Friday, May 4, 2012

Avoid losing your breath at high altitudes

When hiking at high altitudes – usually above 5,000 feet – losing your breath is easy, especially when exerting yourself with a child carrier or pack on your back. But you can keep from losing your breath in the thin air by using the simple technique of pressure breathing.

When taking a step, draw in a lungful of air. Then purse your lips and blow out the air through this small opening as taking your next step. The result is increased pressure in your lungs, which means more oxygen will be transferred to your blood.

Indeed, losing your breath is all about lack of oxygen in your bloodstream. In the thinner air, not as much oxygen is entering your body, so your body’s cells begin to starve. The body’s solution is to seek more oxygen by making you breathe harder.

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.