Machu Picchu is one of the most incredible destinations in the world, and it’s certainly something you need to experience for yourself to truly understand its beauty and wonder. One thing for sure, however, is that exploring the ruins is physically demanding. If you hope to climb to the top of Machu Picchu, take a journey down the Inca Trail, or spend significant time learning and sightseeing in the area (as you should), then you might want to improve your fitness before your journey. Here is a six-month guide to getting fit for your trip to Machu Picchu.
In the first month of preparation, you should focus on your aerobics. You’ll want to start slowly, or at whatever level you’re comfortable with, and gradually build up your stamina with more intense cardio workouts. For example, begin by taking a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes three or four times per week. In the second week, try to alternate between walking and jogging. In the third week, jog at least half of the time. In the fourth week, jog the majority of the time. In general, you want to be increasing your aerobic capabilities and begin getting fit.
In the second month, start adding a little strength/weight training into your workouts. Again, start slowly. For example, add push-ups or sit-ups to your stretching routine. Twice a week you could try doing reps with free weights to improve your arm and leg strength. Start with three sets of eight reps with a light weight, and gradually increase the weight or reps as you feel comfortable. Do not push yourself. Go slowly and steadily.
In the third month, really focus on your core. Add exercises to your routine that will work on strengthening your abs, chest, and lower and upper back. Continue regular cardio workouts, and continue strength training. A strong core is absolutely essential for good fitness.
In the fourth month, begin to vary your workouts and challenge yourself more. It’s a great time to start exercising through new sports and activities to increase your endurance and practice a broader range of movements. Continue building your muscle and core strength and stamina.
In the fifth month, you should begin more training that will help you in your climb. Twice per week, replace your normal workouts with hiking on trails. You want to challenge yourself to practice on uneven terrain and inclines. If you don’t have trails to hike, climb up and down the bleachers at your local high school.
In month six, you should be feeling really good. Just continue your workouts and strength training, and work on improving any areas you think are weaker. Your legs, for example, are more important than your arms, so perhaps shift your focus. Also, continue hiking, but now carry a lightweight backpack. Slowly increase the weight in small increments. Soon enough, you’ll be ready and raring to conquer Machu Picchu.