Physical Fitness Guide for Trekking

"Setting off on a trekking adventure is like stepping into the heart of nature—a thrilling journey that calls for both physical strength and mental resilience.”

Whether you're a seasoned explorer looking to boost your performance or a beginner preparing for your first trek, this guide is your go-to source for achieving peak fitness.

It dives into the details of what exercises to do, how often, and for how long, promising to be your reliable companion as you navigate the path to trail-ready vitality. 

So, let's lace up those boots and begin a transformative fitness journey, ensuring that you conquer the trail and do so with lasting strength and energy.

Here are 5 Physical Fitness Guides for Trekking:

1. Cardiovascular and Endurance training

Cardiovascular and endurance training are intertwined pillars of preparation for trekking. They collectively enhance your body's capacity to endure prolonged physical exertion. 

Cardio workouts elevate your heart rate to foster efficient oxygen utilization for sustained activity during treks in the Himalayas. Concurrently, endurance training builds muscle stamina

Together, these training methods optimize oxygen intake and usage, fortify muscle groups for trek-specific demands, and foster mental fortitude. They include exercises that slowly make you go harder and longer, making you more capable of sustained effort and less tired over time.

What to do?


  • Running


To start running, equip yourself with proper shoes and ease into a slow and steady pace. When running, maintain an upright posture with your head up, shoulders relaxed, and arms bent at a 90-degree angle.


  • Brisk walks


During brisk walking, maintain an upright posture with relaxed shoulders. Engage your core, swing your arms naturally, and take purposeful strides at a faster-than-usual pace.


  • Climbing stairs


When climbing stairs, maintain an upright posture with engaged core muscles, relax your shoulders, and swing your arms naturally as you ascend. Take purposeful steps, landing your feet squarely on each stair, and use the handrail if needed for stability.

How often? 

3-4 times each week.

How difficult

Keep it moderately intense.

How long?




5-10 mins

Brisk walks

10 mins

Climbing stairs

10-20 mins


2. Strength Training

While cardiovascular and endurance training enhances overall stamina and oxygen intake, Strength training specifically targets muscle groups essential for trekking It includes exercises for the legs, core, and upper body.

This approach ensures your body is adequately equipped to endure long treks, handle uneven landscapes, and manage added weight from backpacks. This significantly mitigates the chances of strains or injuries.

What to do?


  • Squats


Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, lower your hips as if sitting back into an imaginary chair, and then rise back up. Start with your body weight and gradually add resistance for more difficulty.


  • Lunges


Step forward with one leg, lower your body until both knees are bent, then return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.


  • Planks


Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels on the floor (use of mat recommended). Support your body weight on the forearms with elbows bent at 90 degrees. Hold the position for a certain duration.


  • Push-ups


From a plank position, lower your body by bending your elbows, then push back up. Adjust as needed based on your fitness level.

How often?

2-3 times a week.

How difficult?

Moderate to high.

How long?




2 sets (15 Squats per set)


2 sets (10 lunges for each leg per set)


30-60 secs


2 sets (20 push-ups per set)

3. Altitude and Breathing Exercise

Altitude means how high you are above sea level. When you go up in altitude, the air pressure decreases, and there's less oxygen in the air causing altitude sickness. Being at high altitudes can be tough because of the lower oxygen levels.

So, you need Breathing exercises (also called respiratory exercises) to improve how much air your lungs can take in. These exercises help boost oxygen intake and intentionally manage your breath in high altitudes.

What to do?


  • Diaphragmatic Breathing


Find a comfortable spot to sit or lie down. Inhale deeply through your nose, letting your belly rise as your diaphragm expands. Exhale slowly through pursed lips. Concentrate on slow, deep breaths, engaging your diaphragm instead of shallow chest breathing.


  • Box Breathing


Find a comfortable position and begin by inhaling deeply through the nose for a count of four, holding that breath for another count of four, exhaling slowly through the mouth for a count of four, and then pausing again for a count of four before starting the cycle anew. 


  • Altitude Simulation Breathing


This involves replicating high-altitude conditions and performing breathing exercises to prepare the body for reduced oxygen levels experienced in mountainous regions. Use an altitude training mask to limit airflow. Seek guidance from healthcare professionals to ensure safety.

How often? 

3-5 times a week.

How difficult?

Moderate to High.

How long?



Diaphragmatic Breathing

5-10 minutes per session

Controlled Breathing

5-10 minutes daily

Altitude Simulation Breathing

5-10 minutes per session

4. Balance and Stability Exercises

Balance and stability exercises are movements meant to make you better at staying steady. They challenge your ability to stay in control and improve leg-hand coordination.

They help in strengthening the muscles that support your joints, especially in the core, hips, and shoulders.

What to do?


  • Pilates


In Pilates, the neutral spine position involves lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat, engaging the core for a gentle tilt of the pelvis, and keeping shoulders relaxed with the head aligned.


  • Single-Leg Stance


In the single-leg stance, stand tall, engage your core, and lift one leg off the ground, maintaining balance through the supporting leg. Keep the lifted leg slightly bent or extended, focusing on stability and alignment while avoiding leaning to one side. 


  • Banded Squats


Place a resistance band around both thighs, just above the knees. Perform Banded Squats by stretching or pulling the band keeping knees aligned with toes and maintaining tension on the band throughout the movement. 


  • Heel-to-Toe Walk


Walk by placing one foot's heel directly in front of the toes of the other foot with each step. Maintain balance and take steps forward, placing the heel of the front foot directly against the toes of the rear foot with each step.

How often?

2-3 times per week.

How difficult?

Low to Moderate.

How long?




5-10 minutes

Single-Leg Stance

30-60 seconds each leg

Banded Squats

2 sets (10 Squats per set)

Heel-to-Toe walk

5-10 minutes

5. Mental Resilience

Mental resilience is intricately linked to physical fitness. While physical fitness primarily pertains to the body's capacity for endurance and strength, mental fitness plays a pivotal role in achieving and maintaining optimal physical fitness levels via yoga.

It is the bedrock of successful trekking adventures. It's the ability to navigate uncertain terrains, endure physical strain, and maintain composure amidst varying conditions encountered on treks.

It's about staying focused on the present, acknowledging discomfort but not letting it overpower determination. This allows trekkers to pivot strategies, find solutions, and persist even when faced with obstacles.

What to do?


  • Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)


Start on your hands and knees, then lift your hips toward the ceiling, forming an inverted V-shape. Keep hands shoulder-width apart, feet hip-width apart, and heels reaching toward the ground. Hold for several breaths, stretching calves, hamstrings, and shoulders.


  • Warrior Poses (Virabhadrasana I)


Step one foot forward into a lunge, bending the front knee at a 90-degree angle, and extending arms overhead.


  • Chair Pose (Utkatasana)


Stand tall, bend your knees, and lower your hips as if sitting in an imaginary chair while reaching your arms overhead. Keep weight in heels, engage the core, and lengthen the spine.


  • Meditation


Find a quiet spot, sit comfortably with an upright spine and relaxed hands on knees or thighs, eyes closed or softly gazing ahead. Focus on your breathing.

How often?

5 times a week

How difficult?

Low to moderate.

How long?




Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

5-10 minutes

Warrior Poses (Virabhadrasana I)

5-10 minutes

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

5-10 minutes


15-30 minutes per session.


As we wrap up this guide, it's crucial to emphasize the human aspect of physical fitness for trekking. Think of your body as a companion on your trekking journeys—it needs preparation and care to navigate the rugged terrains and stunning landscapes safely. 

Through dedicated exercises, you're essentially equipping this companion for the adventures ahead. Prioritizing your body's readiness not only enhances your endurance but also ensures you can fully absorb the wonders of nature without the hindrance of injuries. 

So, treat your body like a cherished partner in your trekking escapades, and investing in its fitness will undoubtedly enrich every step of your journey.

If you want any assistance in choosing trekking destinations, you can call/Viber/WhatsApp us at +977-9840055491 or email [email protected] for any inquiries you may have. 

Paul Gurung

Paul has an extensive experience in the tourism industry. Through his blogs, he shares his deep knowledge about the stunning trek regions in Nepal, inspiring trekkers worldwide to explore these regions and enrich their lives. In addition to geography, his writings delve into the human side of the trek regions, including culture, traditions, religions, and etiquette, offering a comprehensive and enriching perspective on the Himalayan trekking and expedition experience.