As a hiking enthusiast, you might develop a pure attachment with mountains to explore breathtaking scenarios along with experiencing a cardio workout, fresh breeze of air, and much more.
But, hiking in the mountains is a tough task due to high altitude issues and it requires well-planned preparations to stay longer over there.
So, if you are wondering how to last longer in the mountains, then this article is going to give you a comprehensive idea about the matter.
There are certain precautions, preparations, and training that can increase your hiking time while mountaineering and this is what the whole article is all about.
Why is it Difficult to Stay Longer in the Mountains?
The more you go up from the surface of sea level, the less you have air pressure and oxygen, and that initially causes acute motion sickness.
Due to altitude sickness, it gets difficult to cope up with the low air and oxygen environment. As a result, you might experience dizziness, headache, and various mild or life-threatening symptoms.
When you are hiking 2500m above sea level, things start changing and you will feel the necessity of special treatment if you don’t want to run out of your energy soon.
And, if your mountaineering journey is somehow 8000m above sea level, then things can get more challenging.
The reason behind this altitude sickness is the environmental oxygen and barometric pressure that get lower on higher elevations.
When you climb higher elevations quickly, your body can’t adjust to low oxygenated air that quickly. Because of this imbalance, it gets harder to breathe and you get tired too early.
If you happen to live at a higher altitude level already, then it won’t affect you that hard the way it will do to those people who usually live at a lower altitude level.
The difficulty also depends on how quickly you move to higher elevations from a lower one. In most cases, flying to a higher altitude level creates such motion sickness.
Moreover, your age also does matter and young people tend to have mild symptoms of altitude sickness where older people can experience severe health issues.
As older people usually go through frequent medical problems, such a lower oxygenated environment and less air pressure make it harder for them to deal with.
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Tips to Last Longer While Mountaineering
Despite having health risks, if you want to enjoy the beauty of the mountains for a longer period of time, you better follow the following tips for a great hiking tour up there.
#1. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
If you don’t want to ruin your mountain trip too early, then you must consider the fact of avoiding caffeine and alcohol.
Tea, coffee, bears are the things that affect your body so badly to adjust to the higher altitude environment while mountaineering.
Some people take these drinks to be hydrated and also out of habit and fun, but they don’t really work like water. These drinks will snatch away your body balance to cope up with the higher elevations.
So, you better avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages, if you want to enjoy the mountains for a longer period of time.
Health-conscious people usually avoid alcohol, but avoiding caffeine is also necessary while you are mountaineering for a longer stay.
#2. Exercise and Get in Shape
It’s pretty much obvious that the more you train your body for mountaineering, the more it will be able to cope up with the high altitude issues with time.
If you have extra weight, then you will need extra effort to carry your body with each step. It will eventually make you tired too early before you even reach your desired height.
So, if you really want to increase your hiking time over there, the first rule is to make your body fit for it.
For a regular exercise module, you can practice squats with dumbbells, goblet squats, leg dumbbell press, downhill lunges and also jogging a few miles every day.
Before you even head towards real mountains, you can have some exercising trials on nearby trails which will make your preparation more realistic.
Apart from the idea of losing extra weight, you need to focus on two important aspects of your exercise- improving leg muscle strength and maintaining it and developing a balance of your cardio fitness.
So, once you achieve your ideal shape and exercise on a regular basis, you will have more advantages to fight against altitude sickness.
#3. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is a big problem when it comes to endurance while hiking over mountains. You need to drink water from time to time and keep your body hydrated if you want to prolong your journey.
When your body is out of fluid that it requires to function properly, then it’s obvious that you will have trouble being in the game for long.
Higher elevation means low humidity that initially makes the air dry enough. In such a scenario, you need to drink twice compared to your regular water consumption.
So, if you usually drink 2L of water every other day, then it’s recommended to drink at least 4L of water while you are mountaineering.
The more your body gets water, the more it becomes easier for you to cope up with higher altitude issues.
Additionally, it is also suggested by experts that eating more carbohydrates helps you to fight against mountain acute sickness as well.
#4. Acclimate Yourself Before Going Up
Wherever you go for the first time, it takes a little bit of time to adjust to the new environment. The same goes with mountains, it will take time to adjust with higher altitudes.
If you are not in a hurry, then take your time and spend the first few nights in intermediate altitude areas.
It means if you reach an elevation of 12000 feet during your daytime hike, then it’s better to sleep to an altitude level of 10500 feet at night.
In this way, your body will get enough time to adjust to the higher altitude and it will be easier for you to stay longer up in the hills.
#5. Maintain a Steady Pace
It is always said that ‘slow and steady wins the race’; don’t be hurry while you head towards uphill while mountaineering.
Some people have this tendency of going too fast at the beginning and then they lose the pace too early being tired. You better start slowly and keep a steady pace, so that you can reach your desired height with ease.
When you push yourself harder at the beginning, it takes away your necessary energy that was pretty much needed for the whole journey.
Being fatigued just after starting for a while, will kill your motivation to even think of finishing the walk of the day.
One important thing here to remember is, the steady pace doesn’t always necessarily mean going slow only.
Everyone has their own natural tempo of speed according to their comfort. So, it’s more appropriate to say that you should understand your own natural pace and keep going with it.
However, it gets a bit complicated when people of different tempos hike together. If you are hiking with a group, make sure you all maintain a balanced pace so that no one gets bothered or tired for each other’s individual pace.
That’s why it’s better to have a smaller group of hikers where you don’t have to worry much about others.
#6. Wear a Comfortable Backpack
Apart from high altitude issues up in the mountains, it is also important to follow some regular hiking tips just like wearing a comfortable backpack.
If you are having a backpack that doesn’t fit your body well, then you will keep shifting it right to left, being uncomfortable while carrying it.
If this discomfort continues for a while, your shoulders and back will be hurting and you wouldn’t be able to continue long to reach your estimated height.
So, make sure you wear the right backpack and it must be free from extra burden, it should be as lightweight as you can make it.
#7. Wear Appropriate Shoes
When you go uphill, your legs will be having extra stress on them and in such a scenario the importance of wearing comfortable shoes is indefinite.
If you want to increase your mountaineering time, it’s pretty much obvious that your legs must have comfort while walking.
Wearing inappropriate shoes will initially make your legs uncomfortable and you wouldn’t be able to continue for long.
So, it’s very much important to wear the right comfortable shoes that are suitable for mountain hikes.
#8. Take Doctor’s Help
Before you head towards the fascinating beauty of the mountains, take your doctor’s advice for a healthy journey.
Based on your previous experience, doctors might advise you to take necessary precautions and suggest ‘acetazolamide’ medicine to deal with acute motion sickness.
Even after taking all these precautions and training, things can go wrong sometimes all of a sudden.
In terms of chronic medical illness, it’s better to keep in touch with an expert physician ahead of your time.
As well as, you should also know about the local medical clinic near your hiking spot so that you can reach there in terms of such an emergency for further necessary treatment.
People say, ‘there is no gain without pain’; this is almost true for those who have this adventurous interest in hiking in the mountains.
It is more likely to come with health risks when you want to enjoy the sensational beauty of the big rocky hills.
But, once you know how to last longer in the mountains, things can get much easier for you.