Article by Ruth McKean, Sports Nutritionist

Introduction

Sports such as skiing and snowboarding have been popular for many years and require at least short-term exposure to high altitude. In more recent years an increasingly large number of people are going to high altitude to seek added adventure and challenges with sports such as mountain climbing and trekking. Trekking in the Nepalese Himalayas has nearly quadrupled in the last ten years and each year 10,000 western tourist climb over the 5400m Thorong Pass.

The aim of this article is to discuss how physical activities at high altitude can potentially affect nutritional requirements. The following pages may be particularly useful to the walker or mountain climber whose goal is to complete a route or the summating of a peak. It will also provide some useful information to an athlete training or competing at high altitude.

Nutrients that will be discussed include total energy requirements, marconutrients (carbohydrate, fat and protein), mirconutrients (vitamins and minerals) and water requirements at high altitude.

 

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