Trekking in the Himalayas is indeed the most uplifting recreational activity that brings you abreast with breathtaking scenery, exotic landscapes, and helps to explore the unexplored, tread the untread. The adventure sports called trekking is mind-blowing. But, it also tests your fitness level. If you are not fit or not trained for trekking, you will face many problems. You must have to prepare your body with effective exercise for trekking.
To trek the Indian Himalayas you got to be fit.
You can’t turn up to any of the trekking treks unprepared. Getting trained for trek needs a lot of hard work. A lot of preparations are required or else the entire experience will be a disastrous one such that you never turn to trek again.
If your body is not flexible, and you have not attained fitness level perfect for trekking, you won’t enjoy this adventure sports. You will end up with pains on various regions of the body and also injuries. If you wish to enjoy trekking and make the maximum out of this recreational activity, then follow the top tips on exercise for trekking given here.
Let us first explore the reasons for maintaining the fitness level for trekking. There are several good reasons:
• As you move higher and higher, the air gets thinner, and you have less Oxygen to breathe. So, you need to develop aerobic fitness to cope with this decreasing oxygen level.
• When you are moving to higher altitudes, you are defying gravity. Moving with the backpack weighing around 12-13 kgs, and walking for hours on a steep slope needs endurance, great fitness, and strength training
Evaluate your current fitness condition
To train yourself for trekking, you got to evaluate your fitness level at present. You got to spend more and more time on physical training to train yourself for this challenging sport. So, the fitness training must start two months before you head towards the mountains.
If you are a beginner in trekking, do follow the top tips for trekking fitness program highlighted here.
Before you start trekking fitness plan
- Connect the doctor: Before beginning your exercise, talk to any general physician for basic test about fitness certificate.
- Check your BMI: You need to scrutiny your body mass index. It is the ration with the height and weight of body. You can check it free online with the BMI calculator.
- Past injury: If you are suffering from any past injury, you should be concerned on the same. If it is serious, concern with the doctor.
- When to start: 3 to 4 months prior to trek, you must start your work-out routine.
Exercise for trekking
Aerobic training or cardiovascular training
In the initial days of trek preparation, you may walk for 5-6 kilometers regularly. It is better to walk on the slopes while maintaining the speed of 5kms/hour. This should be done five times a week for around four weeks before the real trekking expedition. The walking time must also increase once you gain strength.
Before you trek the Indian Himalayas, you need to ensure that the cardiovascular fitness is the finest. You can trek for longer duration without feeling exhausted. It is better to get in touch with a fitness trainer if you are not sure. He will prepare a fitness training program to make you fitter and stronger.
Here are the key reasons for taking cardiovascular fitness training:
• Aerobic fitness or cardiovascular exercise is needed to condition your lungs and heart
• It builds stamina and prepares you for long days upon the trekking trail
• You can walk on the trails at a faster pace
• The different levels of cardiovascular training programs let you trek comfortably
If you are already cycling, swimming or running, increase the time. For those who are beginners, they must start slow to stay motivated. Aerobic training trains your heart and lungs to function to the peak ability. Incorporate cardio workout to your fitness program if you want to feel good about trekking, or be prepared for the next hills when on top of the hills.
Jogging and cycling can boost your aerobic capability. Use proper shoes when jogging or cycling. This should be followed by stretching exercises to make the body flexible.
Stretching exercise must be done for 4-5 times a week at least.
Endurance training and strength training
You use several muscles when trekking. Endurance and strength training will prepare your muscles for longer walks. This is the second phase of aerobic training, we can say. Strength training should be done after the aerobic training, jogging, cycling, and stretching exercises.
Strength training aims to build strength at the back, the arms, shoulders, and abdominal muscles. With proper aerobic training, your legs get the needed strength. Here are the ways to do strength training at your home:
• Do plenty of sit-ups, push-ups in three-four sets with 10-15 repetitions
• Chin-ups or pull-ups are pretty difficult for beginners. So, start with the set of 5-10 repetitions.
• Free squats with at least 15 repetitions for 3 sets
• At home or gym, you may do weight training exercises like tricep press, bicep curl, shoulder press. Each set must be done in 3 sets with 8-10 repetitions
Warm up and Cool Down
Before you start with the main strength training exercises, begin slow and do warm-up exercises. Raise your pulse and then enter into the main exercise session. Before doing high-intensity exercise for trekking fitness, let there be an increase in blood flow towards your muscles. Doing so will avoid shocks from too much workout.
Even when you are nearing the end, don’t stop all of a sudden. At the end of a cardio workout, slowly and gradually reduce the speed of the drill. Let your breathing be normal and then do stretching exercises.
You can also refer ProHab Exercises
Lifestyle fitness conditions your back, the core, and your legs. You can start by making small changes to your daily activities. The basic example is using the stairs and avoiding the lift. Walk for more number of hours every day.
Stretching exercise for muscles may avoid injuries when you walk on the trails. It also encourages flexibility of joints and muscles.
Trekking fitness plans will prepare you for walking long distances. Physical fitness is the foremost consideration for any trekking enthusiast.
You should be capable enough to cover longer distances on your foot. Get to know about the areas you wish to trek. This is very important.
Work out at a pace that you can hold a conversation. Don’t forget to wear your trekking shoes, carrying weight on your shoulders when exercise for trekking. Steady cardio may be walking towards the grocery shop or a workout on the treadmill. Playing tennis, training in the rowing machine, cycling, weight lifts, swimming are equally important.
The above mentioned best tips on exercise for trekking, directly comes from fitness trainers who are trekking enthusiasts. Even if you are an experienced trekker, you need trekking fitness training. This is so because each time you need to deal with a different trail. Whether you trek the Indian Himalayas, trek Nepal, Roopkund or Annapurna, each will pose a separate set of challenges.
Rest is the part of your exercise
Your body must need time to recover after the exercise. So after a week of exercise for trekking, you have to rest your body for a day. It helps to regenerate the energy and the muscle fibre. Apart from physical rest, it also improves psychological rest for rigorous training.
5 Thumb rules
- Hire a free digital trainer like work-out video channel, exercise app for motivation and consistency of your trekking exercise.
- Maintain the regularity.
- Drink more water as your body needs the hydration after intense work-out.
- Maintain a healthy diet – consisting protein, carbohydrate and fat.
- Maintain a good sleeping cycle to re-energize your body and mind.
So, make your trekking expedition as enjoyable as possible by following the fitness tips stated above.