For the brave heart, thoughts of lounging at a resort with a cocktail may hardly be appealing. Rather, they dream of going to faraway lands, climbing the foothills of the Himalayas, or going whitewater rafting through the Mara River. However, going on an adventure vacation cannot be done on a whim. It requires dedication and sometimes even months of planning.

It may be easy to forget that even though your heart is off exploring, your body is used to sitting behind a desk for seven hours a day in a climate-controlled environment. Planning a vacation that requires physical exertion in a hasty way can lead to serious health problems, fatigue, and falling behind from the group you have planned it with. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to end your trip abruptly and turn back halfway through. This is not just upsetting but can be very expensive.

Here are some ways you can avoid this from happening:

Start training for physical exertion

One of the best ways you can make the most out of your trip is to dedicate time and prepare for it physically. Hit the gym months before an adventurous hike. Practice both cardio and strength training, and try treadmill running at an incline. You can also practice by walking everywhere. It is a smart idea to buy a good pair of walking or trekking shoes and wear them everywhere. If you are going for a particularly intense trek, you can prepare by hiring a trainer to see whether your walking and running form is up to mark. This is also very important if you plan on going mountain biking or cycling for long distances.

woman out on a hiking adventure

Make sure that you adjust to the altitude

If you plan on going somewhere that has a high altitude, such as the Inca trail tour in Chile or Lhasa in Tibet, be prepared to give your body enough time to acclimatize. Altitude sickness can be debilitating and potentially life-threatening, especially if you are in a remote location. Plan your itinerary so that you spend at least a day or two in any one area before moving up. Take time to learn about the many symptoms of altitude sickness and how to prevent it. Most importantly, do not overexert yourself, and plan for less than you could see in a day on a normal trip.

Make sure that you have the right gear

Having the right gear is extremely important when it comes to outdoor adventures. Make sure you have proper hiking shoes that you have broken into, as well as a light, waterproof backpack that is large enough to hold all your equipment. Dress accordingly for the weather, and never underestimate the cold. Make sure that you take insect repellents and medical supplies.

Even the toughest terrain on the planet can be conquered if you prepare well. If you are in top shape, an adventure hike may be one of the most liberating and memorable things that you will ever end up doing.