The best preparation you can do prior to your trek is to walk. I recommend walking 3-4 times a week with a small pack increasing the weight as your fitness improves. Try and go bush walking in your local area, this will not only improve your fitness but also your skills on off-road tracks. You could even make it an overnight camping trip that incorporates hiking and camping and testing your equipment before you go.
Most people with a reasonable amount of fitness can achieve walking the Kokoda Track. Whilst it will be tough, it is achievable. The biggest mistake people make is building it up to be harder than it really is. Your mental fitness is what gets you through in the end.
If you need some inspiration just turn to any good history book and read about the Diggers who did it in the most outrages conditions imaginable, when you put this in perspective you have nothing much to worry about.
In most places around Australia you can always find outdoor PT classes either through your local gym or through personal trainers. Group classes are the way to go, not only are they cheaper than a personal trainer but you don’t have to pay for expensive gym fees. Classes normally run in a 4 week cycle and it might be a good idea to do this once or twice in the lead up to your trek.
Ways to Promote Fitness
Physical inactivity is only one of the risk factors in coronary heart disease. Heart-lung function will benefit by other measures as follows:
- Stop Smoking. Compared to non-smokers, heavy smokers run up to nine times the risk of a heart attack. If you cannot stop, try cutting down. If this does not work, remember that the last inch of tobacco does the most damage.
- Watch Your Diet. Exercise programs should not be negated by eating more. If you are overweight, reduce your calorie intake. The risk of heart disease will also be reduced if the level of fats in the blood are minimised.
- Monitor Blood Pressure. Blood pressure should be checked regularly. Learn to relax and counter tension.
- Changes in Life Style. Changes to daily habits will provide more constant exercise outside the physical program. Park a few blocks away from destinations and walk, or walk during the lunch hour or in the evening with the family.
Please see your GP prior to starting any exercise program.
Here is an example of a 3 day exercise program. Simply have a rest day in between each of the 3 days listed below. Keep rotating this program, at the end of each cycle increase the amount of activity for example turn your 30-40 minute walk in to 60-90 mins or do each exercise both morning and night.
We all live busy lives so if you find yourself missing one day do not despair just start the next day where you left off. The key to any good fitness program is to keep at it.
A 10 minute warm-up period should precede any physical activity, e.g. light jogging, slow skipping or bike riding, plus specific rotational and stretching exercises until a light sweat is raised (5-6 minutes).
30-40 minutes brisk walking incorporating some hills and stairs.
As you progress try walking with the boots you will be trekking in. When you go for your walk carry your pack with some weight in it. A good idea is to fill some bottles up with water (1L of water is equal to 1kg) if it gets to heavy you can just tip some of the water out.
Rest day, watch what you eat and keep hydrated.
Cycle for 30 mins try to achieve a distance of 10 km on straight road or 5km with moderate hills. If cycling is not for you then swimming may be more your style. Try and do 20 laps in an Olympic sized swimming pool, increase the number of laps as your fitness improves.
Rest day, watch what you eat and keep hydrated.
Measure out 2.4Km around your local block or oval and aim to be able to complete this distance in under 11 mins (Under 35) 14 Mins (35-40) 15 Mins (40-45) 20 mins + (45 & Over) See below for tips on Jogging.
If jogging is not for you then revert back to Day 1 and continue to walk, you might even try and get to the beach and walk with in the sand.
Jogging (running) is the simplest form of physical training and develops the lower limbs as well as aerobic capacity.
Attention should be given to the following:
- Footwear. Footwear should fit well, be comfortable and provide a good shock absorbent heel. Shoes which have the toe blocks and arch supports provide additional support and comfort.
- Surface. Use soft or grassed surfaces and avoid hard pavements.
- Route. Choose a circuit over level ground or an out-and-back course with a few hills. Degree of difficulty may increase as fitness improves.
- Stretching. All physical activity should begin and end with light stretching exercises. Muscles respond to gradual stretching which should be done without jerking.
- Warm-up/Cool-down. Each training session should include 10 minutes of warming-up and cooling-down exercises.
- Injuries. Joints and muscles will indicate the level of activity completed by the degree of soreness apparent. Do not push yourself too soon or expect too much. Seek medical advice for persistent aches and pains.