Trekking in Nepal is a major attraction for tourists. Most of the trekkers visit Nepal, especially to walk on classic trails like Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit. Most of the popular trekking destinations lie in the shadows of these trekking regions.
The popular, as well as less known trekking trails, are united under one big trial i.e. the great Himalayan trail. The main purpose of developing this trail is to gain more popularity among the travelers and encourage them to explore more. This trail covers 16 districts, ranging from Dolpa with the Tibetan plateau to Darchula which borders India.
The trekking trails of Nepal offer diversity in terms of landscape, flora and fauna, people, and culture. While trekking in Nepal, you will walk through forests, pastures, rice terraces and fertile lands. Along with different trails, you will encounter local settlements and different ethnic groups.
Generally, trekking means walking on good or rough trails, up and down the hills. Sometimes you may need to cross 3000 ft. or even walk 900 meters every day carrying a day pack.
Nepal is exotic, yet traditional at the same time. The country has different culture, traditions, and language. To experience the wonders of Nepal and enjoy your trek, you must be physically and mentally prepared.
Trekking in Nepal is graded on the basis of the geographical location and duration of trekking. It can be categorized as easy, moderate, strenuous or challenging. Regardless of the type of trekking in Nepal, you need to be physically and mentally prepared.
Training for Trekking in Nepal
Trekking in the higher altitudes is not like walking in the park. You need to train your body and prepare yourself to walk on steep, rough terrain with 8-20 kg backpack for 8-10 hours daily in all kinds of weather.
In Nepal, most of the trekking trails are quite uneven. You will be trekking in both lower and higher altitudes. You will also be trekking under the hot sun as well as the chilly nights.
Thus, you need to be trained for trekking in Nepal. Training makes the trekking journey less difficult, safer and more enjoyable. Hence, you need to give more time and effort for training before going on a trekking adventure.
Aerobic Training for Trekking in Nepal
For any outdoor activity, physical fitness is essential. But, you do not need to be a sportsperson to do trekking in Nepal.
These treks are not running competitions. Thus, you can walk at your own pace enjoying the natural beauty.
If you are physically fit, you will be able to enjoy more. You will also have enough energy for extra activities.
Your physical condition needs to be stable as you will be trekking in thin air. With a good physical condition, you will be able to metabolize yourself better . Thus, you can cut the potential effects of Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS).
To improve your cardiovascular fitness, you will need high-intensity training. It involves short bursts of high-intensity effort, followed by a recovery period. It is the best way to increase your stamina and prepare you for trekking at different altitudes.
The best way to do this is to find stairs that will take one or two minutes to get to the top. You can do 10 sets until you are puffing. You can add intensity by putting on a backpack, starting with 5 kg to 20 kg.
By doing this, your heart and lungs will get fit. One thing you need to remember is that you always need to warm up and stretch before starting your training program.
Other cardiovascular exercises can be running, cycling, jogging, and hill climbing. Or, you can choose any exercise that gets your heart rate into the aerobic range (70% of your maximum heart rate).
Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It will also make your lungs strong. It improves breathing, endocrine functions, tones muscles and strengthens bones.
Finally, it also helps the body acclimatize to high altitudes, even in the cold weather during your trek.
Strength and Conditioning
You might think that the biggest challenge of high mountain trekking is to climb hills. Actually, when you’re descending hills, it creates most of the problems.
So, you need to focus on building strength in your quadriceps as these muscles will take all the burden of your body while you are moving downhill. Besides this, you also need to focus on building strength in your back, shoulders, arms and abdominal muscles.
If you have weak quads, you might face knee or ankle related problems while walking downhill. Thus, you need to focus on building good strength in your leg muscles. Also, you need to exercise the exact muscles that you will depend on when you trek.
To build your strength, you can train yourself with free weights and machines. You can do exercises such as lunges, squats, step ups, pull ups, rowing, pushups and bench presses. Thus, you need to add some strength and flexibility training in your daily workout.
Before trekking in Nepal, you can also go for hiking in the hilly areas for at least two hours per day in your home country. This is the best way as it will help you climb up steep mountain trails easily. And most importantly, it will help you more while moving down steep trails.
During the trekking period, flexibility is important as it is the ability of muscles and tendons to relax and stretch. This training will improve your body posture. If you stretch your quadriceps, low back muscles, and hip flexors, it will relax your tissues and reduce the strain on your back.
Trek Specific Training
Sometimes, high hills and mountain terrains are quite rough to hike. Thus, trekking specific training will help you adapt to the environment in the Himalayas.
It is important to experience walking in some hilly areas. You need to be familiar with the hilly terrain and its weather. You need to wear hiking boots and carry a backpack which you will take on the trek.
Hiking steep hills will help you in building your leg strength. Also, it will help in learning how to walk in uneven paths while keeping your body in balance. You can also try to ascend 600 to 1000 meters carrying around 8 to 10 kilos in your backpack.
Breathing exercise can also be very helpful for high altitude trekking. For this, you can do Yoga. It is an excellent way to prepare yourself for the trek.
Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a serious medical problem caused by going up in the higher elevation about 8,000 feet or 2,400 meters above sea level. Dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath are a few symptoms of this condition.
In some rare cases, altitude sickness can become severe. So, this health problem needs to heal instantly.
Most of the trekking routes of Nepal goes above 2400 meters above sea level. So, you need some altitude training. If you ascend to the least height of 3,000 meters 30 days before the trek, then there is less chance of suffering from altitude sickness.
Before going for a high altitude trek, altitude training will help you to pre-acclimatize to high altitudes. Here are a few altitude training techniques which you can include in your weekly training program.
During the trekking period, you need to drink plenty of water. A proper hydration will reduce headaches, helps blood flow and has many other health benefits.
Get plenty of sleep
During the trekking, you need to get plenty of sleep. Sleep affects how your mind and body will respond to the stress of altitude. Also, you need to practice sleeping outside on cold nights if possible.
High altitude trekking is one of the most challenging outdoor activities and needs a lot of patience. So, there is no need to hurry, you can move at your own pace to reach greater altitudes.
Reasons for training for trekking in Nepal
Three months before your trek, you need to build a strong foundation of fitness for trekking in Nepal. If you want to complete your trek without any problems, you will need to give a full effort to your personalized training schedule.
Here are a few reasons why you need to go for training for trekking in Nepal:
Trekking in the mountain involves both low and high altitude trekking. As we ascend to higher altitudes, the air becomes thinner. To adjust with the decreasing level of oxygen, you need to have a good physical condition.
Walking down a steep slope with a heavy rucksack or day pack for a long duration will need a moderate level of strength and endurance training.
You also need to be in a good shape before the trek and these training will definitely help you.
Trekking in the Himalayan trail is a matter of great importance and responsibility. A good physical and mental condition is compulsory if you want to have a comfortable trekking experience.
Even if you are physically fit and walk regularly, you will still need these training for trekking at higher altitudes. So, if you are well prepared, you will definitely enjoy this challenge.
You also need to be mentally prepared for trekking in Nepal. You need to remember that this trekking trip will be an opportunity which will give you a lifetime experience.
Before heading for adventure trekking, you need to keep a very positive mind frame along with good physical preparations. Thus, training before trekking in Nepal is a must to enjoy the thrill of the adventure.