How To Train For Altitude In The UK?

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Can You Train For Altitude In The UK? 

The answer to this question used to be no, but with advances in science it is now completely possible to train your body for Altitude in the UK.

The highest mountain in the UK is Ben Nevis at 1345 meters above sea level. The effects of altitude don’t kick in until above 2500m so no matter how many times you climb Ben Nevis it is not going to have any effect on your ability to cope with higher altitudes when you head out on an Everest Base Camp Trek or Kilimanjaro Trek.

Now though with places such as The Altitude Centre in London, it is possible to test and train your body in simulated conditions up to 6500m.

If you have never been to altitude then going and having some testing will give you and potentially your loved ones some peace of mind before you head off on your trip on your ability to cope.

A high altitude trek can also be a costly experience so before you commit it could be a great idea to find out how your body will cope at those altitudes.

The process starts with a Mountaineering Consultation. The consultation will provide you with an understanding of how your body responds to high altitude and looks at how susceptible your body is to altitude sickness. They will also perform a health review that will include monitoring your performance whilst you are breathing altitude air up to 5000m. This monitoring can take place either passively or under the stress of exercise.

Once you have completed your consultation they will provide you with all of the results and give you the important tips on coping with the demands of high altitude travel.

If within your results it comes back and says you are going to be susceptible to Altitude Sickness then there are things they can advise to make sure you are still going to enjoy your trek. This can be done through Exercise sessions or IHE Sessions.

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Exercise Sessions for High Altitude

Hypoxic exercise sessions will let you experience what it is like to exercise at altitude. Just like fitness the more you do, the better you get. To pre-acclimatise for a trip to altitude we recommend regular sessions at least 3 weeks in advance of your trip.

The exercise sessions can either be Individual Training, Exercise Classes or with a Personal Trainer.

IHE Training For Altitude

These sessions utilise the IHE protocol. IHE stands for Intermittent Hypoxic Exposure, a technique of breathing short bursts of mountain air (up to 6,500m) through a mask, alternated with normal air. 

IHE is the quickest way to adapt to low oxygen. What’s more, no exercise is required!

The pre-acclimatisation sessions kick start the adaptive process to enable you to cope with low oxygen and to be more efficient with the available air, the main adaptation is at a cellular level with improved mitochondrial function.

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What If I Can’t Get To London?

Don’t worry! You can also train from the privacy of your own home! You can rent a machine from The Altitude Centre and experience the benefits of altitude training up to 6,500m.

This allows you to either use IHE (intermittent hypoxic exposure) , exercise or sleep formats. The Altitude Centre will also provide full training and advice. 

You can combine the 3 different training formats mentioned above from the one machine and make sure you are properly prepared for your next trek before you even take off from the airport.

If you would like more information on your options available contact the Altitude Centre on 020 7193 1626 or visit their website www.altitudecentre.com/

I recently recorded a Podcast with Nick Hart  – Senior Altitude Consultant at the Altitude Centre going into this topic in more detail. Click Here to give it a listen.

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