Physical Preparation for Your Climb
If you’ve decided you’re ready to commit to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro it’s now time to start physically training for the trek. The hike to the summit of the highest mountain in Africa isn’t easy, but you can maximize your chance at success, and make the entire experience far more enjoyable, if you are fit and prepared for the journey. Here are some ways you can do just that prior to your departure to Tanzania.
Typically, the biggest challenge that most trekkers face when climbing Kilimanjaro is the increasingly thin air that they encounter as they go further up the mountain. A strong cardiovascular system can help travelers use what limited oxygen is available at altitude in a more efficient way, making it not only easier to breathe, but recover from exertion too.
In order to increase your cardio capacity you’ll want to start taking part in aerobic exercise activities. This includes things like brisk walks, jogging, running, swimming, and cycling. These types of exercises will work your heart and lungs, increasing their overall strength and efficiency.
If you are already fit, then you may not need to change your routine at all, just keep working out and maintain a good exercise routine. However, if you feel you need to increase your cardio efficiency prior to embarking on your trek, then start a new exercise routine 3 to 6 months prior to your trip. That should give you enough time to get ready for the challenges you’ll face on the mountain.
Whether you prefer to walk, run, swim, or ride your bike, you should have no problem finding a variety of fitness routines online that can provide a proper training schedule to help you get ready for your trip. Just remember to start slow and build-up your speed and intensity over time.
In addition to improving the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, embarking on a strength training program can help make your Kilimanjaro climb a more enjoyable experience too. Increasing the strength of your core through a workout routine that includes push-ups, sit-ups, and light weight training will prove highly beneficial when trekking the mountain. Not only does it make carrying a daypack easier, it will help reduce the stress and strain that comes from walking for extended periods of time each day on the mountain.
Use your strength training program to supplement your cardio workouts. The goal isn’t to build lots of muscle, but strengthen the ones you already have. This will help you to move faster and more easily while on the trail and help you reach the summit too.
Take a Hike
While on Kilimanjaro you’ll be hiking for anywhere from 6 to 10 hours a day depending on the route and climbing schedule you choose. Those days can be long and difficult if you’re not use to trekking over rough terrain. In the weeks leading up to your trip, start taking some long hikes or even overnight camping trips. This is not only a good way for your body to acclimate to the hours of hiking you’ll be doing, but it is a good chance to test out some of your gear too.