Medic and avid mountaineer offers tips on trekking

Representational Photo
Representational PhotoFile/GK

Ganderbal: “Trekking improves cardiovascular strength and cleanses the lungs, as trekking locations are mainly away from the hustle and bustle of the city and are without much pollution”, said Dr Feroz Khan a surgeon working with  health department Kashmir and an avid mountaineer.

The advice came  as walking up the mountains is seen to be offering  a host of benefits to both  body and mind. There is a huge  number of people going for trekking in Kashmir particularly after the COVID-19 situation eased.

Many want to experience a walk through snow clad mountains and flower valleys, or just a trek up the hill outside the city. While trekking mostly involves walking, it is nothing like a walk in the park — it requires stamina, lung power and strong legs. Experts say that preparing for a trek itself is full of benefits.

Dr Feroz recently completed the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek with his fellow trekkers.

"The cardio exercise done before and during the trek prevents lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol,” he said. While trekking can help keep bone diseases, like osteoporosis, and vitamin-D deficiency at bay, it is also good at helping quit addiction issues like smoking and alcohol, he said. Dr Feroz says that trekkers should take several precautions and avoid certain health hazards.

"We often see trekkers carrying with them soft drinks, snacks like chips and other junk food, however it is better to avoid such food stuff instead carry walnuts , intake of ORS water and fruits" Dr Feroz said.

He said maintaining energy and staying safe will help one make the most of your trek. “Eating frequent carbohydrate and protein-rich snacks is a good way to keep ones energy level up.”

He further said that trekkers should be  alert about running water streams or lakes that are used by animals which are hubs for bacterial growth and are often mixed with animal urine and “fecal matter, which can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, dysentery and typhoid,”

It is important to wear comfortable, sturdy and slightly-used shoes to prevent shoe bites and injuries. “Carry anti-inflammatory medication and small ice packs if you have joint pains and arthritis. Stretching will help reduce the risk of injury, muscle inflammation and flare-up of arthritis.”

De Feroz urged the trekkers to respect locals and “customs in the area you visit.”

Avoid unnecessary noise in the mountains. Always hike with a group. Never go off the trail. Wear long pants and long-sleeved clothes to reduce exposure to harmful UV rays and also protect yourself from thorns and insects.  Avoid using strong perfumes or deodorants that could attract insects.  Pick a place close to running water.  Dispose waste properly . Carry a trash bag to collect any litter.  Don’t use areas near a water source to urinate or defecate,” he said.

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