But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep Image: Thinkstock
When someone whispers the words Nag Tibba or Kheer Ganga in your ears, does your heart skip a beat? Welcome to the world of trekkers. Only this category of people knows how exciting the world looks when you are crawling under a huge rock in the Himalayas. It’s tiring and difficult, but the thrill of scaling the summit makes it all worthwhile.
But for people who have been cooped up in a city for a long time, trekking can be quite a tough task. Trekking is a sport where the focus should be on building endurance. The routine has to be designed to incorporate low intensity and long duration movements.
But fret not. To make things easier for you, T2 Online chatted with Prosenjit Biswas, fitness manager at SKULPT, a fitness tracking company, to understand how to prepare oneself for trekking.
"We have to make people work out with lower weights and higher repetitions just to achieve the neuromuscular adaptation. The routine initialises with this level of exercise, and gradually there is an increase in the load and decrease in repetitions to strengthen the involved muscles," says Biswas, adding, "The training differs depending on the destination. For instance, the Everest Base Camp is located at a higher altitude, therefore higher is the intensity of the routine. One needs to work on endurance and elevation (breathing). Likewise, depending on the destination, keeping the basic principle of training similar, one needs to combine various other factors to decide the routine."
What to start with?
"The training programme starts with muscle strengthening which is followed by endurance and finally increase in the intensity of the workout. For example, if someone practises walking for an hour on the treadmill for the trek, he/she could increase intensity by adding a backpack with additional weights in it. Similarly, to increase intensity in strength, instead of just lunges, one can carry additional free weight (dumbbells) to maximise the effect," Biswas tells us.
Walk an hour on the treadmill with a backpack to increase intensity Image: Thinkstock
How should you design the training?
Training should be a mix of balance, coordination and core strength. Balance for hiking in elevation mode as gravity will always try and pull you back. Coordination since it’s not a flat surface and hence, it’s important to be able to put one foot before another. Core strength is important as it is the power house of the body.
Pro trekkers’ tips
To increase lung capacity pranayam must be a part of the daily exercise routine. Serious trekkers may invest in an elevation mask for training purposes. As one goes higher, the oxygen density is expected to reduce. Hence, preparing oneself for the same is always advisable.
Stretching is another essential part of the training. One needs to do that for at least 10 minutes every day, to increase the elasticity of the muscles. It also helps to prevent muscle imbalances and hastens recovery. During the training period, especially while on the trek, staying hydrated is crucial.
Not just physical!
Psychologically, meditation and breathing exercises play a huge role. Add meditation as part of your training programme as it helps increase the concentration level. The tougher or higher the destination, the more it will involve will over skill. Stay positive and motivated. If one can visualise oneself completing the trek, one will actually look forward to finishing it.
The effort is worth it when you reach the top Image: Thinkstock
A daily routine designed for trekking enthusiasts
Swiss Ball Hip Extension: The primary muscle is the hamstring. This exercise helps strengthen the hamstring muscles. Because the Swiss ball is unstable, it also activates the core muscle and stabilises the Glutes.
Lateral Walking Movement with the Resistance Band: It helps strengthen the abductor muscles. During trekking, there must be coordination in all the muscle groups. The abductor is a muscle which supports Glutes muscle movement.
Lateral walking movement with the resistance band Image: SKULPT
Ace those push ups Image: SKULPT
Push-ups: This is a basic upper body strengthening movement. It works on the shoulders and arms. It’s important to work on the upper body strengthening as well.