Fact: Stair climbing for exercise is categorised as an intense activity. And what happens when you’re exercising intensely? You begin to breathe quite heavily and rapidly as your lungs try to meet your body’s increased demand for oxygen.
Think about it. How does your throat feel now as your sitting down relaxing and reading this? Quite lubricated? Plenty of moisture in there, right? Well, imagine after a few intense minutes of stair climbing you begin huffing and puffing deeply and rapidly. That moisture dries out and your throat can become a little irritated. It starts as a tickle and as the irritation progresses turns into a cough.
The cough actually has a nick name – “Track hack.” It can be a dry cough or phlegmy cough (as you throat sends mucus membranes into overdrive to try to re-establish a good level of lubrication in the airway). Some people also report having a metallic taste in their mouths after completing a big stair climb. But it’s really nothing to be worried about. It’s just a little annoying and it will go away.
Most people put their “track hack” down to the dust or the air quality in the stairwells when in-fact these factors have nothing to do with it. It all comes down to how hard you’re breathing and how dry you allow your throat to become and even the shape of your airway. Some people just wont get it, others will no matter how fit they are.
So, how do you avoid track hack? Well, you could slow down so that you’re not breathing as hard but if you’re racing your way up a tower and your goal is to get to the top as quickly as possible, this suggestion might not sit well with you. Little sips of water along the way can help keep your throat lubricated or you can try a mask which will add to the moisture in the air you are breathing back in.
Don’t worry – there’s nothing wrong with a little track hack. You’re not contagious. If anything it proves that you gave it your all and pushed yourself to the limit. So cough with pride my fellow stair climbers and remember it will go away soon!
Australia’s biggest tower climb is on each November in Melbourne. Come and experience Eureka Climb.