Tips You must Know Before Trekking in Sikkim

Icon April 3, 2018
Icon By Labun Hang Limboo
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Health and fitness How to get fit for a trek?


One has to be Relatively Fit and Healthy to complete this trek. Normal hiking for 6 to 7 hours a Day is one of the most required qualification for this high altitude trek. One has to be mentally prepared along with good health to undertake high altitude trekking.

People suffering from Acute Hearts and Lungs Diseases, Asthama and High blood pressures are not recommended to take high altitude trek.

In order to complete this trek without much difficulties one has to make sure to do some exercises like Running and Long distance uphill trekking at least a months before a trek. This exercises really helps you keep Fit and Healthy during the trek.

The right and comfortable choices of clothing also makes differences in your fitness. So it is necessary to be disciplined while packing your clothing’s for the trip. You can rely on us to help you with clothing’s if necessary!

We provides basic medicine Kit during the trek which includes Medicine for High Altitude sickness, Headache, Diarraheoa, Vomiting, Common Cold etc. All of our medicine are scientific medicine purchased in India, however we advised you to bring your own small medicinal kit for the trip if possible.


Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS is the body’s reaction to a lack of oxygen, caused by ascent at a faster pace than acclimatisation. AMS seems to defy research – we still cannot predict who will or won’t get AMS, or what kind of conditions cause specific types of AMS.

Despite is prevalence and public awareness, AMS can be said to still baffle scientists after all this time. As far as we know AMS is thought to be caused by swelling of the brain tissue, which occurs in response to a lack of oxygen (hypoxic stress).

Because we know so little about this affliction, a common rule of thumb is to treat any illness at altitude as altitude sickness. Many people think it is normal to have a headache at altitude when in fact it is not, it is very rare. For this reason if you plan to spend any time at altitude it would be wise to know the signs of AMS. Some people have described it to be similar to a hangover.

Symptoms include a headache partnered with any of the following:

  • Loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint
  • Disturbed sleeping patterns
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Incapable of motor actions
  • Apathy
  • Impaired memory
  • Mood swings,
  • A reported ‘deep inner chill’

A headache typically occurs around the second or third day at high altitude. The headache can range from mild to severe and is characterised by throbbing in the temples and or the back of the head. It is generally worse during the night and in the morning, and made worse by straining or bending over.

All these symptoms can be graded from mild to severe, and there is a questionnaire available from Lake Louise, which is useful in assessing the stages of AMS.

If only a headache is experienced then a good idea is to test for AMS through process of elimination. As dehydration is the most common cause of headaches, drink a litre of water and if necessary take a low dosage pain killer such as paracetamol. If the pain stops completely and no further symptoms develop then it can be assumed that the headache was not due to AMS, and ascent can be continued.

Also experienced with AMS is the condition ‘periodic breathing.’ This is where a person’s normal sleeping pattern is disturbed. The individual will experience bouts of insomnia, alternated with fitful dreams. Their breathing pattern will also be disturbed, consisting of periods when breathing is rapid and deep, and then periods where breathing is stopped, which can be up to 15 seconds. This may improve slightly with acclimatization, but does not usually resolve until descent.

Periodic breathing can cause anxiety, firstly for the person who either wakes up and realises they have stopped breathing, or wakes up during a hyperventilation stage, and so begins to think they have HAPE. But it can also be a scary experience for someone who wakes up and realises their friend has stopped breathing. The best thing to do in a situation like this is simply to wait until the breathing is self-regulated once more, because these periodic breathing cycles will probably continue until the individual is awake.

As always, the best way to approach AMS is prevention. Ascent should be slow in order to give the body time to acclimatize. Every person is different, but as general guidelines, the following should protect the majority of people from AMS:

Past 3000 meter altitude should not change dramatically in 24 hours. This means do not climb for more than 300m per day.

At every 1000 meter above 3000 meter two nights should be spent at the same altitude.

Avoid anything which will slow down breathing, such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Sleeping pills
  • Narcotic pain medication
  • Tobacco, Smoking
  • Diamox

However, if AMS does occur then a few simple guidelines can prevent a fatality. It is vital that before ascending all parties are aware of the dangers, as ignorance is often the cause of illness.

Never leave someone with AMS alone.

Do not ascend any higher. This can easily be fatal, and the symptoms will only get worse.

If possible, descend to wherever you last felt ok. Symptoms will disappear much more quickly.

If not, stay at the same altitude until the symptoms are gone and the body has acclimatised. Only then can ascent re-start.


Drink plenty to stay well hydrated.

Taking Diamox helps greatly in accelerating acclimatization.

Read this article on how Diamox helps acclimatization to know the science behind it.

Although walking is something most people do every day, we strongly urge you to train for your trek. You should start training several months before your trek and we’re here to help you understand and guide you how to achieve optimum fitness. You will enjoy this challenge far more if you are physically fit. Even if you walk regularly and have a good level of fitness, you will still need to train for this type of long-distance walking at higher altitudes.

Why fitness regime?

Three months prior to the trek, you need to build a strong foundation of fitness for the mountains. Focus on dedication during these months with a personalized training schedule as mentioned here as per easy, moderate and difficult treks.

Here’re a few reasons why you should follow a fitness regime: 1. As we gain higher altitude in a trek, the air becomes thinner. To cope up with the decreasing level of oxygen we need to build aerobic fitness.

  1. Defying gravity and walking for a long duration on a steep slope with a rucksack/day-pack require a moderate level of strength and endurance training.
  2. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. A fitness regime will help you be in good shape before the trek.

Fitness regime for:

Easy treks, View | Print.

Moderate treks, View | Print.

Difficult treks, View | Print.

Calculate your BMI before you take on the regime, Click Here

If your BMI is normal, you can plan your fitness regime as mentioned. If you’re suffering from any chronic illnesses consult a medical practitioner.

If your BMI is not normal, consult your trusted physician before you plan your fitness regime.

  1. Boosting your aerobic fitness
  • It strengthens your heart, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • It improves circulation, breathing and endocrine functions.
  • It tones muscles and strengthens bones,
  • It makes your lungs strong
  • Gives it ability to process less air for more work.
  • It also helps the body to acclimatise better to the colder weather at the trek.
  • The faster you move, the better your cardiovascular workout. But try to keep an even stride and maintain a steady pace.

To walk faster…

  • Accelerate your arm movements.
  • Take smaller, quicker steps.
  1. Strength Training

Focus on building strength in your legs, back, shoulders, arms, and abdominal muscles. In addition you need to add some strength and flexibility training to your workout.

Why stretching?

  • Flexibility is the ability of muscles and tendons to relax and stretch easily.
  • It determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.
  • It improves your posture and helps to prevent low back pain.
  • Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and low back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.
  • On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed.
  1. Staying Hydrated

Running low on fluids diminishes your endurance, contributes to fatigue, and makes you more susceptible to getting altitude illness. Focus on staying well hydrated during your training.

  1. Focus on optimizing sleep

Strive to get at least eight hours of sleep a night during your training. People often have trouble sleeping at higher altitudes, and diminished sleep will make your expedition much more challenging.

  1. Shoes

It is worth investing in a good pair of trekking or hiking boots, and appropriate socks. New boots must be worn in. Wear them around the house, on the way to work, etc, and then on longer trips. Once they have conformed to the shape of your feet there is less likelihood of getting blisters. Even if you’re only doing an hour around the park or streets put your rucksack and boots on, you may look silly but it’s worth it.

  1. Hilly terrain

It is important to get into some hilly areas to experience walking on different surfaces, get used to the hills and of course the weather. You should wear the boots and rucksack you will take on the trek. You may not stick to the training guide exactly but you need to keep it in mind and to do regular exercise every week according to the guide. The fitter you are, the chances are better that you will extract the most from a