There are few things in life more special than the view from Everest Base camp, or the feeling of triumph and satisfaction that comes with scaling a Himalayan peak, or the rush of adrenaline you get from paragliding high above Pokhara. Wherever you go on your adventure vacation in Nepal, making sure you're well prepared for the trip is of the utmost importance.
Preparation is key for these kinds of adventures, simply because they're more physically taxing than your average vacation, and while accidents are rare, they can happen. Therefore, your preparations for the trip should take into account the possibility you may fall victim to an accident or illness before or even during the adventure. There is always the possibility of unforeseen circumstances that can cause problems on a vacation, or even require that you cut it short early, but the better prepared you are, the less likely it is to happen. There's no reason to think it'll happen to you—but that's exactly why it pays to be prepared, both physically and mentally, and in terms of bringing along all the right equipments. When you know you've got every possibility taken care of your trip will be safer, you'll reduce your risk of injury, and with all your bases covered it's easier to relax and enjoy yourself, too.
The Better Your Fitness Level, the More You'll Enjoy Yourself
Most of our adventures are physically demanding, and that means to get the most enjoyment out of your trip, it really helps if you're in good shape. If your current level of physical fitness is average or low, therefore, it might be useful to follow a more challenging exercise routine for two or three months before you head off on your adventure. Don't forget that if you're starting a new program of exercise, it's recommended that you see your doctor first—even if you're already at a high standard of physical fitness. This is just a checkup to make sure you're in good health, and that you won't be attempting exercises that may put you at risk.
Both cardiovascular fitness and strength training are important, so an exercise routine should incorporate elements of both. Heavy weight training definitely isn't necessary, but light arm, back, core, and leg work is a great way to ensure that your whole body is fit and ready for adventure. If your current exercise routine already incorporates the kind of training you need to be doing, consider pushing yourself with a more difficult routine, or longer work-outs. If you're already a hiker or cyclist, for example, working out more challenging routes and adding weight to your gear are great ways to increase the difficulty of the routine.
High Altitude Training
If you're planning on a trip that's particularly demanding—like rock climbing, trekking, or cycling—then you're probably already at a fairly good standard of physical fitness. But there's definitely no harm in pushing yourself to get into better shape, especially if your trip will take you to high altitude locations. An initial consultation with your doctor is important here too, especially if you've never been to, or exercised in, high altitudes before.
Getting in good shape is especially important if you're planning on a mountain trek or climb at high altitudes, because, while good physical fitness doesn't prevent altitude sickness, it can make the effects of the sickness easier to withstand. And even if you're not affected by altitude sickness, exercising at high altitudes is simply more physically demanding, due to the lower oxygen content of the air.
The most effective way of training for high altitude adventures is to do it at high altitudes, so if you live near any such locations, they can be a huge benefit to your training program. Exercises like running, biking, swimming and even walking can all be great additions to a cardiovascular program, especially because they use different muscle groups, and taking part in a variety of exercises in this way helps you strengthen all those different groups.
Building muscle strength is particularly important because when your muscles are larger and stronger they store more oxygen, and use oxygen more efficiently—a crucial factor at high altitudes, since there's less oxygen available.
Training is hard, no doubt, but the preparation is all part of the adventure, and your body will definitely thank you once you're on that adventure!
Editor's Note: This is an article sent in by Sally Ford.
Marlen Ziyadinov (Moscow)
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