Trek Grade and Fitness for Trekking in Maharashtra
Trekking is an adventure sport (not a picnic) and like any other sport, it requires fitness. While we believe everyone must trek, but one must come prepared or else trekking can be a terrible experience. We often see trekkers come on treks just by checking pictures online and without knowing the challenges of that particular trek. Majority of the people who trek with us are from age group of 18-40. However we take trekkers from 12-58 years depending on trek to trek, and for people above 58 years old we take prior check on their fitness before registration.
On some Moderate or Difficult grade treks, we have kept criteria of previous trekking experience to enroll for the trek. Some people lie about their previous trekking experience or fitness and suffer later on in their trek. And not just Moderate or Difficult treks, even Easy grade treks require basic fitness. So, before you register for a trek make sure you are fit.
How do you determine your fitness?
Trekking requires good cardiovascular fitness. We often see trekkers go breathless at the beginning of the trek. One can improve this by going for a run on a regular basis. Some breathing exercises also help to a great extent. Smoking also hampers lung capacity, avoid smoking if you want to improve your cardiovascular health.
Even though trekking requires full body strength but strong lower body helps a great deal. Hamstring, Glute and Calves are main muscles that are put to test on treks to name a few. Gym goers often pay less attention to lower body workouts and hence sometimes struggle on trek.
Some treks have less elevation gain (height gain) but are long treks, those trek require good endurance. Endurance can not be built overnight, it takes a long time and constant active lifestyle.
Just because you take long walks, do yoga or go to the gym does not necessarily mean that you are in good fitness. The type of workout you do and your cardiovascular fitness is what matters on treks.
If you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 25 then you should only start with Easy treks.
How do we grade our treks ?
Easy: Ideal for first timers but if you are not in good fitness or have a less active lifestyle then select treks which have less than 2 hours of climbing.
Easy Moderate: Ideal for first timers, but requires good endurance as these treks may have longer duration of climb even though terrain may be easy.
Moderate: These trek require good fitness and the terrain can be challenging, like constant climb or tricky patches. These are usually recommended only if you have done a few treks before and have done well on them. Fit and active beginners can also do these treks but we always suggest to start with easy treks.
Moderate-Difficult: These trek are only for trekkers who have done few moderate level treks before and have good fitness and endurance.
Difficult: These treks either have long trekking hours or have technical climb or both. Only suitable for people who trek regularly.
Note : In our trek itinerary we mention duration of ascend, descend and trail walk and also the trek elevation (height gain) i.e. from base village till the highest point. E.g. Kalsubai is at 5400 feet, but the trek starts from Bari Village which is at 2600 feet approx., so the net height gain is only 2800 feet. So you get a better idea of the trek before registering for the trek.