365 Days in Aspen

Altitude Adjustment

altitude-adjustmentI've been here over 100 days (118 to be exact), and now just reading the article below on how difficult it can be to adjust to a higher altitude. I had heard about some of these differences. For example, I knew that a lot of Olympic athletes train at the center in Colorado Springs because the altitude pushes them harder and makes it easier to compete when they go back to lower elevations. And now I've learned first-hand how it can affect heart rhythms. (Btw – no, I haven't tried the product in the image here. I wish I had tried it sooner, but by the time my symptoms became alarming I was in the hospital and following the strict advice of my doctors). 

Thankfully, I'm also learning the benefits. I immediately loved the cooler air and warmer sun. Like the best of both worlds. And the lower humidity (especially here). Now I'm starting to appreciate the longer-term benefits as well. 

According to this article – and others I've read – the key is the 3 month mark when things start kicking in. Like higher red blood cell count. I knew the Sherpas in the Himalayas lived longer because of less oxygen. And I knew that oxygen is one of the major contributors of free radicals. (Why else do they call them anti-oxidants, right?) 

When I had my cardioversion "shock" a few weeks ago the nurse said it was probably happening "for the best." He suggested that yes, the altitude was accelerating my conditions, but that it was better to fix it now than later. Which is difficult to argue with. 

So in addition to learning to adjust to a new environment, new system, new politics, new place and new friends, I'm becoming as "well-adjusted" as I can to the altitude too. 


And because it always helps your "altitude" to sing…

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