High Altitude Recreation and Vacations: What You Need to Know
Going up to a high altitude destination for some summer fun? Here are some things to remember:
- Make sure you apply and reapply sunscreen, especially if you are on the water or the snow. The sun is also much stronger at higher elevations.
- Drink plenty of water. You might not feel it especially when swimming or skiing but the air is dryer when you're higher and you need to make up for it by drinking extra fluids. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol are also important to stay hydrated. If you decided to indulge in an adult beverage, be aware that your tolerance for alcohol will go down the higher up you go!
- Carbohydrate intake is important. Carbohydrates allow you to use oxygen more efficiently keeping you energized for your high altitude activities.
- Don’t push yourself. You may notice you are a little breathless doing your usual workout routine. Your body will not perform at the same level it does at low elevation.
- Those with heart and lung disease and women who are pregnant should consult with their physician before travel to high altitude destinations.
Altitude sickness can strike anyone - including top athletes! If you experience altitude sickness it is best to return to a lower elevation, below 4000 feet, and contact a healthcare provider. While high altitude is officially defined at 8000 feet or higher, many of these tips still apply when at an elevation of 6000 feet. Your best bet is to be prepared and listen to your body!