Indiahikes gives a lot of importance to the physical preparation for a trek, and we strongly recommend running as an excellent form of exercise for trek preparation. However, many of you would choose swimming or cycling over running. I must admit that swimming and cycling are very good forms of cardio, but building cardio is not enough for a trek because, on a trek, you are constantly dealing with uneven trails. Sometimes you will be facing steep slopes and tricky sections.
During a trek, you will pull yourself up using your thigh muscles, also have to jump boulders. So, all the uneven pattern puts a lot of pressure on your leg muscles, especially your ankles, knees, calf, feet, and thigh. Therefore, before going on a trek, you need to strengthen all these muscles; otherwise, you might have to go through pain, which can even result in injury.
Why running is our first preference?
Running helps to avoid all these problems because when you start running for about one to two months every day for 15 to 20 minutes or half an hour, all these muscles are strengthening, especially your ankles and knees. So, when you go on a trek, you won't feel much pressure on your muscles during ascents and descents.
What's the best alternative exercise?
The alternative exercise will be stair climbing, as it builds your cardio and strengthens your leg muscles. However, if you still prefer to cycle or swim, ensure that you add other forms of exercise which can improve your legs.
Other exercises you can do with swimming or cycling
2. Jumping Jacks
All these exercises build strength in your legs, so swimming and cycling combined with these exercises can replace running.