Training for Trekking Begins at Home - The New Indian Express

Training for Trekking Begins at Home

Published: 10th August 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 09th August 2014 06:48 PM

Trekking requires a certain level of fitness. Unfortunately, a busy life, lacking a specific fitness regime, leaves many trekkers less prepared. Training to be fit for treks is no rocket science. Training smart effectively helps to gain energy.

Trekking is like any other athletic sport and before someone embarks on this path it’s good to get medically checked and consult a doctor. For fitness tips it’s better to discuss with a trainer or a pro trekker, who is well aware of the conditions in the high altitude. Preparing for a trek is no different from preparing for a long distance run or a long distance trail. The only difference being that trek is not a competition and one can walk at his/her pace. For trekking one needs to adapt the body to stress and build on it slowly and steadily. The idea is to toughen the body to withstand extreme conditions of the trek. Walking for five-six hours in high altitude or at an altitude of even 3,000 feet is taxing.

Training for trekking has to be ongoing and part of the daily routine. Trekkers need a balanced approach to strengthen the body. It is important to strengthen the weak links as well as the major muscle groups. Having a strong back goes a long way, apart from having strong legs and arms. So combine cardio with strength training. It will help build up muscles. The key is to strengthen the stomach muscles as well as the surround muscle groups known as the core.

Every trek involves climbing or descending significant elevations. It is important to vary training in order to work on the muscles and joints used for climbing and descending. If one has varied terrain near his/her house that would be an ideal training topography. But, not everybody is lucky to have that perfect training setting. The best way then is to build a few physical activities within one’s daily routine. Start with walking for about one-two hours on a flat surface for a week and gradually increase it to about three hours with walks on inclines for four or five days a week with a backpack weighing around 4 kg.  In the gym, walking on the treadmill with a backpack at a 2-5 per cent incline will enhance endurance and give strength.

The other ideal way is to climb up and down flights of stairs. Repeating the process a number of times helps. Initially start with 20 flights of stairs. Then gradually build up to 100 flights of stairs. This number is highly subjective, as flights vary in size and the amount of elevation one has to climb in a day varies greatly. However, 100 flights is a reasonable goal that if reached accomplishes a good base to prepare for the trek. Remember along with all this training a proper diet and rest should not be forgotten. The goal should also never be race to a destination.

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