Expert Opinion fitness for trekking preparing for a high altitude trek Travel

Why is Fitness Important for A High Altitude Trek: A Trek Leader’s Perspective

Why is Fitness Important for A High Altitude Trek: A Trek Leader’s Perspective

F rom my expertise of trekking for 1700+ kilometers and main quite a few teams within the excessive altitudes of the Indian and Nepal Himalayas, I’ve come to understand that one of the necessary elements in having an incredible trek expertise is health.

Treks like Kedartal, Everest and Annapurna Basecamp check a trekker’s health to excessive ranges. Seen listed here are trekkers crossing the Spider wall part on Kedartal trek. Image By: Sudheer Hegde

This idea may sound very banal to you, however belief me it makes a world of distinction. Invariably, in all of the treks I’ve led, I’ve observed that individuals who have ready earlier than a trek have carried out a lot better and loved far more than those that didn’t.

Numerous individuals on a trek have terribly suffered solely as a result of they didn’t hassle to organize in any respect. I’ve seen scores of trekkers endure an pointless bout of wrestle and ache, which feels endless on the time.

Right here I’ll inform you how you can forestall this and proper an enormous mistake individuals make when getting ready for a trek.

How lack of health impacts the standard of your trek

The ache and wrestle brought on by lack of preparation diminishes trek expertise and spoils all of the enjoyable.

Trekkers who aren’t match don’t go searching to expertise the great thing about the majestic snow-capped mountains. They’re unable to soak up the tranquility of the pristine forest trails. They stroll like robots and solely concentrate on whether or not their subsequent step is going to be painful or not. Regardless that they appear down and stroll, of their bodily traumatic journey, they by no means come to find how lush inexperienced the meadows are.

Trekkers climbing as much as Machermo at 14.600 ft on the EBC-Gokyo Ri trek. Image by Santhosh Govindarajulu

These conditions could be very onerous to deal with.

As a trek chief, I really feel extraordinarily helpless when trekkers will not be match as a result of no quantity of trek steerage, directions, medicines or motivation can truly relieve trekkers’ struggling.

This has compelled me at this time to write down about find out how to keep away from such an disagreeable expertise within the mountains.

The one answer is to organize onerous and put together properly.

Understanding the hyperlink between excessive altitude, the human physique and health

High altitude is usually outlined as anywhere 9,000 ft above sea degree or greater.

You all know, as you go greater, the quantity of oxygen going into your bloodstream from the impressed ‘thin’ air is much less on account of decrease atmospheric strain. So if you put together within the plains, nothing will compensate for this lack of oxygen within the mountains. It is essential to notice that no quantity of trek preparation is utterly enough for excessive altitudes.

Having stated that, a very good bodily coaching schedule earlier than a trek will certainly put together your physique to face up to all of the hardships that lie forward.

Whenever you’re match, you possibly can benefit from the surroundings on the trek as an alternative of gasping for breath or struggling to catch up on a regular basis. Image of the meadows on the Hampta Move trek by Chirag Sadhnani

Once you journey to excessive mountain areas, your our bodies initially develop automated physiological responses to vary in surrounding situation –

1. Lungs begin working doubly onerous to get sufficient oxygen into your our bodies.

2. There is a rise in respiration and coronary heart fee, even whereas resting.

three. Pulse price and blood strain go up sharply as your hearts pump more durable to get extra oxygen to the cells.

Thus the coronary heart must be in a terrific situation for a trek, which is a bodily demanding exercise. The guts muscle ought to be strengthened in order that it is capable of pump extra blood per heartbeat.

You additionally have to construct cardiorespiratory endurance. This is the power of your coronary heart and lungs to soak up, transport and make the most of oxygen over prolonged durations of time throughout bodily exertion. Greater cardiorespiratory endurance will allow your lungs and coronary heart to raised use the low quantity of oxygen.

Cardio workouts like brisk strolling, jogging, swimming and biking will assist obtain this. Endurance coaching will put together you to do extra work with the oxygen you absorb.

What does it imply to get match for a High Altitude Trek

Now, the most important mistake most individuals make when getting ready for a trek is to coach solely for stamina and cardiovascular endurance. They ignore a really vital facet of a super trek prep – constructing muscle power.

What all trekkers and particularly first-timers have to do is to strengthen their muscle mass particularly decrease physique ones, construct a robust core and enhance their sense of stability and stability.

If you find yourself not used to strolling on an uneven terrain, your muscular tissues take a number of beating. Coaching for your muscle tissues will put together them to soak up all of the shocks on a hike. The leg muscle mass will get stronger via cardio coaching, however you must embrace workouts in your trek prep that particularly work your legs too.

The primary constituents of the leg group of muscular tissues are quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.

To efficiently negotiate uneven terrain on treks, you might want to construct power, flexibility and stability together with stamina. Image of the Kedartal trek by Sudheer Hegde

The quad muscular tissues on the fronts of the thighs are the first muscle mass used for trekking. A trek engages all parts of the quadriceps to propel the physique ahead throughout steps. The quads prolong (straighten) your knee. If they’re weak, your knees should bear the load which may trigger knee accidents such because the patellofemoral syndrome (PFS) or runner’s knee.

Aside out of your leg muscle mass, the glutes, hip, stomach and again muscle tissue additionally have to be included in any power coaching schedule. All these muscular tissues assist to help the torso whereas engaged in any bodily exercise.

The torso supplies the central pillar towards which the limbs transfer. A trek requires lots of bending, twisting, and turning. At occasions you must be on all of your fours to scramble on boulders. Moreover, choosing your backpack up and carrying it for lengthy distances wants wants good muscular endurance in your mid-section. It is subsequently essential to take care of power in your core and again supported by hip and the glutes to take care of a very good erect posture particularly throughout a strenuous stroll carrying a backpack.

Our trek leaders often run at high-altitude basecamps to take care of their health.

A lot of the treks I’ve finished are a mixture of numerous sorts of terrain. Treks might require you to stroll on gravel, moraines, boulders, steps, smooth snow, exhausting snow, glaciers, meadows, streams, rivers, suspension bridges, arid and sandy trails or steep rocky patches. The paths could also be so broad that a herd of sheep can stroll alongside or they could be so slender that one step off the path will take you down a gorge.

Subsequently, together with constructing cardiorespiratory endurance and powerful muscle tissue, training for flexibility, stability and stability is additionally essential.

Strolling on slender trails, a mixture of totally different unfamiliar terrain and navigating uneven floor requires you to have good stability and be versatile. It can allow you to trek with confidence and even when you slip you may be fairly adept at arresting your falls.

What you must embrace in your Trek Preparation

So our trek prep schedule should have all of the aforementioned three important elements:

| Cardiorespiratory Endurance
| Muscle Power
| Flexibility and Stability

We have to concentrate on all three to have an holistic preparation earlier than enterprise a trek journey.

Brisk-walking or jogging is a should and ideally ought to be carried out every day with gradual improve in period over the interval of your preparation. Aside from this, we additionally want workouts which goal all the above three elements

Now, it may be a frightening activity in selecting workouts from the innumerable ones on the market. Under I’m itemizing solely four workouts which can do the trick for you. You do not want to do something additional.

Workouts resembling stair climbing mimic what is required of you on a trek and are nice solution to construct decrease physique power. Image of the Pangarchulla summit climb by Satyen Dasgupta

These will enable you to improve your cardio capability and endurance, construct power in all main trekking muscle mass and in addition enhance flexibility and stability.

| Stair Climbing with Backpack
| Body weight Squats (Examine Video)
| Step-ups with knee increase (Verify Video)
| Deadbug (Examine Video)

The above workouts must be accomplished minimal four days every week. You need to progress with growing the depth and period of train because the trek day approaches.

Out of all of them, stair-climbing is crucial as it really works the entire physique and tries to imitate an precise hike. You need to improve the depth of the exercise progressively by doing it with a backpack and for longer period.

Keep in mind, being disciplined and constant is the important thing. Please maintain apart your cell phone for a while and take away all distractions. Carry out these workouts at the very least four days every week, religiously, in a particularly disciplined method and belief me you will notice outcomes. Beginning with them at the least two months earlier than will do wonders for you.

So go forward to organize exhausting and put together nicely.

A remaining request

Lastly, I need to make an earnest request to all first-timers: you’re placing a lot time, effort and cash to plan and ebook a trek. You need to take a while out of your busy schedule to organize too. Don’t take a trek for granted and deal with it as a picnic or a tour vacation. A trek is a unique ball-game altogether. A little preparation will forestall all of the pointless struggling and ache that I’ve been a witness to in most of my my trek adventures.

There is a cause individuals trek within the excessive altitudes. The breathtaking sceneries, the pristine sights and the reinvigorating serenity brings individuals out to a few of the remotest locations on earth. These locations aren’t accessible by motor automobiles and subsequently you stroll.  You stroll on a troublesome terrain for days in harsh climate and unfamiliar setting.

If it was straightforward, everyone would have executed it. It is not. You need to perceive nobody is going to do the trek for you. And nobody is going to hold you to such locations. So it is of utmost significance that you simply take preparation critically. As a result of for those that do, a trek journey can flip into the most effective few days of their life.


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