27 July 2018
Physical exercise is essential for everyone. The health benefits we all get from being active and breaking a sweat go from feeling and looking better, to actually fending off certain diseases.
That in itself is reason enough to go and exercise right now, but what if we told you that exercising at high altitude can have even greater beneficial effects on your body? Why is that?
As you ascend above 5,000 feet (or 2,000 meters) above sea level, lower atmospheric pressure makes it more difficult for your body to absorb the amount of oxygen that it’s normally accustomed to.
To counteract this, your body starts changing right away. Studies show that the body begins to adapt as early as a day after arrival at a high altitude destination.
What happens is that your blood’s hemoglobin cells hang onto their oxygen load more tightly, making it more efficient for them to deliver oxygen to all of your body’s cells.
Because red blood cells have a median life in the bloodstream of 120 days, the positive effects of this amped up hemoglobin remain in your body for months after you’ve left your high altitude destination.
Let’s be straightforward: if you’re planning on trekking at high altitude, you’re going to need to train beforehand.
This is advice every expert mountain traveler will offer, and it’s also part of the process of being well prepared for your adventure; simply put, getting into good physical shape will make any trip more enjoyable.
We’ve talked about the training regime you should take on before travel, so we won’t go into those details here.
What we can tell you is this: preparing in advance for your trek by adhering to a continuous workout routine provides great benefits for your bodily health and stamina.
You’ll also find that small but significant changes start to happen in your body after a month of training, and these increase as time goes by and your trip draws closer.
The best way to enhance your training before the trip is to set your travel dates to spend a week or two getting accustomed to altitude before the actual trek.
We have excellent acclimatization programs to help any traveler cope with the altitude’s effects on the body, while enjoying short hikes, and the amazing sights and amenities the city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas have to offer.
At Andean Lodges we’re 27very happy to offer you suggestions and answer any questions you might have about Peru and trekking in the Andes. Please feel free to visit our website and send us your questions via an email contact form.
 Journal of Proteome Research Oct. 2016 (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jproteome.6b00733 )
Science Magazine, Oct. 2016 (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/10/two-weeks-mountains-can-change-your-blood-months)