Treks in the Himalaya present a substantial physical challenge, and the more fit you are before you start, the more you will enjoy your trek.
However, the number one most important thing to cultivate is mental toughness. Most of the people who trek in the Himalaya aren’t professional athletes or mountain climbers. They are average people with an unusual degree of determination. You will be walking for five to seven hours each day, every day of your trek. The best way to prepare is to hike, trek or climb any mountains or hills near where you live, and get used to really putting the hours in. With the right attitude, nearly anyone can undertake a trek in the Himalaya.
Specifically, we recommend that your exercise program focuses on these four key areas:
Studies show that high intensity training is the best way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. It involves intense, very short ‘blasts’ of activity. We suggest bursts of 30 seconds of absolutely maximum effort followed by a short rest and recovery period. Just five cycles of this every other day will show real results fairly quickly.
The best way to build your stamina is to run, cycle, or cross-train. Zumba, aerobics and spinning classes work well also. Work your way up to doing at least 30 minutes three times a week at a fast, energetic pace and you should be fine.
You’ll be walking for 5-7 hours a day. On some routes there will be very long ascents on steep stepped paths. To prepare your legs for this you need to plan a routine of leg strengthening exercises such as squats and lunges. You can do these at home, without any special equipment. Alternate this with your stamina routine, each three times a week for the best results.
Many of the most avoidable trekking injuries are due to lack of flexibility. We recommend stretching properly before and after your workouts, as well as before and after hiking on the actual trek.