How to prepare your body for Himlayan Trek

 

Minimum Age: 12 years 
Experience in trekking: Useful but not mandatory

Fitness required: You need to be in good physical condition before the start of the trek. If you haven’t exercised in a long time and have gotten out of shape, mild interval training is a good way to rebuild endurance and cardiovascular fitness.Let’s say your exercise of choice is running. Maybe you can only manage to run a few minutes before your heart feels like it’s about to explode out of your chest and you’re forced to stop for fear of passing out. It’s going to take you a while to build up to 30 minutes if you simply run your maximum each day and then stop.You should be able to Jog 5 kms in 30 minutes before commencement of the trekking expedition every day.


The Himalayan treks take you to an altitude higher than most European Countries. At 15,750 feet the air is thin and the conditions difficult. You also need to carry a backpack that weighs 8-9 kgs. Your physical fitness is important for a successful completion of the trek. Training yourself makes your lungs and Muscles strong and gives it ability to process less air for more work.

Skipping is simple and the most valuable excersise when attempting to increase stamina. Once you master the basic skipping motion, then you can go on skipping until you are completely out of breath. And then repeat. Skipping also builds hand-speed, co-ordination and dexterity.

Flexibility
Stretching allows your muscles to prepare for and recover from a workout. It keeps you limber and helps prevent injuries. When you stretch, you should feel the muscle gently pulling. Avoid bouncing, because this puts undue stress on the muscle. Do some overall body stretches, but focus on the muscle groups that were worked especially hard during your workout. Yoga can help you combine strength training and flexibility workouts. It also helps to keep you centered so that your mind is as healthy as your body.

 

How to control Breath ?

Three Breathing Exercises
Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind.

Exercise 1:
The Stimulating Breath (also called the Bellows Breath)
The Stimulating Breath is adapted from a yogic breathing technique. Its aim is to raise vital energy and increase alertness.

  1. Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
  2. Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
  3. Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.

If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.

Exercise 2:
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  5. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Exercise 3:
Breath Counting
If you want to get a feel for this challenging work, try your hand at breath counting, a deceptively simple technique much used in Zen practice.
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.

  1. To begin the exercise, count "one" to yourself as you exhale.
  2. The next time you exhale, count "two," and so on up to "five."
  3.  Then begin a new cycle, counting "one" on the next exhalation.

 

Santhanam Sridharan
Trekker/ Yoga teacher at Thakurs Artistic Yoga

 

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