With the warmer weather in spring, the hiking season begins again. Whether short hikes or extended trekking tours: Whenever we are physically active, the right breathing technique is a decisive factor if you plan long trekking trips. This is no less true for the amateur hiker than for the professional road cyclists at the Tour de France, which is on the program in the summer. But which training methods help to improve your own endurance performance? What can anyone look for in preparation for trekking tours? And how does endurance sport in general affect the human body in thinner air?
The breathing technique decides
Regardless of the height at which a person is exposed to endurance exercise: First, the correct breathing technique must be used. In the first place, it is important to inhale deeply in order to absorb more oxygen. Even if that sounds natural at first. Especially beginners often make the mistake of breathing too shallow. Side piercing and the gasping for air are the logical consequence. The good news: The right breathing technique can be practiced during a normal hike.
As long as you feel fit and are not plagued by a cold, you can hike anytime and practice proper breathing. Because with too shallow breathing, two things happen. On the one hand, the body produces more lactate and the vessels are no longer supplied with sufficient oxygen. In addition, the proportion of carbon dioxide in the blood increases, which sets in motion a vicious circle. The athlete must increase the respiratory rate even further, premature fatigue and side punctures are inevitable. To make sure that does not happen on a long trekking tour, every hobby athlete can take an example in the cyclists preparing for the Tour de France.
On to Tenerife!
Any cycling fan should have remembered the images of the 2017 Tour, as Chris Froome spectacularly shook off his big rival Fabio Aru on the mountain stage after Rodez and retrieved the yellow jersey from him. This spurt was the result of months of meticulous preparation for the tour. Part of this preparation for cyclists on the Tour has always been the altitude training, the highest mountain in Spain on the Canary Island of Tenerife. If the weather in Europe hardly allows any meaningful training on the roads due to low temperatures and even the best functional clothing fails in the cold European winter, the professional cyclists flock to the warm Canary Island every year in droves.
Because the Spanish island is not only a paradise for hikers, but also for competitive athletes. One can assume that Froome will also be motivated to his hair-tips on the following year’s tour and will be perfectly prepared for the start. But Geraint Thomas won the 2018th edition and therefore experts expect at this year’s edition such a tight race, as long no more. As in 2017 the dominance of Froome seemed to crumble a bit compared to the years before, in 2018 Geraint Thomas made it to the top of the podium, so let’s see who will get out on top in this years’ Tour de France. Richie Porte from Australia seems to be a serious contender for the tour victory again this year as well, but let’s see what is going to happen.
This is how high altitude training works on the body
But how exactly does the training in the height affect the human body? As the altitude increases, the density of the air decreases. In concrete terms, this means that at an altitude of 2,500 meters, the number of oxygen molecules in the breathing air is one-third lower than at sea level. The human organism absorbs less oxygen with each breath. But now the human organism has a number of effective adaptation mechanisms.
As a result, the body forms more red blood cells, which allows more oxygen to be transported into the cells. After altitude training, the body decomposes the increased red blood cells only very slowly, which also gives rise to an advantage at sea level. But even those who do not have the time to complete an altitude training camp do not have to completely forego their positive effects. Special respiratory masks simulate height conditions and can be purchased for example in the online shops.
The right workout helps every athlete
This type of training not only enhances the performance of professional cyclists, but also has a positive effect on performance in all endurance disciplines. So an altitude training for the ambitious amateur hiker is quite a useful addition to the training plan. Another trick when training in terms of breathing technique is the abdominal breathing: If the diaphragm is actively involved in inhaling and exhaling, it is possible to increase the absorbed oxygen by up to 50 percent.
If these tips are then combined with the right equipment, such as screw spikes for improved stabilization of the movement sequence, everyone can benefit from these breathing and training tips. So, when the days get longer and the temperatures get higher, hurry and go out to nature to improve your trekking stamina.
Share your tips to increase your endurence naturally for your trekking adventures, please share them in the comment box below with all of us – thank you in advance for your support.