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How to Improve High-Altitude Athletic Performance

Woman running in Salt Lake City mountains.

How to Improve High-Altitude Athletic Performance

Salt Lake City is an active and athletic city. Those who live here support local teams like the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake. They also enjoy getting out into nature all year round: taking advantage of nearby ski resorts in winter and hiking in the milder seasons. 


But maybe the high altitude and lack of oxygen are holding you back from being as active as you’d like. Have you recently moved to Salt Lake City from elsewhere and would like to get back into your old exercise routines, but you don’t know how?


At Novis Health Salt Lake City, we help people of all stages improve their high-altitude athletic performance. We’ve coached some of the country’s best athletes to compete at a higher level. We’ve also helped everyday people embrace healthy exercise habits by pursuing the hobbies and sports they love.


Learn more about improving your high-altitude athletic performance right here in Salt Lake City


How the Body Reacts to High Altitudes

Salt Lake City sits right at the bottom limit of high altitude. It’s officially listed at 4,226 feet in elevation, which is higher than most cities in the USA. So, while you might not get altitude sickness in Salt Lake City, you might feel out of breath more easily. Any hike in the mountains will definitely expose you to high-altitude conditions.


When people think of high altitude, they usually think of a lack of oxygen. When elevation increases, so does air pressure. This leads to a lower concentration of oxygen in the air. As we know, the lungs need oxygen to fuel the bloodstream. Therefore, the body must work harder to compensate for the deficit. Athletes tire more quickly because of the extra strain on the respiratory system and muscles.


High altitudes also exacerbate dehydration. At 6,000 feet above sea level, you exhale and perspire twice as much moisture as you do at sea level. High elevations also correlate with dryer climates. So, you’ll need to replenish your fluids more quickly if competing in a high-altitude athletic performance in Salt Lake City. 


Focusing on Nutrition

Novis Health is a holistic health clinic. Our high-altitude athletic performance services focus on whole-body treatments, which often include nutrition. If we can fuel our bodies properly, we can improve athletic performance.


As we already mentioned, high-altitude athletics require a lot of water. Carry more water than you expect since you’re going to be sweating more rapidly than you would at a lower elevation.


We also recommend carbs for high-altitude training. While all athletes should include carbs in their diets due to the energy they provide, it’s especially important for training in Salt Lake City. Carbs replace depleted muscle glycogen, prevent muscle from being used as energy, and require less oxygen for metabolism. 


Increasing Lung Capacity

You can do certain exercises to increase lung capacity and breathe in more oxygen at once. When you work with Novis Health, your coach will recommend specific exercises for your unique situation. But in general, these exercises help with oxygen absorption.


  • Interval Training. Short sprints followed by rest periods have improved lung capacity over time.


  • Swimming. Swimming forces the body to work hard under limited oxygen conditions. It also helps you regulate your breathing to maximize each breath.

  • Breathing exercises. Some of us don’t breathe well. A coach can help you learn to breathe from your diaphragm, increasing overall high-altitude athletic performance.


Strengthening Sports Psychology

Novis Health offers sports psychology consultations to help athletes reach the next level. At high elevations, you might find yourself flagging. If you’re running a marathon, your legs feel spent, your lungs burn, and you feel like giving up. With sports psychology, we train you to push through the discomfort. Yes, oxygen might be low, but you can push forward toward your goal!


Reach out to the Novis Health team for specific info about sports psychology.


Novis Health Helps Athletes Perform at High Altitudes

Novis Health is home to Salt Lake City’s best altitude athletic performance coaches. If you want to reach the next level of competition, work with us.


It can be difficult to be an athlete at high elevations. Rock climbers, skiers, runners, and mountain bikers need to be in peak physical condition to win. But it doesn’t have to (literally) be an uphill battle. Get the support you need from Novis Health. 


You’ll receive holistic health coaching far beyond the gym as a member. We will give you personalized nutrition advice, conduct comprehensive testing to uncover any underlying issues, and allow you access to our advanced healing technologies. We’re your one-stop shop for athletic training.

Learn more by scheduling a complimentary consultation! We look forward to helping you reach your athletic goals.