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How to get fit

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When you travel, you want to enjoy the day to the fullest and make the most of it. What helps is to travel with a good basic fitness condition. It seems like an open door, but it is not! Travelling is intensive. First of all because of the jet lag you sometimes get. In addition, you receive many new impressions of a completely different culture, you are often far above sea level and you eat and drink differently than you are used to at home. That’s why it helps a great deal to start your adventure in good shape. Then you can process everything better and it can really be enjoyable.

When we started out on a big trip in 2017, we wanted to do the Salkantay trail in Peru. There, you walk a total of over 90 kilometres in five days at altitudes up to 4,600 metres. That is pretty strenuous! In preparation for this we did the following:

  • Before our trip even started we walked an average of 25 kilometres a day during the weekends. In this way, we got our muscles used to covering long walking distances and we automatically built up a good fitness condition.
  • Due to a cardiac dysrhythmia that sometimes occurs to me, I did an exercise test beforehand with a specialised doctor to check my fitness condition level and determine what I had to take into account during the (walking) trip. It was also possible to indicate slightly better how big the risks were from strenuous activity at high altitude.
  • I had a good consultation with my GP about the medication I was using at the time. The doctor also gave me prescriptions for a long stay, so I would not have to go without medication during the trip.
  • In the months leading up to our departure, we were as active as possible by cycling and walking a lot. That’s how we started our big trip in a very healthy, fit condition. And the Salkantay trail went perfectly!

As for medicine use and the long journey ahead, a consultation with the family doctor is certainly to be recommended. The doctor must officially state on the prescription that because of a long trip more medicines than normal may be ordered from the pharmacy.

If you know you are going to walk a lot during your trip and you want to avoid blisters, there is another way to reduce the risk: buy a bottle of camphor spirit at the chemist’s or pharmacy and lubricate your feet every day for a month.
This will strengthen the skin on the soles of your feet and considerably reduce the risk of blisters.