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Training for Kilimanjaro: The Best Information and Preparation

Hikers going up a steep trail as training preparation to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Climbing Kilimanjaro is no joke. Roughly 30,000 people travel to Tanzania every year to scale the mountain. 50% of these climbers fail.

If you want to reach the summit, you have to start training for Kilimanjaro. The training process is long and hard, yet it is extremely rewarding, as long as you know how to train for Kilimanjaro.

When should you start training for the mountain? What should your training include? How can you improve your mind so you can overcome the stress?

Answer these questions and you can be in the best shape of your life. Here is your quick guide.

Prepare Months in Advance

Even if you are in good physical condition, you should prepare for climbing Kilimanjaro at least two months in advance. Climbing the mountain is very arduous and requires good stamina as well as high muscle strength.

Try to create an exercise routine that you can follow every week. You may want to exercise at least four times a day if Kilimanjaro is the first mountain you are climbing. If you’re familiar with mountaineering, you can stick to your normal routine, as long as you stay in shape.

Besides Kilimanjaro training, you should prepare for your trip to Tanzania in advance as well. You should make sure you have a valid passport and required vaccinations.

Adjust to Different Oxygen Levels

You do not need an oxygen tank in order to climb Kilimanjaro. However, the percentage of oxygen in the air drops dramatically as you climb upward. You need to take in deeper breaths, and you may become exhausted in less time than you would at sea level.

You should prepare to climb the mountain over a series of days. This lets your body gradually adjust to the oxygen levels and take fuller breaths.

While you are preparing to climb, you can visit high-altitude areas to see what the oxygen levels are like. You can go to a gym that has an altitude training program and learn about new ways of breathing.

Prioritize Aerobics

Aerobic exercise increases your heart and breathing rates. It helps your body make use of oxygen, and it promotes the strength of your heart and lungs.

You should try doing three to four sessions of aerobic exercise every week. The session should last for at least 40 minutes, but you can include wind-up and winddown exercises to ease you into and out of the workout.

You can do any aerobic exercise you want. To simulate the process of climbing the mountain, you can climb stairs and run up hills. You can also try cycling, dancing, and speedwalking.

Try Strength Training

Strength training improves your muscles, letting you lift weights and hold poses for long periods of time. You can prioritize your legs, but strengthening muscles throughout your body will improve your overall health.

You can design a leg workout using a combination of exercises. If you don’t own weights at home, you can try walking lunges and glute bridges. If you own barbells, you can perform deadlifts and back squats.

To add strength to your core, you can do abdominal crunches and bridges. You can then try arm exercises by performing bicep curls and shoulder presses. Use weights that are a little heavier than you are comfortable lifting so you can challenge yourself.

Do not do strength training and cardio on the same day. You risk pulling a muscle and putting too much stress on your body. You can do strength training on multiple parts of your body, but take breaks in between each exercise you do.

Go Hiking

Hiking may be the best exercise for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. It promotes cardiovascular health and improves the strength in your leg muscles, especially if you hike up hills. It also exposes you to the elements and lets you learn about being in nature.

If you have spare time during your vacation, visit Mount Meru in Arusha National Park. The mountain is less than 50 miles from Kilimanjaro, and it is more than 14,000 feet tall. The terrain is very similar, letting you hone your hiking skills.

Pick a Route

There are a few Kilimanjaro routes you can take. The Lemosho Route takes eight days, letting you acclimate over time. 95% of hikers who hike the route make it to the top.

If you prefer a bit of a challenge, you can try the Machame route. You will climb over the Great Barranco Wall, which is more uphill than the rest of the mountain.

Pick a route that appeals to you and then try simulating it during your training. To mimic the Great Barranco Wall, you can climb up a steep staircase or ladder.

Improve Your Mental Endurance

Even with great physical training, you may feel the temptation to turn around on the mountain. You need to develop a strong mental attitude that lets you tackle the stress you are feeling.

Consider learning about meditation or deep breathing while you are at home. Think about a motivating chant you can tell yourself as you head up. “I can do this” and “this is nothing” are two popular ones.

Start Training for Kilimanjaro

Training for Kilimanjaro requires a few distinct steps. You need to start training right now, giving yourself two months to get in shape.

Try training in high-altitude areas so you get used to different oxygen levels. Do aerobics and strength training, mixing up your activities so you improve all parts of your body. Hiking should be your main exercise.

Adapt your exercises to the route you will take for maximum effectiveness. Improve your mental health with meditation and motivating chants.

You’re not alone on Kilimanjaro. Roam Wild Adventure leads premium Kilimanjaro tours. Contact us today.

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