How To Train for High Altitude Hiking (Exercises & Helpful Tips)

High-altitude hiking is quite different than standard hikes, and it’s not just because of the difference in views. Everything from the blood flow to your extremities to your lung capacity is different when hiking at high altitudes. Understandably, many people struggle with how to train for high-altitude hiking.

The best way to train for high-altitude hiking is to practice deep breathing techniques and aerobic exercises. It’s also important to slowly increase the lengths of your hikes leading up to it and get used to spending time at high altitudes. Never drink alcohol before high-altitude hiking, and make sure to reduce or avoid caffeine the day of the hike.

Drink as much water as possible and avoid diuretics so you don’t get hydrated. Make sure your doctor says you are physically fit for high-altitude hiking. Follow along as we explore how to train for high-altitude hiking.

How Do You Train Your Body for High Altitude Hiking?

Visit a Doctor

Before you do anything else, you should visit your primary doctor to see if you are healthy enough for high-altitude hiking. High-altitude hiking can be dangerous for people with heart conditions and asthma. Your body produces more stress hormones and releases them into the bloodstream when at high altitudes.

This is also dangerous for people with high blood pressure. Schedule a standard physical to make sure you don’t have any conditions that could be worsened by high-altitude hiking.

Practice Breathing Techniques

Breathing is one of the biggest challenges of high-altitude hiking. It’s typically harder to breathe at high altitudes, especially if you aren’t used to the sensation or if you have asthma. Gradually integrate slow and deep breathing exercises into your daily routine to train for high-altitude hiking.   

Aerobic Exercises

High-altitude hiking affects your body’s blood flow and oxygen levels. Aerobic exercises can help your body prepare and adapt to spikes and dips in oxygen and blood flow throughout your extremities. It’s important to do aerobic exercises regularly, but you should especially practice them before high-altitude hiking.

The best aerobic exercises to train for high-altitude hiking include burpees, squats, running, jumping rope, and jumping jacks. Ideally, you should train with aerobic exercises at least 3 days per week in sessions of at least 20 minutes.

Work Your Way Up to It

It can shock your system if you jump right into high-altitude hiking with no experience. Ideally, you should slowly increase the altitude of your hikes over time to become acclimated to the sensation. This is a great way to avoid altitude sickness which can be dangerous.

Go on hikes that are the same distance as the one you are planning to make sure you can handle the physical demands. The high-altitude hike will naturally be more challenging, so practice enough that it’s a relatively easy hike at low altitudes.

Stretch

Muscle aches and cramping are common symptoms of altitude sickness. Not only does hiking strain your muscles, but the high altitude changes your body’s blood flow. This can lead to stiff muscles that make it harder to continue hiking. Stretch each day leading up to the hike, but make sure not to overdo it the morning before your hike.

Stay Hydrated

While high-altitude hiking, you may notice that you go through a lot more water than usual. Besides the physical exertion and sweating, this happens because you typically urinate more at high altitudes. You must drink more water than usual to compensate for the loss of fluids through urine.

Try to drink a gallon of water a day or so leading up to high-altitude hiking to go into the trip hydrated. This will also prepare you to feel comfortable with lots of water in your system as well as frequent urination breaks.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine are enjoyable when you consume them occasionally and responsibly. However, they are both diuretics and make it difficult for your body to stay hydrated. Never drink alcohol the night before you go high-altitude hiking so you don’t start the day at a dehydrated disadvantage.

Avoid caffeine the day of your hike and instead use water, vitamin B, and a healthy meal to provide energy.

Pack Wisely

The clothing that you bring with you ultimately determines how comfortable you will be while high-altitude hiking. You can expect to feel quite chilly when hiking at high altitudes in most cases. The key is to wear clothing that is light and comfortable but provides warmth.

Compressable pants and standard hiking pants are typically perfect for high-altitude hiking. Make sure to wear a moisture-wicking shirt as a base layer to absorb your sweat. This will help you stay warm as the sweat would otherwise eventually become cold and lower your body temperature.

It’s also important to pick clothes made of quick-drying hiking material. That way, you won’t be soaking wet from sweat or rain as you ascend to a high altitude where it will undoubtedly be colder.

Wait a Few Days

The last thing you should do is go straight into high-altitude hiking when you reach your destination. This will greatly increase the risk that you get altitude sickness, and it could shock your system. Instead, you should spend at least a day or two to get used to the altitude and climate.

You can take this chance to train for your hike, practice breathing techniques, and work on aerobic exercises. It will also give your lungs and brain time to adjust to the difference in oxygen levels at high altitudes.

So, How Do You Train for High Altitude Hiking?

Visit a doctor to make sure you are healthy and practice breathing techniques to train for high-altitude hiking. It’s also important to integrate aerobic exercises and stretches into your workout routine before hiking at high altitudes. Avoid alcohol and caffeine in high-altitude hiking and drink lots of water the day of the hike.

2 thoughts on “How To Train for High Altitude Hiking (Exercises & Helpful Tips)”

  1. Cuando sospechamos que nuestra esposa o esposo ha traicionado el matrimonio, pero no hay evidencia directa, o queremos preocuparnos por la seguridad de nuestros hijos, monitorear sus teléfonos móviles también es una buena solución, que generalmente te permite obtener información más importante..

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