly is another way that can help you with how to train for high altitude hiking.
Stay Away From Alcoholic Beverages
Despite the fact that we all like a celebratory beer at the end of the day, alcohol is respiratory depression. It means it might slow down your acclimatization process.
Furthermore, because alcohol is a diuretic, it accelerates urine and dehydrates the body. It is not something you want at high altitudes when you’re already short of fluids.
What is our recommendation? Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages during your first several days on the road.
Depending on how you’re feeling, you may be able to have a drink or two throughout the day later in your trip. However, you should be extremely cautious about how much you consume and drink responsibly.
Supplements and Medications
Supplements and medications are used by many high-altitude hikers to help them cope with the effects of high altitudes.
When someone is going on a lengthy high-elevation trek, many doctors may prescribe Diamox (acetazolamide) to them. It can help prevent and decrease the symptoms of altitude sickness.
Although Diamox is an effective treatment for altitude sickness, it should only be used in combination with other measures such as prudent decision-making and training.
FAQs – How to Train For High Altitude Hiking?
How do you train for a high altitude hike?
You can train for a high altitude hike in the following 15 ways:
- Consult With A Medical Professional
- Concentrate on Your Cardio
- Increase Your Water Consumption
- Aerobic Training
- Hike With A Heavy Pack
- Deep Breathing Exercises
- Increase Training Trek Distance and Altitude Gradually
- Stair Training
- Take A Rest Between Arriving and Hiking Time
- Yoga Breathing Techniques
- Don’t Forget About Strength Training
- Maintain A Steady Pace on the Trail
- Slowly Ascend
- Stay Away From Alcoholic Beverages
- Supplements and Medications
How long does it take to train for high altitude?
Generally speaking, most coaches advise spending a minimum of two weeks at altitude, although this is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Even if you just have a week to spare, exercising in the mountains may provide physical and mental advantages. Those advantages will persist for several weeks after you return to the lower altitudes.
What is considered high altitude hiking?
Hiking at a high altitude requires a mountain that is between 8,000 and 12,000 feet in altitude. Moreover, extremely high altitude hikes take place on mountains are between 12,000 and 18,000 feet in altitude.
Do you burn more calories hiking at high altitude?
Your metabolic rate improves as a result of the altitude training. An exercise at a higher altitude increases your calorie-burning capacity for the following 12 to 15 hours.
So you can continue to burn calories even while watching television. In addition, you will be able to get greater outcomes in half the time.
So, we have discussed 15 effective tips for how to train for high altitude hiking. Now, it is up to you how you prepare yourself for high-altitude hiking. If you have been to any high-altitude hiking, then share your experience with us in the comments.