10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking Mount Kilimanjaro

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    Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t an easy feat—it requires months of training, where you will need to do a lot of physical training to succeed. So, this activity wouldn’t be a walk-in-a-park type of thing and Easy Travel is here to guide you with all of that!

    A boost in your fitness level will ensure a successful summit up Mount Kilimanjaro, so we made sure to research and find incredible ways to boost your stamina. So, without further ado, here are the 10 ways to boost your fitness level for your Kilimanjaro adventure.

    1. Get the right training

    Hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Getting the right training is one of the keys to unlocking your summit success. You’ll need to boost your endurance – something that’s much needed for your Kilimanjaro climb.

    The right type of training involves doing low-intensity exercises for months. This isn’t the type of training you can do on a whim, but a more precise and planned type that will help your body adjusts to the different mountain conditions and elevations.

    To do this, you can work on building up hiking hours, aiming for 3 hours to 8 hours every week. Doing regular hikes at increasing hours will aid in developing the muscles you’ll need when you arrive at Kilimanjaro’s base.

    Remember not to do this on a flat surface but instead go for a hike on a mountain nearby or train along with others who aspire to climb the highest mountain in Africa.

    You can ask a local tour operator if they offer Kilimanjaro climb training preparation. This way, you’ll get the much-needed training and in turn score higher chances of reaching Kilimanjaro’s summit.

    However, if you choose to train on your own, make sure to elevate to at least 200 metres – or 1,640 feet. Then, go up to 1,000 metres – or 3,280 feet – for ascents and descents. This way, you are training your body to acclimatize to higher elevations where the oxygen levels are low.

    Note: It’s recommended to do day hikes for long hours at a comfortable pace to get used to being on your feet. This will also help you acclimatise.

    2. Lose weight in a healthy way

    Tanzania - lose weight in healthy way - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Losing weight is another essential factor to add to your training for your Kilimanjaro hike. However, we recommend doing this in a healthy way.

    This means eating healthy foods, doing regular exercises and getting enough sleep. Avoid starving yourself just to lose weight, as that will only deteriorate your body and lessen your chances of a summit success.

    Shedding extra fat and maintaining a healthy body weight will give you an edge as it’ll provide better speed and greater agility. In addition, you’ll experience better performance due to the lower energy cost needed by your body.

    3. Choose lighter shoes to wear on your Kilimanjaro hike

    Tanzania - choose lighter shooes to wear - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Choosing the right shoes for your Kilimanjaro climb will significantly do you good. It’ll make your trek more comfortable and allow you to move much easier.

    It’s been stated that wearing a pound on your feet will equate to five pounds on your back. This is part of the ‘5 thumb rules for hiking’ that has been proven and tested by the military.

    So, to save your much-needed energy and make your trek as comfortable as possible, choose a lighter pair of shoes to wear. This way, you’ll have a much higher chance of successfully reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro.

    4. Minimise the gear you bring for the hike on mount Kilimanjaro

    Hilking mount kilimanjaro

    When hiking, carrying less is more efficient. However, most new hikers make the mistake of bringing too much gear for their climb.

    This will not only limit your moves but will also take time to find the gear you need the most. So, it’s advisable to plan ahead and bring only the most necessary gear that you’ll need.

    Our porters will also help you carry your gear to each camp, so you’ll only need to carry your snacks, extra clothing, water and accessories.

    5. Bring trekking poles for your mount Kilimanjaro climb

    Tanzania - bring trekking poles - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Trekking poles help hikers attain a balanced walk, especially on rough trails and off great knee support during your every ascent and descent. As you might already know, walking for long hours can be strenuous on your lower body.

    However, with the help of trekking poles, you can transfer some of the weight into your arms which can make a huge difference, especially if you’re treading steep terrain.

    6. Move at a sustainable pace

    Tanzania - move at sustainable pace - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    To endure all trekking obstacles, moving at a sustainable pace will help you a lot. Begin with a slow warm-up, then walk at your usual pace.

    Avoid moving too quickly as it’ll drain your energy fast, requiring you to rest frequently which is why it’s best to move gradually, then settle on your usual pace to help you walk much longer.

    Pacing at a sustainable speed, you keep your heart rate in the aerobic zone, enabling you to hike for longer hours. This also allows improved oxygen transfer to your muscles and the increased production of energy.

    7. Eat the right kinds of foods

    Food on kilimanjaro

    Eating the right kinds of foods will help you boost your fitness level. This is very important as you’ll need to replace the calories you burn with food to keep you going.

    It’s ideal to consume more carbohydrates on your trek as it converts energy faster than fatty foods and protein. But, you don’t have to think too much about this part, as we serve our clients the right foods for their Kilimanjaro climb.

    We ensure our clients get the best experience on their Kilimanjaro trip—including the food they eat.

    8. Rehydrate frequently

    Tanzania - rehydrate frequently - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Rehydrating frequently is necessary, especially if you’re climbing the highest free-standing mountain in the world. As you already know, our body mass is composed of 70% water and is much-needed by our body to function well.

    Having the right amount of water in your body helps your muscles to function and lets your body recover more efficiently from strain during the trek. Furthermore, it’s also helpful to use electrolytes to ensure you keep your electrolytes balanced as you lose them while sweating

    9. Do aerobic exercises

    Tanzania - do aerobic exercise - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Climbing Kilimanjaro isn’t a walk in the park though it’s been deemed as the easiest summit to climb out of all the Seven Summits. Typically, it’ll require months of aerobic exercise training.

    Trail running is one of the best examples of aerobic exercises as it helps to improve your cardiovascular endurance and builds your strength.

    10. Keep a positive mindset

    Tanzania - keep positive mindset - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and is one of the Seven Summits of the world, so it’s likely that you’ll experience some setbacks and difficulties during your trek.

    It can also be challenging as the mountain has 5 distinct ecological climate zones. This means your body will experience different climates within a day.

    The climb gets particularly harder as you climb onto higher elevations—where mountain sickness is often encountered. It’s a given that it’ll be physically and mentally challenging, so keeping a positive mindset will help to overcome the desire to quit when things get hard.

    What training is required to climb Kilimanjaro?

    Tanzania - required training fro climbing mount kilimanjaro - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Kilimanjaro has an elevation of 19,341 feet, or 5,895 metres. This means you’ll encounter low oxygen levels on the higher elevations, risking mountain sickness (AMS).

    If you live in a flat-plain area, you’re at a disadvantage as you’ll have to train harder to acclimatise better to the various mountain conditions.

    So, what’s the required training for hiking Mount Kilimanjaro? There are several types of training required if you want to conquer Kilimanjaro, and they are:

    Aerobic training

    Tanzania - aerobic training - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Each aspiring climber needs to do regular aerobic training to prepare for their Kilimanjaro adventure. This involves cardiovascular exercise:

    • jogging
    • aerobic dance
    • running
    • cycling

    This is an effective training method for hiking Kilimanjaro since it increases your breathing capabilities. However, cardio isn’t the only exercise that you should concentrate on, but its importance shouldn’t be ignored either, as it helps you improve your physical condition.

    Strength training

    Tanzania - strength warm up in gym - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Strength training is equally important as aerobic training because your strength will be tested significantly during your Kilimanjaro climb. Thus, make sure to do some strength training to build the muscle needed for your climb—particularly on your legs.

    Ensure to set aside time for strength training alone that will help strengthen your legs, arms, chest and back. It’s very helpful to do diverse exercises to guarantee that you’ll have the needed strength on your entire body.

    Do stretches and warm-ups

    Tanzania - strength training - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    Before doing any training, make sure to warm up your muscles with light exercises to prevent muscle strains. You can do brisk walking for three to five minutes, then do some stretching after.

    Practice altitude climbing

    Tanzania - practice altitude climbing - 10 ways to boost your fitness for hiking mount kilimanjaro

    One of the best ways to ensure summit success is to practice altitude climbing. It would be fortunate if you’re located near high elevation routes.

    You can also book another mountain climb as preparation for your Kilimanjaro hike. Some hikers take Mount Meru, located in Arusha National Park before taking on the highest mountain in Africa—Mount Kilimanjaro.

    They take this as an opportunity to acclimatise and get used to higher elevations, where oxygen is scarce. Mount Meru has an elevation of 4,564 metres, making it a great steppingstone to the Kili climb.

    Is training required for Kilimanjaro?

    Training is required before taking on Mount Kilimanjaro.

    How fit should I be to climb Kilimanjaro

    Great news! You don’t have to be extremely fit to climb Kilimanjaro. All that’s required is that your body gets used to the elevation demands of the Kilimanjaro.

    You can do simple exercises, such as hiking, trail jogging and do some strength training.

    How long should I train for Kilimanjaro climb

    Most trekkers train for 2 to 3 months before officially hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. As stated, the training will include aerobic exercises and strength exercises to help you gain the trekking  physique needed to succeed in reaching the Kilimanjaro Summit.

    Getting you there

    Climbing Kilimanjaro is an ambitious goal, but it’s easier than you might think with the help of a professional tour company like Easy Travel. Our experienced guides will take care of all the logistics and make sure your trip is safe, comfortable, and fun.

    We offer a variety of routes and packages to suit any budget, and we can even customize a trip to fit your specific needs. So if you’re looking to climb Kilimanjaro, Easy Travel is the perfect choice!

    Musaddiq Gulamhussein - Owner - Easy Travel Tanzania

    About the author: Musaddiq

    Meet Musaddiq Gulamhussein, owner of Easy Travel Tanzania, a tour company creating life-changing safari experiences for over 35 years. Musaddiq has explored Tanzania, developing a deep understanding of the local cultures and traditions. Follow his journey and gain insights into the African Safari experience through Easy Travel's social media and blog.

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