Altitude meets attitude – from the Andes to the Himalayas

45 days til we fly out til Kathmandu.

Excited! Hell yes.  However there is also the matter of training around my health concerns.  I have never found my reconstructed left knee,  pinned and plated fibula and ankle on my right leg or hypertension a barrier to becoming fit.  It just can slow things down a bit.  I have to monitor my pain and take action (as well as my blood pressure) accordingly.  It’s about self-care.

I started training for Nepal in February and it got thrown by severe bronchitis in April that I only am just over.  But throughout I still walked when I could at least 4 times a week.  A recent brush with high blood pressure had me go back on blood pressure medication – unforseen and I have to just accept that I can’t be medication free all the time with my medical history.  So back in earnest with less time to train than I would like…but determined to be fit enough.

I’m effectively a sprinter – I was built for speed and my sports training over the years has supported that view.  Lots of fast twitch muscles in this little low to the ground gal.   So this endurance thing meant I had to slow down lots anyway…so probably the last few months have been good for me in terms of reprogramming my thoughts on exercise.

When I did high altitude last in the Andes it was to 4700 m and trekked the Quarry trek from Ollantaytambo in Peru (36 km) and I was twenty kilograms overweight to what I am now and not as fit.  I also mountain biked down Death Road in Bolivia (64 km at 4850m highest) – I surprised myself I could do it easily being a bit overweight.

Me half way down Death Road - note the smile says it all!! Awesome fun.
Me half way down Death Road – note the smile says it all!! Awesome fun.

However I had been in South America for several weeks and climbing the stairs in my hotel in La Paz three flights every day (3640m altitude) and was getting used to altitude.

Trust me two flights of stairs at 3640m is a lot plus I walked everywhere!   🙂

It was all attitude and not a lot else (add some knowledge – I research everything).  But I have always been active all my life so I suppose I do have a good baseline fitness.

However the evidence about exercise and it’s positive effect on depression and anxiety is startling.  For me personally it was the difference between life and something far worse – believing that life was “as good as it was going to get”.

Don’t settle for “this is as good as it’s going to get” and a life of not caring about yourself enough to get up – and move and enjoy the world.  Even if it’s just in your own backyard.  Every location around the world has beauty and somewhere to explore…get out there…

The key is this…anxiety and depression trap us into cycles of not doing anything.  We can’t see the benefit because we feel so rubbish.  BUT if we just do that one thing for 20 mins a day at least we get the benefit over time and it becomes easier and easier.

Exercise makes me happy.  Full stop.

I found the exercise that I can do with injuries and I did it.  Trekking through the world was a bonus I added 🙂

andes
The view from halfway through the Quarry Trail Trek – The Andes.

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