Before setting out on a long bike tour to Leh Ladakh, which is notorious for difficult terrain, it is important that you carefully evaluate your own physical condition. Whilst you can prepare your bike or your luggage in a matter of days, ensuring that you are in peak physical condition is not something that can just happen overnight. It will take time for you to build up your strength and stamina to ensure that you enjoy the tour as much as possible.
The most common problems faced in the leh ladakh trip by bike region include loss of appetite, difficulty digesting food, nausea, acute mountain sickness (AMS), fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, shortness of breath upon exertion, nose bleeds and drowsiness. Any one of these issues can make it difficult to proceed. Physicians want to stress that the only way these problems can be tackled is to increase your strength, stamina and lung capacity before embarking on the tour.
There are a number of things you can do to adequately increase your stamina, strength and lung capacity, including:
- Aerobic Exercises – It is highly recommended that you take up cycling, swimming or even soccer in the months prior to your tour. This will help you to increase your breathing stamina.
- Blowing Balloons – This is an easy task that you can literally do anywhere. The act of blowing balloons will help to increase your lung capacity with enough oxygen to meet your body’s needs.
- Exercises – It is also recommended that you increase your anaerobic capacity through breath holding exercises. You need to let your body get used to being under oxygen deprivation for a period of time.
- Mouth/Nasal Breathing – If you suffer from nasal problems (such as sinusitis or congestion), you should practice breathing through your mouth. This will help you to move air rapidly.
- Rhythmic Breathing – When cycling, try to get your breathing in sync with your pedaling. We recommend a ratio of 1:1, but a ratio of 1:2 is also okay if you are finding this a little difficult.
Even with the most stringent physical preparation, there is still every chance that you will feel unwell when experiencing high altitudes for long periods at a time. Whilst there are some medications that you can take to help maintain altitude sickness, it is important to note that they may cause some side effects (such as drowsiness and itchy skin rashes). If you must take medication, ensure that you only do so under a physician’s guidance.
At the end of the day, the only way to ensure that you will survive Leh Ladakh tours is to be fit and healthy. In the weeks and even months leading up to your departure, ensure that you are doing everything possible to increase your strength, stamina and lung capacity. Just ensure that you don’t overdo it, as the last thing you want is to be borderline exhausted or even sick when embarking on the tour of a lifetime. So, how are you planning to prepare?