UJ Explorer

How to prepare for the Inca Trail?

Published 26 October 2018

Written by: Ximena Arrieta

Walking the Inca Trail is one of the most magical experiences in Peru. Going through this spectacular cobbled path of more than 500 years with so much history that surrounds it is, without a doubt, a memory that you will keep for the rest of your life. However, to really enjoy it, you have to be prepared.

And with prepared, we don’t refer only to carry the right luggage, the most comfortable boots and a good attitude. It is also important a previous physical training that allows you to resist the hours of walking - between six and eight daily -, the steps that you will find in the whole route and cope in the best way with the changes of height that you will face on the way.

There are two vital aspects to train, endurance and strength. How to achieve it? We give you some recommendations:

1. Get used to the exercise

If you don’t like physical activity but want to do the trek, go slowly. Exercising one hour every two days is taking the first step to a better physical condition and the best way to avoid injuries.

2. Elevate your pulse

Cardiovascular training will allow you to walk without problems long distances because your lungs will have the ability to face both the bustle and the height. Find an activity that you enjoy like swimming, riding a bicycle or running, which will keep your heart rate elevated for a long time.

3. Find your balance

The cobbled path and the rugged trail can be complicated on the route. That is why it is important to work out to maintain balance, and that is achieved by strengthening the middle area of the body. You can combine exercises such as plank or crunches, doing intervals of 20 seconds of work and 10 of rest for 4 or 5 minutes.

4. Do not forget the strength

The muscles of the legs are those that will end up more exhausted after eight hours of walking. It is best to start exercising with a routine of movements focused on those muscles such as air squats, front squats, back squats and lunges.

5. Take care of your diet

Without a good diet, your effort to get fit for the Inca Trail will have no results. Decrease the amount of sugar, carbs and processed food you eat and give priority to proteins that will help you recover after training and gain muscle mass.

6. Start walking

Once a week, it is ideal to make short treks outside the city. Start with simple routes and go increasing the intensity choosing paths with uneven and rocky terrains. It is ideal that you wear the same boots that you will take to the Inca Trail and that you get used to carrying the weight of the daypack in advance.