Tips for Adjusting to High Altitudes

Exactly one mile above sea level, Denver requires many visitors to acclimate to the city’s high altitude. The newly opened Four Seasons Hotel Denver offers tips to help ease your adjustment to higher elevations.

Nov 12, 2010
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Denver's mile-high altitude requires an acclimation period for visitors.
Denver's mile-high altitude requires an acclimation period for visitors.
Photography Jim Havey
Getting plenty of sleep helps counteract high altitudes and jet lag.
Getting plenty of sleep helps counteract high altitudes and jet lag.
Photography Thinkstock
Staying hydrated—avoiding alcohol and caffeine the first day—will help you adjust to Denver's elevation and climate.
Staying hydrated—avoiding alcohol and caffeine the first day—will help you adjust to Denver's elevation and climate.
Photography Thinkstock
Relax—and there's no better way to do that than at Four Seasons Spa.
Relax—and there's no better way to do that than at Four Seasons Spa.
Photography Thinkstock
A thinner ozone layer means an increased chance of sunburn, so use SPF 30 or higher.
A thinner ozone layer means an increased chance of sunburn, so use SPF 30 or higher.
Photography Stan Obert / Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

When you travel to higher altitudes—whether to Denver or other mountain destinations—you might experience shortness of breath, loss of appetite and fatigue, and sometimes headaches and nausea.

A good tip is to take it easy the first couple of days so your body can adjust to the new elevation.

Matt Turner, Spa Director of Four Seasons Hotel Denver, offers some practical advice to help elevate your mountain experience:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Denver has a very dry climate, and if you’re not feeling your best, it may actually be caused by dehydration.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine in the first 24 hours, since they can also be dehydrating.
  • Protect yourself from the sun with SPF 30 or higher. This is especially important since Denver boasts over 300 days of sunshine each year. Plus, in higher elevations, there’s a thinner ozone layer and higher glare from winter’s snow and ice.
  • Take a deep breath. The air is thinner, so be conscious of taking in generous amounts of oxygen.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as hiking or skiing, in the first 24 hours.
  • Pace your fitness workouts. For example, runners might find the lower oxygen level to cause shortness of breath more quickly. Ask a personal trainer at the Four Seasons fitness centre to custom-design a workout. Or take a swim in the heated outdoor pool, open year round (weather dependent).
  • Come to the Four Seasons Spa for a moisturising facial. Turner recommends the Mile-High Hydromax, which encourages the skin to retain hydration at deeper levels. Exfoliation removes dry skin build-up and massage stimulates oil production.
  • Relax with a massage. If you feel tired, heavy-headed or short of breath, the 90-minute High-Altitude Full-Body Revival naturally increases oxygen levels. Reflexology is combined with a full-body massage using organic sunflower oil to moisturise thirsty skin.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Jet lag may also be a factor in how you’re feeling.

These tips are also valuable for Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail—opening in December 2010—where the highest skiable altitude is over two miles above sea level!

For more information on how Four Seasons can enhance your time in Denver, learn more about the special winter packages.


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