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Getting Physical for Philmont

The treks at Philmont require you to be in top physical shape. The combination of a 10-day backpacking trip with each day ranging from 8-15 miles carrying a 35-40 lb. pack at high altitudes make this a demanding trip. Any scout, young or old, is capable of doing and enjoying a Philmont trek if he trains for it. Below are some training recommendations.

To enjoy the Philmont experience, participants must be physically prepared to carry a 35-50 pound pack over steep, rocky trails at elevations ranging from 6,500 feet to 12,500 feet. A regular program of physical conditioning for at least three to six months prior to taking a trek is essential.

A longer period is required for those who are unaccustomed to physical exercise. The first step is to get a physical examination from your physician. Use the forms provided by Philmont that will be mailed in December. Complete the health history on page 3 and schedule a physical exam.

Staff physicians at Philmont reserve the right to deny access to the trails to any adult or youth on the basis of the physical recheck at Philmont. All medical evaluation forms will be checked by Philmont medical staff. Areas of concern include, but are not limited to: heart disease, seizure disorder, sickle cell anemia and hemophilia. Blood pressure without medication must be less than 150/95 for any participant to be permitted to hike on Philmont. Adults or youth participants who are more than 25 pounds overweight should begin a program of exercise and dieting at least six month prior to a Philmont trek. If there are any doubts after the individual has had a physical examination, contact Philmont.

A program or regular aerobic exercise is highly recommended to become physically conditioned for Philmont. Plan to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week. Jogging, running uphill or long flights of stairs and hiking with a full pack are excellent preparation. How fast you run or how far you go is not nearly important as regular exercise. Other aerobic exercise such as swimming, bicycling, stationery cycling and aerobic exercise classes can supplement your training. Start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise. Start a journal to record your progress. If anyone has questions, contact the family physician.

Backpacking is the best way to prepare for a Philmont trek. It is highly recommended that everyone in a Philmont crew fulfill the requirements for Backpacking Merit Badge. These include three 15 mile treks with two overnights each and one 5 day backpacking trek covering at least 30 miles. Fulfilling these requirements will enable you to enjoy a Philmont trek. Be prepared!

Select a hilly area for your training. Start with a short hike and a light pack. Increase the mileage and your pack weight as your training progresses. It is important to hike often enough while carrying a pack and wearing the boots which you will use at Philmont to toughen your feet and to break in your boots.

Ninety percent of the crews that participated in 2001 indicated on their evaluation forms that additional physical training by all members of their crew would have been helpful.

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Robert Brese,
Sep 26, 2013, 6:39 PM
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Robert Brese,
Sep 26, 2013, 6:39 PM
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