“Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are”, prophesied ‘Cassyus Clay’ the Great.
To turn this into reality, in context of mountains, isn’t as easy as it sounds. The underlying message is, “to be able to consider yourself fit, whichever age group you may belong to, you need to work on your fitness consistently.”
When you’re young, like I was a few years ago, your energy is sufficient to propel you across high mountain passes. The exuberance of youth powers the body through deep valleys and treacherous trails. But in the long term when your travel plans are determined by long weekends and availability of casual leaves, all these quotes ‘must’ inspire you to ‘work’ on your fitness. Because otherwise age catches up real fast. And when it does, there’s no looking back. [Stare silently at your beer belly and ponder]
Recently I cycled from Chandigarh to Haridwar and it dawned upon me that my back doesn’t perform the way it used to. I also realized that not anymore I can trek to Manimahesh from three different approaches within a month; that’s approximately 100 km on foot in 30 days.
I’m sure a lot of my readers and friends have a) completed a good number of revolutions around the sun b) feel that age is catching up fast on them.
Here’s what you can do to feel better. You may do without them but statistics suggest that the mountains
demand deserve the best of you and not your lethargic or worn-out self. I tried to trick the mountains last year and ended up drenched in three gallons of sweat and insufferable back pain caused by a) copious amounts of alcohol in my blood b) my slothy ass behavior over a period of previous six months. Almost similar conditions prevailed on Kailash Kund Trek but unfortunately the ordeal didn’t last long because of the short trek distance.
You can’t really complain actually. Life does that to you. Silly job, stupid boss, lack of motivation; there can be ‘n’ number of reasons. But here’s what you can do. Work hard indoors to perform better outdoors. I am no expert but here are exercises recommended by experts that can make you fit for your next expedition, if not bring you back in shape.
Plank Exercises: Don’t need any external support to do them. Core strengthening is the prime objective here. Our back and abdomen muscles remain unused owing to our lifestyle and that’s what hurts you up in the mountains.
Push Ups: Want to be a true alpinist? Work hard on your shoulders and lower back. Push-Ups are ‘sasta-majbut-tikau’ and effective. Very helpful if you’re wandering in remote land Chamba without any guide or porter.
You can buy a push-up bar stand to improvise. (Buy from Decathlon)
30 Day Challenge: Considering the abrupt yet expected changes in weather, snow on the higher reaches isn’t going to melt for another one month. That gives you 30 days to make yourself fit before 15th April. Here’s something interesting doing rounds on the Internet. You can pick as many exercises as you want; the more the merrier. I have chosen push-ups and plank exercises and I’m doing pretty well.
This is amazing! pic.twitter.com/E6ioUWwXgf
— Mojo (@Singhlicious) February 2, 2017
I started on January 8 and when I started I could barely complete one push-up. Now I can easily manage 30 in one go, 100 in one session (15 minutes), and 25 with 15-20 kg weight plate on my back.