Cusco and the altitude sickness
Cusco and the altitude sickness…
When we are thinking of visiting Cusco for birdwatching, adventure, sports or the classic traditional tourism, we are used to think in the altitude, we are used to remind somebody talking about the altitude sickness and maybe about how difficult it was for him.
Well, Cusco is located at 3400 m.a.s.l. or 11 thousand feet and definitely it will be important to consider the altitude, especially if we are living at the sea level.
But what is the altitude sickness? And what can we do to prevent it?… Really could we prevent it? Let´s see..
Four factors and rules to consider:
1. With more altitude, less oxygen
Everybody knows this and also our body knows it and that´s why in the altitude our body will do some smarts things to compensate itself.
With less oxygen, our brain will be the most important and our system will care it, so our breath will be faster just to bring more quantity of oxygen to the brain and the result… we will get tired faster and sometimes without doing any exercise.
The rule in this case is… RELAX, take your time and don’t push your body, it knows itself better than anyone
2. With more altitude, more dehydration
Maybe, this is the most important fact, but many people are worried about the oxygen and they don’t realize how important is keeping the rehydration in the altitude.
Yes, Cusco is used to be cold under the shadow and we usually forget to drink water and this could be dangerous.
The rule: drink water the most as possible and if you can drink some rehydration drinks it will be better. Notice I am not saying energy drinks, because with this you will make your heart pumps faster and faster, I am saying drinks with special salts. And also remember…If you have to drink 2 to 3 liters of water at home in regular conditions try to drink at least the same quantity here.
3. With more altitude, slower digestion
This is the saddest fact for me. In the last years everybody is talking about Peruvian food, and of course when we arrive to Cusco we want to try as much food as possible but at night we will be in trouble… As our body is focused in our brain, the digestion pass to second place.
If we eat a lot the first night, then we are going to sleep, but our body will keep working and the next morning we will be tired.
The rule… SORRY so much but don’t eat to much the first night, specially avoid proteins (meats) but it will be ok to recover energy with some carbs with easy digestion like potatoes or noodles soups, vegetables will be ok, and of course, if you want to keep getting proteins a quinoa soup will be perfect.
4. With more altitude, more sun radiation
Well, this fact won’t affect your activities, but it is important to protect your face and arms. Sunblock and hats will be super…Your body will appreciate it.
The amazing nature and the biotypes
In my job, I heard many foreigner tourists talking about the Peruvian size. And yes, Peruvians (from the highlands) usually are short or small people.
My wife is 5´33´´ tall and how lucky she is in the altitude. Remember that I said that here we do not have enough oxygen and tall bodies with big mussels will demand more oxygen. Until today I remember when Criss (my wife) had to help one bodybuilder in the Inca Trail because he didn’t get enough oxygen for his almost 6´22´´ height
That´s why I consider the nature amazing and why the highlander is used to be smaller, this doesn’t mean that if you are tall you shouldn’t come to Cusco, but you must know the true to prepare your body and also your mind.
I will always remember a special group of Japanese that we guided through the Inca Trail, the youngest was 68 and the oldest 76 y.o and they did much much MUCH better than many teenagers because they had prepared their bodies and minds.
Extra tip: Coca tea has globulin, and this helps to produce more oxygen, but also it has others element that will make your heart pumps faster so be careful and please avoid it at night specially if you want to sleep. Remember: Coca tea = ENERGY. (Of course, also depending the quantities)
I dedicate this post to those that are coming to the GASSHUKU 2018 remember that this will be an unforgettable challenge.