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How to prepare for an adventure holiday?

Jan 31st, 2010 17:12
forum net tr, trek pugt, Adam John, chat alarab, Chris Zate, i can do it, Harish Kohli, chat


�Work hard, enjoy hard� is the common dictum amongst the 
adventurers. 
It is indeed a follow-up of what they say in the army, �the more you 
sweat in peace the less you bleed in war�. The truth is that there's 
no alternative to training, be it army, sports or adventure.
Different activities and sports make specific demands on your body, so 
it pays to know which muscles you are going to need and how to make 
them stronger long before you leave home. Adventure holidays don't 
come cheap, and you won't get the most out of your trip if you spend 
half of it suffering from aching thighs or sore shoulders. 
TREKKING
The best preparation is to head for the hills. Go for long weekend 
walks in Snowdonia, the Lakes or the Scottish Highlands. Gradually 
increase your pace and take routes that require rambling. Initially, 
you may feel comfortable to start from a B&B but follow this up with a 
camping routine. Remember, getting ready from within a tent does 
require more effort.
In the Himalayas, trekking is often at varied gradient, sometimes over 
moraine and at times over high altitude. And the pattern of the day 
will be different, too. You will be up at dawn and on your way before 
Sun. 
Most adventure travel companies have their treks graded from mild, 
that involves about four to six hours' walking a day, through moderate 
with the occasional steep path to expedition grade. Different tour 
companies use different terms, so read the small print to know what 
you are letting yourself in for.
Contacts
Ramblers Association organises regular walks all over the country. 
They also produce a useful handbook and accommodation guide for the 
UK. 
Contact 
Essential gear
Comfortable walking boots that you have worn already. I recommend 
leather over the fabric-panelled, which, in my experience, don't stay 
waterproof once the boot is worn in. 
Sun glasses or shades to protect the eyes. 
Clothing in three layers � thermals, a fleece and a breathable 
waterproof jacket and trousers. 
Mattress or Thermarest inflatable mattress and four-season, down-
filled sleeping bag with a full-length zip. 
CLIMBING
There are two types of mountain climbing: technical climbing with 
ropes over rocks, or climbing during trekking over snow and ice at 
high altitudes. For the Himalayas, you will need to prepare for the 
effects of high altitude. Most Himalayan climbers now prefer running 
to get their lungs intake more oxygen and stabilise their pulse beat 
below their normal rate. You will also need to prepare your upper 
body, so pull-ups are a good idea. Long distance walking with a 
rucksack will ready your muscles. 
Contacts
British Mountaineering Council for more information about local clubs. 
Check at sports centres with a climbing wall about tuition. Scotland 
and Wales are the best places in the UK to practise winter climbing. 
Essential gear
Most operators will send a list of gear provided by them and what you 
must take with you.
Walking boots that you have worn already. 
Clothing in three layers � full thermal layer, a good quality fleece 
and a gortex waterproof jacket and trousers. 
CANOEING
Canoeing can be of different types. It is important to consider the 
type of trip you are doing and in what vessel. Are you going on a long-
distance river trip or dealing with technical white water? And will 
you be in a kayak or a canoe? 
For a kayak, that requires sitting with legs forward in a closed-in 
boat with a double-ended paddle, you'll need flexible hamstrings to 
keep sitting comfortably.
For a canoe, where you�ll be kneeling in an open boat with a single-
ended paddle, you�ll need a strong lower back and stomach because you 
are twisting to paddle on either side of the boat.
Few gyms have machines to simulate paddling, but any aerobic-based 
exercise, such as rowing or running, is good for endurance.
Contacts
The British Canoeing Union for information about local canoeing clubs 
and courses in the UK. 
Essential gear
Sandals but not trainers, as you may have difficulty getting them into 
a kayak, particularly if you have large feet. 
Neoprene socks, if it is cold. 
A swimsuit or trunks or quick-dry shorts and a lightweight thermal 
top. 
Eye protection in the form of shades, a peaked cap or both - with a 
strap to stop them falling off. 
Insect repellent � water attracts insects.
DIVING
The first preparation is to take the "Experience Scuba" module of the 
British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) Ocean Diver course. Cost £20 and operates 
in swimming pools all over the country. BSAC also gives away free 
lessons during National Try Dive Week generally during September. 
During these sessions, which last for one or two hours, you'll learn 
the underwater signs, how to share air with your "buddy" and practise 
swimming in full gear. 
It's the lower body � abdominal and hip muscles, the quads and 
hamstrings � you need to work out, and don't forget to keep ankles 
flexible for more productive fin movements. 
Most adventurers are put off diving because they are not strong 
swimmers. BSAC says; you don't have to be a strong swimmer, it�s all 
about buoyancy.
Contacts
Call the British Sub-Aqua Club for details of local clubs and courses.
Essential gear
A wet suit 
A well-fitting mask is important. Do the suck test: you should be able 
to �hold� the mask to your face, without using the strap, by just 
breathing in through your nose. 
Wet-suit bootees with a rubber sole should be bought rather than 
hired. If you have very small or very big feet, buy your own fins, too.
HORSE RIDING
Horse riding is fun but if you haven�t been riding enough, you can 
stiffen your thigh muscles on the very first day of your riding 
holiday. It will help if you work those inner thighs before you go. A 
riding-holiday specialist, recommends "doing the splits". Stand with 
your legs as wide apart as is comfortable and hold the stretch for as 
long as possible to strengthen the thigh muscles, which bear the brunt 
of the effort on your horse. Exercises that strengthen the back will 
also be helpful. 
It's important that you are honest about the amount of riding 
experience you have so that organisers can match your mount to your 
abilities. In addition, I suggest that beginners should prefer a ranch-
based holiday that allows you to return to your comforts, such as 
baths and massage, every night.
Contacts
The British Horse Society for a list of approved riding schools and 
companies running UK riding holidays. 
Essential gear
Riding boots � for holidays you can take the short riding boots or 
the 
new riding trainers unless you have your classic long leather boots. 
Non-Specialists can take all-terrain boots, which are lightweight, 
compact and have some ankle support; but check that the sole is not so 
rugged that it might get caught in the stirrups. 
Trousers � Jodhpurs are still the trousers of choice or Jeans. 
Novices 
can wear jogging pants. 
Take your own riding gloves. Hard hats are provided by operators but 
take you own if you have one. 
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