There are a very few things that bring as much joy as spending a day out in the jungle or scaling down a peak or hiking on a snowy patch in the Himalayas. If you’re also an outdoor freak like me, you’d relate much to the excitement and the desperation to escape from the concrete jungle and tread on one of those treks. While trekking can be a very rewarding experience, it is at the same time very demanding of your body. If you don’t prepare adequately, you may find yourself in pain and cramps during or after the trek.
If that has scared you into thinking you need to be a fitness freak to even attempt such treks, don’t be. As always, I am here to help you out. Below is a detailed guide on the kind of fitness levels required for each type of trek. Also, a few workout tips to achieve the required fitness level.
Fitness level for the Western Ghats Treks:
Most of the treks in the western ghats region can be completed in one day. If you wish to camp overnight provided there are safe places and permits, then it can be a two-day trek. However, the fitness level required is not very demanding as most treks involve more hiking than steep climbing (with exception of Kumara Parvatha). I’ll take reference of Kumara Parvatha which is regarded as the toughest trek in Karnataka and give you few tips on preparing yourself for a trek in the Western Ghats.
Exercises to help you endure the Hiking during an easy trek.
The below mentioned exercises are to be started at least 2 weeks prior to the trek. Since the Western Ghats aren’t really multi-day treks, the baggage is usually limited to few fruits and nut-bars. Hence there is no need to workout using a fully filled trek bag.
- Running: One of the best exercises to boost blood circulation and build endurance. Typically a short run of 2-3 Kms is sufficient to build good stamina that will help you conquer the peak with ease. Should you wish to race on the trek then I’d recommend adding another km or two 😀
- Walking: For some reason, if you can’t run/jog every day, please walk. Walk at every chance you get. Walk to your office (if it is at a walking distance), walk to the grocery store nearby. Try clocking at least 3 Kms every day to keep the blood flowing and activating muscles.
Exercises to help you endure the Climbing Up/Down during an easy trek.
- Cycling: Cycling is considered the best exercise for overall physical fitness. Hence a short ride on the bicycle can go a long way in preparing yourself for treks that are tougher than what the Western Ghats can offer.
- Climbing Steps: One of the biggest problems we face during a climb is that our knees start aching after a couple of steep climbs. This happens mainly because the entire body weight needs to be lifted using the knee and calf muscles. Hence there is an additional load on the knees, which result in pain. A good way to simulate the climb is climbing the stairs. Take the stairs whenever you get a chance.
- Squats: Squats is another excellent exercise to improve knee strength. You can start with 50 reps and increase up to 100-150 to dramatically improve the climbing endurance. I do squats regularly and it sort of enables me to run on steep slopes too 😉
So, now that you know the fitness regime for a trek in the Western Ghats, go ahead and implement it.
Use our guide to pack for the trek and tell us all about it in the comments section.