Although walking is something most people do every day, we strongly urge you to train for your trek. You should start training several months before your trek and we’re here to help you understand and guide you how to achieve optimum fitness. You will enjoy this challenge far more if you are physically fit. Even if you walk regularly and have a good level of fitness, you will still need to train for this type of long-distance walking at higher altitudes.
Fitness regime for:
Why fitness ?
Three months prior to the trek, you need to build a strong foundation of fitness for the mountains. Focus on dedication during these months with a personalized training schedule as mentioned here as per easy, moderate and difficult treks.
Here’re a few reasons why you should follow a fitness regime:
- As we gain higher altitude in a trek, the air becomes thinner. To cope up with the decreasing level of oxygen we need to build aerobic fitness.
- Defying gravity and walking for a long duration on a steep slope with a rucksack/day-pack require a moderate level of strength and endurance training.
- Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. A fitness regime will help you be in good shape before the trek.
Boosting your aerobic fitness
- It strengthens your heart, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- It improves circulation, breathing and endocrine functions.
- It tones muscles and strengthens bones,
- It makes your lungs strong
- Gives it ability to process less air for more work.
- It also helps the body to acclimatise better to the colder weather at the trek.
The faster you move, the better your cardiovascular workout. But try to keep an even stride and maintain a steady pace.
To walk faster…
- Accelerate your arm movements.
- Take smaller, quicker steps.
Focus on building strength in your legs, back, shoulders, arms, and abdominal muscles. In addition you need to add some strength and flexibility training to your workout.
- Flexibility is the ability of muscles and tendons to relax and stretch easily.
- It determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.
- It improves your posture and helps to prevent low back pain.
- Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and low back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.
- On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed.
Running low on fluids diminishes your endurance, contributes to fatigue, and makes you more susceptible to getting altitude illness. Focus on staying well hydrated during your training.
Focus on optimizing sleep
Strive to get at least eight hours of sleep a night during your training. People often have trouble sleeping at higher altitudes, and diminished sleep will make your expedition much more challenging.
It is worth investing in a good pair of trekking or hiking boots, and appropriate socks. New boots must be worn in. Wear them around the house, on the way to work, etc, and then on longer trips. Once they have conformed to the shape of your feet there is less likelihood of getting blisters. Even if you’re only doing an hour around the park or streets put your rucksack and boots on, you may look silly but it’s worth it.
It is important to get into some hilly areas to experience walking on different surfaces, get used to the hills and of course the weather. You should wear the boots and rucksack you will take on the trek. You may not stick to the training guide exactly but you need to keep it in mind and to do regular exercise every week according to the guide. The fitter you are, the chances are better that you will extract the most from a trip.