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Preparing for your Trek to Everest Base Camp

Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a mental and physical challenge, and the more prepared you are, the more enjoyable it will be for you. Training for your Everest Base Camp Trek should commence 10-12 weeks prior to departure. A successful trek will be greatly assisted by proper preparation. The trek to and from Base Camp is not just a simple matter of constantly climbing to or descending from your goal. The trek involves daily climbs and descents and river crossings. With all of the above in mind, the 5 elements of training that we recommend are:

  • Stretching
  • Cardio-vascular
  • Core strength
  • Quick recovery
  • Walking stamina

Stretching:

On the mountain trail stretching before and after each days trek will reduce the risk of injury and reduce aches and pains the following morning.

Cardio Vascular:

Choose a form of fitness that you enjoy – running, cycling or swimming. Pursue this form of fitness regularly (a minimum of twice a week). Set yourself weekly targets of improvement. This is your base fitness and is key to building the other elements of your training.

Core Strength:

This is general body strength, but with a focus on the stomach and back muscles. Basic exercises such as sit-ups, press-ups, planks – all build the core. These exercises should form part of your weekly fitness regime – these exercises can easily be tagged on to the beginning or end of a run or long walk, or just as easily be done each morning before you start your day.

Quick Recovery:

At altitude everybody becomes breathless due to the rarefied atmosphere – this is normal. The key to training for this is to get your body used to this stress and have your body trained so that it’s recovery rate is as quick as possible. Training for this is easier than you might think. Essentially you are looking at any exercise that relies on intense periods of high intensity exercise followed by brief periods of rest. Circuit Training is great for this.

Walking Stamina:

Nothing is going to prepare you for walking up hills as much as, well, walking up hills! If you’re not used to walking lots, start easy – walk to work a couple of times a week. At weekends, get out in the parks or mountains. In the final couple of months before the trek, you should be aiming to be out once a week walking for longer periods. Before you leave you should have experienced at least one walk lasting 5-6 hours, as this is a standard day on the trek– and make sure you use all this walking to properly break-in your trekking boots.

Week 1:

Your first walk should be easy – just a simple 3-5km – you want to make sure that you are trekking up hill – you want to aim to do this at least 3 times during the Continue to drink at least 2 litres of water per day. Home Exercise As well as getting the heart pumping you should also be building and conditioning your muscles. You can do this with a few simple exercises at home such as Lunges, Squats and Push Ups. You should be doing these exercises three times a week. Feel free to rotate your walk and exercise so you are doing different thing each day. Tip **Whilst you are training it is important to breath in and out through your nose. This will help condition your lungs for the altitude**(You can use the altitude mask to simulate your lung capacity and stamina but there you can’t properly train your body at sea level for high altitude trekking.)

Week 2:

You should be flying through your 4km walks with ease! So it is time To up a little, double back on yourself and build the walk up to 5-6km. Just make sure you are still hitting those hills. Continue to drink at least 2 litres of water per day. Home Exercise Choose from one of the exercises Lunges, Squats and Push Ups to do 3 sets of 15.

Week 3:

You should be walking around 4.5km-6km a couple times a week and then try to do a 5-7-5km walk on the weekend. Make sure you are still hitting those hills and continue to drink at least 2 litres of water per day. Stand Up On Everest Week No. Exercise Home Exercise Choose from one of the exercises Lunges, Squats and Push ups to do 3 sets of 15.

Week 4:

You should be walking 6Km a couple times a week and then do a 8km walk on the weekend – this will help you build up your stamina. This week take a backpack full of clothes and make sure you are still hitting those hills. Continue to drink at least 2 litres of water per day. Home Exercise Choose from one of the exercises Lunges, Squats and Push ups to do 3 sets of 15.

Week 5 & 6:

Walk 5km a couple times during the week . Complete a 8km walk on the weekend – Make sure you are still hitting those hills. This week take a backpack full of clothes but also add a couple of 1 litre water bottles this will mimic what it is like whilst trekking. Make sure you are still hitting those hills. Continue to drink at least 2 litres of water per day. Home Exercise Choose from one of the exercises Lunges, Squats and Push ups to do 3 sets of 15.

Week 7 & 8:

Walk 5kms a couple times during the week . Complete a 10km walk on the weekend . Make sure you are still hitting those hills. This week take a backpack full of clothes but also add a couple of 1 litre water bottles this will mimic what it is like whilst trekking. Make sure you are still hitting those hills. Continue to drink at least 3 litres of water per day. Home Exercise Choose from one of the exercises Lunges, Squats and Push ups to do 3 sets of 15.

Week 9 & 10:

Walk 6kms a couple times during the week . Complete a 12km walk on the weekend – this should be with a hill gradient. This week take a backpack full of clothes but also add a couple of 1 litre water bottles this will mimic what it is like whilst trekking. Make sure you are still hitting those hills. Continue to drink at least 3 litres of water per day. Home Exercise Choose from one of the exercises Lunges, Squats and Push ups to do 3 sets of 15.

Exercise Week 11 & 12:

Walk 6km a couple times during the week . Complete a 12km walk on the weekend – this should be with a hill gradient. This week take a backpack full of clothes but also add a couple of 1 litre water bottles this will mimic what it is like whilst trekking. Make sure you are still hitting those hills. Continue to drink at least 3 litres of water per day. Home Exercise Choose from one of the exercises Lunges, Squats and Push ups to do 3 sets of 15.

Finally…

You don’t need experience at high altitude to complete this trek. While you probably can’t train for altitude at home at least you can make sure you are physically fit and won’t be struggling with the daily hikes of between 4 – 6 hours or more. If you are an experienced hiker this trek probably isn’t a difficult one for you but I would consider it to be of moderate difficulty and would recommend everyone train before taking it on. This will improve the chances of an enjoyable and memorable trek free of painful mornings and sore bodies. The key to a successful trip is slow and steady. Your wonderful guide will remind you to go bistarai, bistarai, meaning slowly, slowly because altitude sickness can affect anybody—regardless of age, sex, or fitness level. At base camp, the oxygen content will be 50% of that at sea level.

 

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