Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is one of the most iconic and sought-after peak challenges in the world. Its snow-capped peak stands tall at 19,341 feet (5895 meters) and its base camp is usually reached between 6,000-10,000 feet (1,828-3,048 meters). As a result, climbers are presented with physical challenges that can’t be taken lightly. Are you up for the challenge? Then here we will discuss how much training you will need as climbers begin to tackle Kilimanjaro.
The amount of training which is required for a successful climb of Kilimanjaro varies greatly depending on individual fitness level and age. If you are young and relatively fit, you may be able to climb Kilimanjaro with minimal preparation and training. On the other hand, if you are an older adult with less physical condition, you will need to dedicate several weeks, if not months, in preparing and training beforehand.
One of the important components to consider before preparing a training plan is the amount of time. Ideally, climbers should have at least three months of preparation before attempting to climb the mountain. This time should be used to; build strength and endurance, become familiar with the gear they will be using, and adjust to the altitude before actually starting their ascent.
Physical activity should be part of anyone’s training plan for Kilimanjaro. You should aim to do at least two weeks of intensive physical training prior to the climb. Activities such as biking, running, swimming, and walking are all recommended. This should be complemented with strength training exercises such as squats, pull-ups, deadlifts, and bench presses. If you have access to a gym, using the stair-step machine is also a great way to help you get in shape for Kilimanjaro.
If you are aiming to climb Kilimanjaro, you should also consider the mental aspect of your training. Climbing over 19,000 feet (5,895 meters) is a huge challenge mentally. Clients should be prepared to be in uncomfortable situations and not have access to the comforts of home. Therefore, mental preparation is just as important as physical training. Some tactics recommended for this include; practicing visualization techniques, deep strategic breathing techniques, and learning how to cope with minor problems in a proper manner.
When it comes to food, you should try to incorporate high-energy and nutritious foods that are easy to digest such as; fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Also, it is essential to stay hydrated during the training. This will help to improve oxygen absorption efficiency and make the climb easier.
Dressing according to the weather conditions and investing in appropriate gear is also a major part of the training. The mountain is unpredictable and requires the right gear and clothing — outerwear, thermals, and insoles, etc.
Train at Altitude Beforehand
In order to prepare your body for the drastic altitude change, you should consider training at higher altitudes. Acclimatizing your body to the altitude is a key factor that will help you avoid altitude related sickness, such as; altitude sickness, which can occur when ascending suddenly to an altitude that is too high. If you are unable to train at higher altitudes, most guides recommend a slow ascend and giving yourself enough time to rest and recover in between hours of activity.
Build Physical Strength and Endurance
Physical strength and endurance are essential for a successful climb up Kilimanjaro. This can be trained through aerobic and anaerobic exercises as well as weightlifting. Start with basic bodyweight exercises and gradually increase the intensity with time. Adding small sprints and short bursts of hill running can help this. Swimming is also an excellent way to build muscle endurance and strengthen your core.
Cross-training and Stretching
Cross-training combines different types of exercises, such as yoga, running, cycling, etc., in order to keep your body challenged and prevent boredom. This will help in improving your overall climbing performance. Additionally, it is important to ensure that your muscles remain flexible and elastic. Pre-climb stretching and post-climb massage can help to reduce the risk of injury.
Nutrition and Hydration
Proper nutrition and hydration are essential for a successful climb of Kilimanjaro. To maintain energy and perform to your maximum potential, you should eat a healthy, balanced diet that contains all the necessary nutrients. Additionally, it is important to ensure that you are adequately hydrated before, during and after the climb, as dehydration at high altitudes can be very dangerous.