Contemplating on your own about how fit are you medically? This will only waste your time. It is always better to get consulted by a certified physician. Even if you are in normal physical shape, you may come to know of any underlying problems in advance. If you have some special condition, then you should definitely ask if the current state of health and medications will have an ill-effect on you during the trek or not.
The popular and most used medicine for altitude sickness, Diamox, also affects different individuals differently. So it is best to ask about it as well during your checkup. People with medical issues like spine problem, diabetes, circulation problem, intestine or kidney problem, sprain, joint problems, hernia, asthma, cancer, a heart condition, blood disease or blood pressure problem, and a few more are advised not to proceed with the trek.
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How to prepare for EBC
Physical fitness training for this trek is not exactly compulsory, but do you really want to have the feeling of not finishing the trek just because you were not fit enough? Of course, you wouldn’t want that. Therefore, training is vital and the more prepared you are, the more you will enjoy the trek! If you already have a physical fitness routine, you just need to increase it for preparing for the Everest Base Camp.
The types of exercises you can do are swimming, cycling, a lot of walking, playing a sport of your choice and hiking to a hill in your vicinity. If you cannot specially take time out of your routine for the EBC trek, then you can try to walk to your workplace, use your lunchtime to take regular brisk walks around your workplace and if also not that, then find a steep set of stairs and regularly climb and walk down them at least thrice a week.
Everest Base Camp is a high elevation trek and hiking at such a high altitude comes with several perils. While on the trek, you will be ascending the rugged terrains and descending through the steep slopes of the majestic Himalayas that too in unpredictable weather conditions. Your body will definitely react to such adverse and new settings in a different way. But if you prepare well, you will be enjoying the trek with the least amount of problems.
A few general medicines to keep in handy are cough and cold medicines, cough candies, inhalers, diarrhea medicines, body ache medicines and other medicines and antibiotics for minor injuries. Glucose is also helpful in replenishing the lost electrolytes and improving energy levels. Other than these, keep Diamox with you.
It is a preventive medicine to reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness. It should be taken one or two days prior to starting your trek for it to be effective. It reduces headache, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath to some extent. However, keep in mind that everyone’s bodies react to the high altitude and to the medicines differently.
How to be Physically fit during the Trek
Throughout the trek, you will be walking for 6 to 8 hours on a daily basis. There will be times when you will have to climb up the hillocks and also find steep trails to cross to reach your next lodge. So, the whole EBC trail is uneven, rocky and random.
And this is what makes this trek appealing for a lot of people. While hiking, a slow pace is a key to keep your energy levels continuous and get less fatigued. This will also be helpful for you to get acclimatized to the altitude properly, meaning you can enjoy your trek with fewer hassles.
While you strengthen your endurance and stamina by doing cardiovascular exercises, you also have to focus on the often neglected mental fitness. When you practice for the trek, try pushing yourself to do more of what you are doing and keep yourself motivated.
This will automatically make you mentally strong and will prepare you when you actually need some encouragement to go further up even when it is cold you are tired from the previous day’s trek. Trekking in a group also helps to give that mental boost to break the ‘wall’ and push yourself to complete the trek. When you are surrounded by enthusiastic people with the same goal, you will always be filled with that positive energy.
While on the Everest Base Camp trek, there will not be a wide variety of dishes available. You will mostly be eating regional delicacies to fill up your tummy but hey, you will definitely get a glimpse of local cuisine and eating culture. Eating enough for energy during the trek is of utmost importance. But you should also keep in mind that you cannot eat too much. That would make you slow and lethargic.
As you go higher, the options at the tea houses get limited mostly to bread, eggs, potatoes, and porridge for breakfast; Dal Bhat (Lentils and Rice), vegetables, Thukpa, soups for lunch and similar items on the menus for dinner. Mostly, you will be needing carbohydrates to provide you with a continuous supply of instant energy and fats to keep your body warm in the frosty weather.
In your day bag, you can also keep some energy bars to refill your energy in case you get too tired. While trekking, keep drinking water to keep yourself hydrated along the way. Avoid consuming meat, alcohol, caffeine in these regions.
Packing the correct items of clothing is equally important for the trek as is the physical training for it. You will have to keep different layers of clothing to ensure that the harsh cold and the nasty, unpredictable weather does not ruin your experience of the trek. The base layer includes warm wicking thermals- both uppers and lowers. On top of it, will come the breathable trekking shirts (both long and short sleeves). The trekking pants should also be of wicking material and water-resistant.
A warm fleece jacket is also necessary for a second insulating layer. The third layer is the warm, waterproof jacket and trousers which will keep you warm on the higher regions of the trek. The last outer layer will be a waterproof hard-shelled jacket to protect you from untimely rains on the lower stretches of the trek.
Other than these, it is necessary to pack a warm beanie to prevent cold entering through your ears and a neck warmer to protect your neck and face. Two layers of gloves- one warm and quick-drying and the outer one with waterproof properties are recommended. While you are training for the EBC trek, practice walking in your hiking boots/ shoes especially if they are new. This will help them break-in and you will not face the problem of blisters or shoe bites while on the main trek.