Before your trip to Colorado, and while you are here, drinking plenty of water is the number one way to help your body adjust easily to our higher altitude. The low humidity in Colorado keeps the air dry, like the desert, so you need about twice as much water here as you would drink at home. You should drink three to four quarts of water per day.
Monitor Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
In Colorado’s rarified air, golf balls go ten percent farther… and so do cocktails. Alcoholic drinks pack more of a wallop than at sea level. It is recommended that you go easy on the alcohol in the mountains as its effects will feel stronger here. Too much caffeine isn’t a good idea either.
Eat Foods High in Potassium
Foods such as broccoli, bananas, avocado, cantaloupe, celery, greens, bran, chocolate, granola, dates, dried fruit, potatoes and tomatoes will help you replenish electrolytes by balancing salt intake.
Watch Your Physical Activity
The effects of exercise are more intense here. If you normally run 10 miles a day at home, you might try 5 or 6 miles here. Just work up to it and avoid overexertion the first few days.
Pack for Sun
With less water vapor in the air at this altitude, the sky really is bluer in Colorado. But there’s 25 percent less protection from the sun, so sunscreen is a must. Pagosa Springs receives over 300 days of sunshine each year (more than San Diego or Miami). Bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm… even in winter.
Dress in Layers
Two days before your trip to Colorado, check the weather and use this information to pack appropriately. Because we are closer to the sun, it can feel much warmer than the actual temperature during the daytime, but then become very chilly after sundown, particularly in the Spring and Fall. It is best to layer your clothing.
Don’t let anything you hear about the high altitude scare you. The air is just thinner and dryer. In fact, many people with respiratory problems move to Colorado for the benefits of the dry air. Just follow these simple tips and you will very likely not even notice the difference. But, if you do experience a persistent headache, sleep disruption, gastrointestinal upset, fatigue, poor coordination or shortness of breath you should seek medical attention, high altitude sickness can be very serious.