High altitude treks, as it has its own glory, it also demanding. Its no easy game. Firstly, to understand the seriousness of high altitude, please read our detailed article High Altitude Seriousness.
It will give you a detailed understanding of the terrain, extreme conditions and medical hazards which you will face at high altitude. You need to prepare well physically and mentally before you venture into the high altitude.
To know what is required in you to be able to trek, read our article Can You Trek ?
Before getting into the preparation works, see a doctor for a medical checkup in the early stages of training to ensure that high-altitude hiking is a safe and recommended activity for your age and physical condition. As you will be taking your body to high altitude where the oxygen in the air is low, terrains are rougher and you will be going into a remote wild areas far far away from health care facilities, mobile networks and ambulance services. In case you are travelling with us, all of our trips requires you to give us a signed medical certificate by a registered doctor. Find the certificate on this link
The two important areas of focus on any high altitude treks are Mental Endurance and Physical Endurance. To enjoy a trek to the fullest,you need to possess both. Otherwise you will always remain conscious about your physical inability and will not enjoy the trek too much.
Nothing much can be done about your mental endurance as it is a part of your 'self motivation' system and conscious mental training. It starts with initial help from experienced trekkers and being regular on a high altitude treks. The experience teaches you and builds you over time and helps you build your mental stamina. This game is more mental than physical. Smaller physical lack behinds can be overcome by a strong mental motivation system.
We can enhance our physical endurance by training ourselves before heading to the high altitude for trek. This training program should start way ahead of your scheduled trek departure. The earlier the better. You may start your preparation by below mentioned guidelines and take it forward by intensifying keeping your goal in mind. During this entire training period, you should focus on your cardio-vascular health and strength training.
Interval training is a method of training the cardiovascular system by elevating the heart rate significantly and then allowing it to recover for a period before elevating it again. For example, you may sprint to push your heart rate, then walk to allow it to calm down before starting to sprint again. Do not overload, but try to intensify on day by day basis. You may also consider to carry weight on your back to further intensify your training. You may take up cycling to do the same. Cycle very quick. Stop. Walk. Walk Fast. Again cycle very quick. Be careful to warm up your muscles before exercising and cooling it down with stretches post training.
Breathing is a very important exercise and comes very handy on high altitude treks. Practice taking deep breaths and holding it. Our classical yoga exercises work extremely well for breathing exercises. Else, swimming is the best. It works both on your cardio and breathing.
Your shoulder, back, arms and legs need to be strong to be able to sustain a high altitude hike. Train yourself to strengthen your muscles to be able to carry load on your shoulder and climb uphill in an environment low on oxygen. You may start going to a gym or prepare at home yourself. Atleast, 3 days a week, climb stairs with load on your back, do squats, train your calves, do push ups and planks to increase your core muscle strength. Intensify it steadily.