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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Altitude Change

How long does it take your body (I know everyone is different) to adjust to altitude change? Specifically, going from ~500 ft to 7,000 ft or vice versa. Is it like jet lag where it only takes a 3-4 days or does it take longer?

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 10:52 AM
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Longer, especially with that drastic of a change. The difference in oxygen levels are major.
In the Navy, when we were transferred, we were exempted from the next semi-annual physical fitness test for an "adjustment period".
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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I'm asking because I will be going from Afghanistan to Dallas for vacation in October. Then, a month later I will be heading back to Afghanistan. I would like to continue going to the gym, but I don't want to do anything stupid. I am more concerned with my return to Afghanistan.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike K25 View Post
I'm asking because I will be going from Afghanistan to Dallas for vacation in October. Then, a month later I will be heading back to Afghanistan. I would like to continue going to the gym, but I don't want to do anything stupid. I am more concerned with my return to Afghanistan.
From 7000ft down to Dallas, you'll feel like a monster...for about a day or two. Going back, give yourself a few days to acclimate. Try jogging at a slow pace for a few miles when you go back up. It will help your body re-oxygenate and acclimate itself a little quicker.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 02:31 PM
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^^^ great advice.

Slow cardio for a few days, get your muscles used to the oxygen (or lack of) levels.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 06:48 PM
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2-6 weeks depending on your existing condition.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 07:00 AM
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There is no difference in the amount of oxygen in air between sea level and 7,000' feet. They both contain 20.93% oxygen.

The difference is a reduction in partial pressure. Less pressure entering your lungs the less pressure available to force oxygen into the blood stream.

At 7,000' most people will experience about a 10% reduction in aerobic capacity. If you are use to running 8 minute miles when you return to the Middle East you would need to adjust to about an 8 minute 50 second mile to get the same feeling after running as you do at sea level (no more tired, no less tired.)

So adjust your running accordingly and slowly ease back to around an 8 minute mile over a couple of weeks. You'll never get to an 8 minute mile with the same perceived effort at sea level. Not that you can't do an 8 minute mile at altitude just that your effort will be greater than at sea level.

If for some reason you want to adjust prior to your return take a vacation to Colorado. Spend a few days in Denver running and finish up your week at one of the A-basin locations and run some.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, thanks for the detailed information!

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 08:42 AM
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Every July I move to Los Alamos, NM ~7,200 ft. from Santa Barbara, CA ~20 ft. (I've been doing this for 4 years now), then back down elevation in September.

I usually take 3-4 days slow, just walking around 3-4 miles a day. Then 2-3 days jogging 3 miles, after that I feel fine. Your body may take a little longer depending upon activity and nutrition, but just eat a ton (try to keep it somewhat clean) and you'll be fine in 7-10 days. Your red blood cell count will take a couple weeks to get up there, but eating high iron foods will get more hemoglobin % and will counteract the slowness of building RBCs

Some of these guys may be right, but like I said, I've been doing the same routine for a few years and it seems to work out for me. and yeah, dropping in elevation is always fun, you definitely feel great for the first few days before your body starts dumping RBCs
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the first-hand advice.

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