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How to prepare yourself physically for the 4 Peaks Alta Badia

In addition to the recognised value of regular physical activity as a central component of a healthy lifestyle, sporting endeavours are often linked to a specific goal. For some, the desire to lose weight is ample motivation for daily training. Others are driven to improve their personal ‘bests’ or to reach ever-higher peaks.

4 Peaks ALTA BADIA® is a special challenge that requires mountaineering experience, physical fitness and endurance. It can be completed during a multi-day tour or ‘en bloc’ over the course of a single day.

In addition to the hours of physical exertion and the metres of cumulative elevation gain to be overcome, participants must be equal to demands such as the technical requirements of the route, the environmental conditions on the mountain (sunshine, cold, altitude,...), and the need to independently prepare in a responsible manner.

Training in preparation for 4 Peaks Alta Badia

Superseding all else for anyone seriously considering the 4 peaks ALTA BADIA® challenge is of course impeccable health. We therefore highly recommend that any would-be participants consult with their general practitioner or a sports physician in order to clarify any possible issues in connection with intensive physical activity or to discuss any fitness concerns.

Preparation for the challenge includes physical training, familiarity with trusted technical equipment (footwear, clothing, rucksack and climbing equipment), the allocation of provisions ranging from drinks and food, as well as honest and close consideration of the weather forecast. Mobile phones, hiking maps and first aid kits are indispensable on every tour.

Ideally, training should include test ascents encompassing different levels of steepness in addition to descents to prepare the muscles for both concentric and eccentric contraction. In preparation for the 4 Peaks ALTA BADIA® Alpine tours, it is recommended to undertake multiple test tours with ever increasing altitude difference and duration. Foot, knee or back discomfort may be a reminder to check or replace equipment.

If symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, exhaustion, muscle cramps or persistent joint pain occur during the 4 peaks of ALTA BADIA® challenge, the tour should be immediately discontinued. Communication with the mountain rescue service should be strongly considered.

Nutrition in view of an extreme challenge

Every Alpine tour, and most especially the 4 Peaks ALTA BADIA® in particular, is a power and energy-intensive venture, and should only be undertaken following a period of ample rest to replenish energy reserves. We recommend visiting any number of events in the Val Badia valley or relaxing at the hotels and restaurants.

Getting off to a good start begins with a balanced and highly digestible breakfast. This meal alone, however, is not sufficient. Provisions for the tour are essential and may include sandwiches, fresh or dried fruit, or perhaps gels and bars. In addition to energy provisions, liquids are indispensable. According to your personal preference, you may pack water or a sport drink containing carbohydrates and electrolytes that can be refilled with spring water along the way.

Recovery

The days following any tour are also essential preparation for your next sporting endeavour. After completing the 4 peaks ALTA BADIA® challenge, a visit to the inns and restaurants both on the mountain and in the valley is a great way to recharge and revitalise. You may also wish to treat yourself to Kneipp therapy, baths, a sauna or massages to promote adequate recovery.

Depending on a person’s individual fitness, it may take several days until the body is ready for the next mountain adventure.

Similar to a gym membership but located outdoors, the mountains are a variety-rich training ground ideal for increasing endurance, muscular strength, balance, and technical skill which can lead to an overall improvement in physical condition. If required, trained mountain guides are available to accompany and provide guidance until sufficient experience and physical fitness are achieved, allowing you to plan and participate in your own tours in future.

I wish all participants enjoyable and unforgettable Alpine tours in the unique UNESCO World Heritage Dolomites. And in the meantime: ”Welcome to the Peak!”

Dr Kai Schenk MD
Specialist in Sports Medicine

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