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504PIR
07-24-2007, 21:00
Thought I would throw this out there as there are many more folks with experiance working at higher altitudes than me. I've recently deployed to a central asian country with my employer. I normally live in the midwestern US, workout often (run, Crossfit, weights) and generally consider myself in good shape.

I've been on the ground about 4 days, the altitude is around 6500 feet. I went running on the 2nd day here thinking I would do a slow and easy 3 miles to get used to being here.....I was wrong! At 1 mile I was a bit more stressed than I usually am, at 1.5 I was like "oh this is bad" at 2 I was hurting. Went a little further then headed to the house. I'm still working out twice a day but at reduced levels. Drinking lots of water and trying to get plenty of rest.

Don't get me wrong, its a good gut check. The less oxygen will make things harder & when I get back home I know I'll be kicking some butt on the local 10K.

How long does it take to acclimated to higher altitudes? As you gentelmen have more experiance I would like your opinons.

Sacamuelas
07-24-2007, 21:12
Interesting that you just posted this question right now. I was literally reading a transcript as you typed that question based on an interview with COL Rocky Farr, command surgeon of the USSOCOM. COL Farr is also a member of this website. :cool:


Question: On another mission-related physiology subject, in the Iraq and Afghanistan region SOF find themselves operating from basically sea level to very high altitudes. What training, conditioning, equipment or pharmaceuticals can be harnessed to lessen the physical drain at these heights?

" Conditioning, acclimation and education are probably the three most important factors relevant to minimize the physical drain of operating in very high altitudes. There is nothing that can really replace the physiological conditioning of a body to operate in high altitudes. Prior exposure and acclimation also allows individuals to learn their own limits and to experience the signs and symptoms associated with acute mountain sickness, high altitude pulmonary edema [HAPE] and high altitude cerebral edema [HACE]. Unfortunately, some individuals are at greater risk for suffering from exertion at altitudes.

As for treatment, again recognition of early signs and symptoms and removing the individual from further exposure to altitude is the primary goal. Dexamethasone and Acetazolamide are two of the main medication for prophylaxis. Both of those drugs hinder performance and do not replace acclimatization. Units will also sometimes deploy with portable recompression [hyperbaric] chambers and oxygen with rapid decent being the mainstay of treatment for HAPE/HACE in addition to Dexamethasone as an adjunct therapy to HACE.

We have been looking at various acclimatization methodologies such as artificial high altitude before deployment with various types of equipment and deployment regimes, which allow acclimatization attempts at home station or en route. The Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine provided us with an ascent profile that takes into account a stoppage period at 5,600 feet. This is the altitude of some American bases in Afghanistan. It turns out that for every day one spends at this altitude, he or she can then make a direct ascent of 1,000 feet with minimal risk of altitude sickness, up to a maximum of 14,000 feet. Therefore, if you keep a unit at a 5,600-foot base camp for five days, you can expect combat performance at 10,600 feet after five days.
Nothing can take the place of adequate acclimatization.

jatx
07-24-2007, 21:20
You'll probably feel normal within a couple of days. I went from sea level to 6000 ft for AT this year, and it only took five or six days to fully adjust. The good news is that you are well below the altitude where you'd begin to expect symptoms of altitude sickness (sleeplessness, digestive problems, headaches) which can exacerbate the decrease in performance for a while until you acclimate.

Also, don't expect the performance increase to last much longer than a week to 10 days when you come back down, ceteris paribus.

NousDefionsDoc
07-24-2007, 21:25
kg and I are at about 8,500 ft. You have to take it easy at first.

Peregrino
07-24-2007, 21:48
I had the "pleasure" of spending some time in La Paz Bolivia many years ago. It sucked. Sleeplesness, headaches, loss of appetite, general malaise, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Fortunately, you're not that high. Rest, hydrate, and take asprin as required. Acclimation takes time. (You'll never be as good as the natives though. I swear the Bolivian "Indios" were mostly lung.) You CANNOT accelerate it by doing "gut check" PT. At higher altitudes you can wind up hospitalized or dead with HAPE or HACE. Once you've acclimated you can resume normal activities. When you get home, you'll be a real "stud muffin" for a few weeks. (Natural "blood doping".) That wears off after a while as RBC counts return to normal levels. HTH - Peregrino

The Reaper
07-24-2007, 22:05
When we used to go skiing in Colorado, we would sometimes have to stop and rest while unloading the car and humping the gear up to the third floor.

The resorts were a bit higher than your location.

By the end of the week, we were able to do pretty much whatever we needed, but a long jog (or a set of windsprints) would still not have been in our best interest.

Same thing in Bogota.

A week or two and you should be fine.

TR

Sdiver
07-24-2007, 22:15
There's a question I've had for awhile myself.

If a team knew ahead of time, they were going to be deployed to an area that is at altitude, such as A-stan, would they come out here to Ft. Carson, to get somewhat acclimated, or would it be to deploy from were they're at, and then get acclimated in their AO?

7624U
07-25-2007, 08:09
There's a question I've had for awhile myself.

If a team knew ahead of time, they were going to be deployed to an area that is at altitude, such as A-stan, would they come out here to Ft. Carson, to get somewhat acclimated, or would it be to deploy from were they're at, and then get acclimated in their AO?


That would be the best course of action they could do, Will it happen not likely unless the team plans it and sells it to Group, most will get acclimated once in county, hell 10th group is never ready for the heat wave over in Iraq with body armor on. it takes a week or two and lots of forced hydration, the biggest thing is be smart about it. get your house and equipment squared away before you go and run combat operations, that will give you and the team enuff time to get used to the new enviroment.

Scimitar
07-25-2007, 10:04
I have been trying to track down some information regarding high altitude training.

I am currently preparing for 18X entry and find myself living up at 7000 feet.

I know there are some cardio gains for this but is the decreased O2 at this altitude going to delay the healing process during the rest component of strength building?

Scimitar

SFS0AVN
07-25-2007, 11:02
It takes the average body about six months to TOTALLY acclimatize to a large change in altitude (from low to high). The body does so by adding red blood cells to carry more oxygen. As stated before, when you return to a low altitude, you will loose the benefits in about one week or so.

Scimitar
07-25-2007, 11:30
My main concern is that as is normal for a standard strength building workout I work a body area 1 day and rest it the next to enable it to heal (H2O, O2, Protien).

My concern and I'm struggling to find anything definative on it is that due to the decrease in O2 at altitude will I need longer then 24 hours rest?

In appreciation of your time.

Scimitar

The Reaper
07-25-2007, 11:55
My main concern is that as is normal for a standard strength building workout I work a body area 1 day and rest it the next to enable it to heal (H2O, O2, Protien).

My concern and I'm struggling to find anything definative on it is that due to the decrease in O2 at altitude will I need longer then 24 hours rest?

In appreciation of your time.

Scimitar

Since you won't have to do any more PT wise than OSUT requires for a couple of months, I do not think you will notice.

Don't overanalyze. People were fit at all altitudes before supplements or training were invented.

IIRC, Tenzing Norkgay climbed Everest humping oxygen bottles.

TR

Scimitar
07-25-2007, 12:10
Thanks TR and thanks for the New Zealand reference....

Scimitar

SFS0AVN
07-25-2007, 12:37
Since you won't have to do any more PT wise than OSUT requires for a couple of months, I do not think you will notice.

Don't overanalyze. People were fit at all altitudes before supplements or training were invented.

IIRC, Tenzing Norkgay climbed Everest humping oxygen bottles.

TR

As TR says, if you are in shape before you go, you will have no trouble.
Also, a common misconception that there is less O2 at altitude. There is just as much O2 at 18,000 feet as there is at Sea Level, there is just less pressure to get it into your lungs.

Scimitar
07-25-2007, 19:36
As TR says, if you are in shape before you go, you will have no trouble.
Also, a common misconception that there is less O2 at altitude. There is just as much O2 at 18,000 feet as there is at Sea Level, there is just less pressure to get it into your lungs.

Now that I didn't know!

Thanks SFSOAVN,

Scimitar

Irish_Army01
07-26-2007, 07:49
Hi Gents,

Just wondering can you replicate high altitude trg without having to go up high altitudes.

I heard that doing PT with a respirator could help?

cheers.

The Reaper
07-26-2007, 08:46
If you have a hyperbaric chamber.

TR

504PIR
07-26-2007, 09:18
As usual, you folks are right on the money. After finally being able to sleep a whole night without waking up, I went and did 5km run. Started slow and gradually picked up the pace. While I was winded at the end, it was no where near as bad as the other day. I'm going to take my time and just gradually get back up to 10km.

In a way its kinda fun, I had been getting a bit bored running at home. Now its like a whole new challange.