The call of the mountains: orthopaedic Dr Yatin Desai's advice on trekking

In this piece 64 year old Dr Yatin Desai, shares with CY his inspiring story of how to scale towering mountains with utmost ease and how this life adventure activity can shape human character and health.

Chances are high that in the sweltering summer weather, you have a cool screensaver image of the Swiss mountains or the hilly trek you took in your teens. But if you were to follow the doctor’s orders, you would stop staring and start packing your fur-lined parka for a real adventure. No excuse of a busy schedule or age will do, for we at CY bring to you the true life story of Dr Yatin Desai, the 64 year young Orthopaedic surgeon who has walked 105 km on the frozen Zanskar River. This was on the arduous Chadar trek, where the temperature can sometime drop to a merciless minus 30 degrees Celsius.

frozen Zanskar River, 64 year old man walked 105 km on the frozen Zanskar River
Dr Desai at Everest base camp & Chadar trek. Image Credit : Dr Yatin Desai

Heading the Orthopaedic department of the Multi speciality Zydus hospital in Ahmedabad, Dr Desai is at the top of his career peak. However, having performed over 35000 surgeries in his life is not enough achievement for him, for he can hear the call of snow-capped peaks. Echoing the sentiments of the American naturalist, John Muir, Dr Desai feels that the mountains are calling and I must go!

At the age when people plan for a sedentary retirement, Dr Desai prepares himself for another adventure. In the past, Dr Yatin Desai, has also scaled the 16 days long Everest Base Camp to prove that he is fitter than most of us today.  He has managed to make the most of his health and age by trekking the most challenging terrains and ranking amongst the top orthopaedic doctors in Ahmedabad. Through CY, Dr Desai, who knows the human anatomy better than most of us, shares with us his inspiring story of how to scale towering mountains with utmost ease and how this life adventure activity can shape the human character and health.

Preparing for the trek

“While I was preparing for Everest Base Camp,” says Dr Desai while gazing at the awe-inspiring photograph of Lake Tekapo in his clinic, which he clicked with a semi-professional Nikon, “I use to climb 15 stories of Zydus Hospital steps 10 times a day to make myself fit for the trek. Only if you are not struggling with your body, you will be able to enjoy nature.” Dr Desai elaborated on his fitness regime, saying “I consume a more protein rich diet to make my muscles stronger and I still find time to work out every day even although I am working from 8 am to 6 pm.”

dr-yatin-desais-photography
Image Credit : Dr Yatin Desai

Besides the picture of Lake Tekapo, there are also three other frames of serene natural scenery that are hung on the clinic walls. These are but a tiny fragment of rich digital treasure of the 600-gigabyte picture collection of Dr Desai that he carries along with him every day.

Despite his busy schedule through the year Dr Desai has never restrained his wanderlust spirit and has so far visited more than 70 countries, including extreme Polar Regions like the Antarctic and Arctic. His life experiences are substantial proof on how you can keep your body healthy and even athletic and combine your career with your yearning for adventure.

an orthopaedic Dr Yatin Desai's advice on trekking
Image Credit : Dr Yatin Desai

During the trek

According to Dr Desai, “while ascending an inclined surface, you  should make sure to lean a little forward (10 to 15 degrees) to maintain your balance.” This helps the climber to maintain his equilibrium and create a stronger base, which won’t let him/her fall. Remember your school physics where you learnt that for stability the line from your centre of gravity should fall within your base? Increasing the base increases your stability which is why sailors at sea and basketball players stand with their feet apart.

While mentioning his eating habits during the trek he shared “one should eat more carbohydrates and less protein while on the trek. The carbs are converted into calories faster as compared to any other types of foods, thus giving quick energy replenishment to the body.” While we talked about how one should relax while on the trek, he said firmly,

“While you are walking, do not forget to breathe deeply every 15 minutes to fill up your lungs with fresh oxygen.” He added further and explained the importance of good sleep

“Sleep is the best muscle relaxant.”

Besides his duties as the Head of the Orthopaedic department and a surgeon, as an academician, he has trained hundreds of young doctors. Earlier he was leading the orthopaedic department at VS Hospital, Ahmedabad. His vast experience has made him understand how one can train the body for the extreme conditions while understanding its nutritional and physical requirements. He has often shared his experience with audiences through his presentations on trekking and hiking at various platforms.

Amdavadi Mountains Lover
Dr Desai scaling glaciers in Iceland. Image Credit : Dr Yatin Desai

 

“It is usually your knees that suffer the most because of your love for the mountains,” says Dr. Desai. He suggests wearing a knee cap to take care of the knees from day one i.e.  while preparing for the hike, during the hike and for a while even after return from the trek.

How does he feel about getting back to his busy schedule in the hospital after spending days and nights in the lap of nature, we asked him.  He said both are equally necessary for balanced living. However, after the trek is over, the imagery from his mountain adventures inspires him to pen poetry. Yes, the orthopaedic doctor has written more than 200 odd poems in Gujarati that lyrically narrate his life experiences and he plans to publish the best of them as an anthology paired with his stunning collection of photographs.

Dr Yatin Desai is planning his next adventure in Finnish Lapland. How about you?  Take a leaf from his book and book yourself an adventurous and therapeutic trek to the Himalayas. Because humans are not just meant to sit in a cubicle and stare at the computer screen with the wallpaper of the snow-capped mountains. They are made to conquer those towering summits!

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In this piece 64 year old Dr Yatin Desai, shares with CY his inspiring story of how to scale towering mountains with utmost ease and how this life adventure activity can shape human character and health. Chances are high that…