Welcome to the high altitude club, although you didn’t opt for it. Don’t blame anyone! Just embrace it and learn how to breathe again as a beginner. Yeah, It’s harder to get oxygen up here since the air pressure drops significantly than at sea level. Wait! Are you feeling dizzy or have a headache already? No need for panic! With this guide on how to breathe in high altitude, you’ll be breathing like a pro.
What is High Altitude?
Before we proceed, let’s understand what qualifies as high altitude. Kilimanjaro perhaps? Well, not necessary darling. Generally speaking above 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) is classified as high altitude while anything higher than 18,000 feet (5,486 meters) classifies as extreme altitudes.
Symptoms of High-Altitude Sickness
Let’s start by checking if your symptoms are exaggerated or mild signs of acute mountain sickness (AMS). This can happen within hours but also up to two days from arrival with more pronounced symptoms such as:
Nausea and vomiting
Shortness of breath during exertion rest after activity
Other severe complications could occur like Pulmonary oedema or cerebral oedema which require immediate emergency attention when mountain climbing.
Come on stretch that leg out…you still want those stunning photos right?
Breathing Techniques You Must Follow!
Now that we know our enemy(or friend), let’s conquer it together so that AMS does not defeat us before we reach our peak(emphasis added); though some achieve “peak performance” even with their oxygen tanks empty!
Take deep breaths preferably through pursed lips; inhale through your nose (quantity control 😉), exhale slowly enough by squeezing your stomach back into position allowing carbon dioxide (CO2) to leave the lungs without reducing blood oxygen levels.
Pushing your shoulders up, then back and down helps relieve tension in the neck and shoulder muscles.
Blow a Feather
Starting with slow breathing that goes deeper each time can be relaxing until you reach five or six deep breaths per minute. To measure if you’ve hit peak performance (pun intended), try controlling a feather or tissue paper by blowing, seeing how long it stays lifted.
Try not letting them fall…they are very light remember!
Breathing from your diaphragm instead of your chest assists more air movement while decreasing muscle strain on your neck.
Supplements- When You Need Extra Oxygen!
Sometimes due to sudden extreme conditions like traveling straight from a low altitude area we aren’t able to catch up even with our regular breathing techniques. Then don’t fret! We got some extra backup options for you:
Portable Supplemental Oxygen
Have an array of portable supplemental oxygen tanks readily available everywhere; airports, mountain bases being most popular places providing such services as high-altitude hospitals because dropping O2 levels could indeed become fatal quickly at altitude level.
Oxygen makes friends only in canisters now!
Acetazolamide is supposed to dawn heroic yellow boots for us mountaineers as it increases one’s ventilation rate which then balances out the drop-in lung function due to thin atmosphere above 8,000 feet AMS symptoms go away quicker after starting acetazolamide saving many mountains every year-(seriously).
Check availability of altitude sickness vaccine- “Erfolg” and other medical treatments specific to region though seeking doctor consultation is best advice .trust me Doctor Google won’t do justice here!!
Staying Hydrated : Drinking Like You Mean It !
Hydration plays an important role in ensuring optimal blood/oxygen flow throughout trekking or mountain climbing.
Different Drinks for Different Elevations
First, a tip on what to carry- Don’t stop carrying your water bottle just because you find sparkling water boring right now. High elevations like Rongai and Everest Base Camp could get tricky especially with altitude sickness which requires increased fluid intake; because every breath taken is harder than usual. Hence we must have at least four liters of fluids per day for better acclimatisation in high altitude areas.
Potassium-rich foods also help maintain the potassium-sodium equilibrium required where other sports drinks fall short.
Food Items that Help Acclimatize to High Altitude
Food rich in carbohydrates give our body energy while some items such as yams increase haemoglobin production, boosting cardiac output promoting healthier blood oxygen levels even when digestion slows down above 12 thousand feet pheww.
Yummy Carbs !
Avocado rolls,brown rice couscous mixed vegetables…gulps this delicious low fat main course making blood pumps engage with joy!
Bread made of barley flour might not sound appealing but it boosts gene expression translating into higher metabolism rates keeping hypoxia (O2 deficiency)effects away producing more erythropoietin improving endurance! Who wouldn’t want that enhanced metabolic rate? That would be my dinner suggestion tonight!!
Last but not least don’t finish dinner without champagne truffles providing the caffeine stimulus needed so that chocolate lovers can enjoy long hikes guilt-free. Just Make sure they’re dark chocolates !
Hey there, I’m Dane Raynor, and I’m all about sharing fascinating knowledge, news, and hot topics. I’m passionate about learning and have a knack for simplifying complex ideas. Let’s explore together!
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