How to train for high altitude

High-altitude training is important for proper fitness and to avoid health risks like high-altitude pulmonary edema.

You’ve signed the dotted line and in a few short months you’re strapping on your boots and heading “into thin air.” Whether it is climbing Mt. Everest or Mt. Evans, you’re going to need to improve your high-altitude fitness, the question is, how?

Let’s start by clearing up one of the more common misunderstandings when it comes to high-altitude training. There is no process by which one can naturally acclimatize, or adjust to high altitudes, that doesn’t involve physically being at altitude.

In other words, unless you spend the days leading up to your trip living in the high mountains, and then take a helicopter directly to your objective, there is nothing you can do to physiologically prepare for the climb. It is a natural process; you can’t rush it or take short-cuts (unless you buy a high-altitude chamber, which totally misses the point). Oh and another thing, whether or not your body is actually capable of adjusting to high-altitude is mostly genetic. Sorry, it’s not for everybody. Blame it on Dad.

Here are some practical tips on how to train for high-altitude:

 

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