How to acclimatize

Last time, I was telling you about my trek in Morocco and since I’ve been back, a few people have asked me how I coped with the altitude. At home, we live at about 80m above sea level: when we’re on holiday in the Alps, we’ve trekked to about 2500m so Toubkal’s 4167m was definitely well out of my comfort zone.

Out of my comfort zone at 4167m:
yes, that’s ice on my eyelids!
Photo by Mary Mackenzie

The trek was planned to give us the best possible preparation for the increased altitude. Our guide, Hassan, made sure we kept a slow but steady pace. We were encouraged to stay well-hydrated and to eat appropriately. Each day, we would climb higher and then – here’s the potentially frustrating bit – descend again to sleep. Why waste time going back down when surely we could just carry on climbing?

I learnt that it was during our time back at a lower altitude that we actually acclimatized: as we slept, our bodies gradually adjusted to the decreased amount of oxygen. The next day, we were better able to cope with the higher altitude. Without that rest at the lower altitude, we would have risked pushing ourselves too far and suffering from altitude sickness.

Whilst I encourage us all to step out of our comfort zones from time to time, this trek helped me see the value of combining progress into new areas with a time to rest and be refreshed in our comfort zones. As I try something new and stretch myself that little bit further, my ‘down time’ will allow me the chance to reflect and build up my strength for the next step.

Today’s pebble for your contemplation:

How will you make sure you acclimatize to your progress?

What do you think?

Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?

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