This week, Team Action Wipes headed to the hills. "Hills” is actually an understatement for mountain town of Breckenridge, Colorado where the town itself is nestled into a valley at almost 2 miles in elevation (9,600 feet). It is summertime here and we have been using every opportunity to put our sports wipes to test by hiking, biking and even Glissading here in the high country. But at higher altitudes you need a lot more than some body wipes to keep the body cool and functioning so we thought we would talk about preparing yourself for a trip to the mountains and minimizing any effects of altitude sickness.
Even though we are not extreme mountaineers like Action Wipes supported Polar Explorer, Eric Larsen, the higher altitude has clearly shown its effects. At the simplest level, your body must adjust to the lower oxygen levels at altitude thru a process called acclimatization. Unless you are a conditioned athlete, you can expect to feel shortness of breath, trouble sleeping and even noticeable dryness of skin and eyes.
When hiking, backpacking, cycling or just walking around town, the thinner air manifests itself very quickly, making your normal pace or endurance a lot more difficult. For most people, a day or two of acclimatization is normal but its always a good idea to pace yourself in the beginning so you don’t overdo it and overstress your body. So what can you do? The single most important factor to help your body is to hydrate yourself with lots of water and minimizing caffeine and alcohol. The irony is that while an icy cold beer may be what you crave most after a long ride or hike, it can also affect your hydration, sleep and energy levels.
Also, you're more likely to get sunburned as you're closer to the sun than you are at sea level. Packing extra sunscreen and moisturizer (remember to reapply after using a body wipe if you are still outside) is a mandatory checklist item, but you can also help yourself by taking extra Omega 3’s like flax or fish oils can help your skin and eye moisture. Great info from our friends at Little Swan have some tips as well.
While this trip has been fun, we can't wait to get to Lake Tahoe next, where we will be better acclimated to the lower altitude.