Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to Train to Hike the Inca Trail

The popular Inca Trail hike, which culminates at the spectacular Machu Picchu Incan ruins, is a 30-mile hike through the Andes Mountains. The hike takes place at high altitude, topping out at around 13,750 feet above sea level. Along the trail, the terrain itself is challenging, and the altitude makes breathing more difficult and the physical effort more strenuous. In order to make hiking at elevation more comfortable and less exhausting, it is important to train both physically and mentally before your trip to Peru.
Machu Picchu image by evillager from Fotolia.comMachu Picchu image by evillager from Fotolia.comThe Inca Trail trek culminates in a visit to Machu Picchu.acab9125-2eca-c68d-441b-8027bbf8b7e6300400

Step 1
Build your aerobic fitness. If you aren't already participating in regular aerobic exercise, start a training program as far in advance of the Inca Trail trip as possible. Anything that elevates the heart rate for a sustained period of time will do: running, step aerobics and swimming are all good options. According to Mountain Travel Sobek, "The level of fitness needed for a trekking adventure requires regular aerobic exercise for at least one hour 4-5 times a week." The earlier you begin an exercise regimen, the more time your heart and lungs will have to get stronger and more efficient, which is what you want when you're hiking at altitude.

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