Physical and Mental Preparation for a Nepal Trek

 

Preparing for a Nepal Trek

 

 

One of the most frequent questions I am asked by people who are planning to trek in Nepal is how to prepare for a Himalayan trek, particularly a longer one at high altitudes (above 3000 meters/10,000 feet)..

 

Assuming that you have the basic physical conditioning equal to the trek that you have chosen to do, preparing for the trek is fairly straightforward. There are three basic components of preparation  - aerobic, strength, and  mental. Aerobic conditioning is important primarily because you will trekking in thin air, up to 40% less than at sea level.

 

With good aerobic conditioning you will be able to better metabolize whatever oxygen is available to you, not only bringing energy to your leg muscles, but minimizing the potential effects of Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS). You should plan on doing at least one hour of aerobic conditioning at least 4 times per week for 2 months or more before your arrival in Nepal. This can be running, cycling (outdoor or stationary), Nordic track, hill climbing, or any exercise that gets your heart rate into the aerobic range (70% of your maximum heart rate) for sustained periods of time.

 

Even if you are in good overall physical condition you may not have the right muscles well-conditioned for the kind of trekking terrain you will experience in the Himalayas. Building good leg muscle strength in the gym is helpful but it is also very important that you exercise the exact muscles that you will depend on when you trek. Hiking in hilly areas for at least two hours per day with some weight on your back is the best way to do this. Not only will it make your climbs up steep mountain trails easier and more enjoyable, but even more importantly it will help with the long descents down steep trails.

 

You might think that the biggest challenge of high mountain trekking is going up but actually it is descending that creates the most problems for trekkers. In the gym be sure to focus on building strength in your quadriceps, the muscles that take on all of the burden going downhill. If you have weak quads you will be likely to step down heavily, possibly leading to ankle, knee and other problems during the trek. Tai Chi is also an excellent exercise for trekkers as it focuses not only on strengthening these muscles but also on technique for stepping lightly and safely. The Tai Chi technique of well-balanced “weightless stepping” is ideal for navigating steep, uneven trail surfaces for many hours per day.

 

Western trekkers in Nepal will notice how the trails there are generally so much steeper than in their home countries. This is not because the Himalayas are necessarily steeper than anywhere else, but because Nepalese use these trails as their main routes of commerce, just as we use roads. Mountain trails in western countries are designed for recreation and so are usually laid out in long, sweeping switchbacks to reduce the amount of effort required without concern for the time it takes to get from one place to another. Trails in Nepal are much straighter, going almost directly up or down to their destination, from village to village. Rather than have long, gradually ascending trails most Himalayan trails point almost directly up, requiring a lot more effort, and especially when descending, a lot more concentration.

 

Mental preparation is often overlooked by many people who have otherwise prepared well in all other areas. While trekking may require a lot of physical effort, something to “endure” as the only way to see remote parts of Nepal, it can be a very enjoyable exercise of itself.. Pay close attention to various parts of the body and consciously let them loosen up. When you trek try to relax your body, especially your hips. Focus on the muscles in your hips, right where the legs meet the pelvic bone and try to let you legs swing free as if they were on a hinge. If you’re on a winding downhill trail, think of each step as part of a simple dance and enjoy the natural rhythms that the terrain and your body can find together. Think of the trail as a flowing river and float along on its current, letting the trail take you where it will. Experiment with different ways of walking as a way of finding enjoyment beyond the goal of reaching a destination.

 

Trekking in the Himalayas is a relatively safe activity and mishaps or problems are usually minor. However, unpleasant things can occur on a long trek. You might have a bout of mild illness, not sleep as well as usual, find the trek pace too fast or slow – any number of things might be annoying or stressful during some part of your trek. Before you leave for Nepal, or for any foreign destination for that matter, think about the journey as more than just a quest to reach a destination. Try to imagine your trip as an opportunity to experience whatever happens as an essential part of the journey. It doesn’t matter so much whether you actually reach Everest Base Camp or any other destination. You should be prepared to find joy and fulfillment in all the moments of your trip, including the less pleasant ones that you hadn’t expected. Preparing to keep a very positive frame of mind throughout your trip, along with good physical conditioning, will insure that you are ready to experience all the wonders of  Nepal,

 

Andrew Leonard

Adventure Consultant

 

 

 

 

94 thoughts on “Physical and Mental Preparation for a Nepal Trek

  1. Hi Andrew,

    I love your description of what is involved to be prepared for a base camp treck. It has always been a dream of mine to do such a trip. I have raised three beautiful children and now find that i have the freedom to actually really DO it! I am fit but I am 53! What is your opionion of ‘older’treckers please.

    Regarsd Sally

  2. This is a very belated reply to your query regarding “older” trekkers. We have seen many trekkers in their 50s and 60s (even 70s!)complete challenging treks without problems. If you are physically fit and take your time you should find the EBC and similar treks just a fun challenge. The only thing that is unpredictable is how you will adapt to the high altitude and the possibility of severe AMS symptoms, which has little to do with fitness. The key to mitigating altitude sickness is a slow, steady pace and adequate acclimatization days. USually older persons take a more reasonable pace to avoid AMS than young, strong trekkers who can and often do trek too fast.
    In any case, 53 is probably the perfect age to try a trek to EBC. I hope you can make it here some day.

  3. You can definitely see your skills within the article you write.

    The arena hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.
    At all times follow your heart.

    Here is my blog post; male impotence (Patricia)

  4. Hello there, I discovered your blog via Google at the same time as searching for a related
    matter, your web site came up, it seems to be great.
    I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hello there, just was alert to your blog through Google,
    and found that it’s really informative. I’m going to watch out for
    brussels. I will appreciate in case you continue this in future.
    Many people will likely be benefited out of your writing.

    Cheers!

  5. Whats up very nice site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing ..
    I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally?
    I am happy to search out so many helpful information right here in the submit, we want develop more
    strategies on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . .
    .

  6. Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and
    I was wanting to know your situation; we have
    created some nice methods and we are looking to
    swap techniques with others, be sure to shoot me an email
    if interested.

  7. Hello there! Quick question that’s completely off
    topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile
    friendly? My website looks weird when browsing from my iphone.

    I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this problem.

    If you have any suggestions, please share. With thanks!

  8. Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
    Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal
    but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not
    sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions?
    With thanks

  9. Really when someone doesn’t be aware of then its up to other visitors
    that they will assist, so here it takes
    place.

  10. My partner and I stumbled over here from a different page and thought I may
    as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am
    following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page again.

  11. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was
    curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming
    having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not
    very internet savvy so I’m not 100% positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks

  12. Nice post. I was checking continuously this
    blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last phase :
    ) I take care of such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  13. It’s truly a great and useful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Hello! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog article
    or vice-versa? My website discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we
    could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

  15. You’ve made some decent points there. I checked on the internet for additional information about the issue
    and found most people will go along with your views on this site.

  16. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this
    onto a colleague who has been doing a little research on this.
    And he actually ordered me dinner simply because I found it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this topic here on your web page.

  17. First of all I would like to say fantastic blog!
    I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts
    before writing. I have had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting
    my ideas out there. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes
    are usually lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?
    Kudos!

  18. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really
    well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info.

    Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

  19. It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I’m happy that
    you simply shared this helpful information with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  21. hello there and thank you for your info – I have definitely picked up something new from right
    here. I did however expertise several technical issues using this site, as
    I experienced to reload the web site lots of times previous to I could
    get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK?
    Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and
    could damage your high quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
    Anyway I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out
    for a lot more of your respective interesting content.
    Make sure you update this again very soon.

  22. Heya! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!

    Keep up the superb work!

  23. I am extremely impressed with your writing
    skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see
    a nice blog like this one these days.

  24. Heya this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering
    if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  25. constantly i used to read smaller articles or reviews which also
    clear their motive, and that is also happening with this article which I am reading at this place.

  26. Howdy! I simply would like to offer you a big thumbs up for the great information you have got right here
    on this post. I’ll be returning to your blog for more soon.

  27. This is really fascinating, You’re a very professional blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward
    to in search of extra of your great post. Also, I’ve shared your
    website in my social networks

  28. I think this is one of the most vital info for
    me. And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The web site style
    is perfect, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  29. Hello there, I believe your site could be having web browser compatibility
    problems. Whenever I take a look at your website in Safari,
    it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues.
    I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, great
    blog!

  30. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to
    be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to
    suggest you few interesting things or suggestions.

    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this
    article. I desire to read more things about it!

  31. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is
    a really well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of
    your useful information. Thanks for the post.
    I will certainly return.

  32. Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

  33. Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one!
    It’s on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!

  34. Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate a superb article… but what can I
    say… I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  35. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you just shared
    this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

  36. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I
    have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  37. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website.
    I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you later
    on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own,
    personal website now ;)

  38. Hi my loved one! I want to say that this post is amazing, great
    written and come with approximately all vital infos.
    I’d like to peer extra posts like this . natalielise pof

  39. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for
    you? Plz respond as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find
    out where u got this from. thanks a lot

  40. Just want to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity
    in your post is simply spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this
    subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your feed
    to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and
    please continue the rewarding work.

  41. Appreciating the hard work you put into your blog and in depth
    information you present. It’s great to come across
    a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Excellent read!
    I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  42. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright
    infringement? My site has a lot of unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it seems a lot
    of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any solutions
    to help stop content from being ripped off? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  43. I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and amusing,
    and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head.

    The problem is something not enough folks are speaking intelligently about.

    Now i’m very happy that I stumbled across this during my
    hunt for something regarding this.

Leave a Reply to http://tinyurl.com/y5fn4rpu Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Before you post, please prove you are sentient.

What is 2 times 7?