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Pre-climb training: how to prepare

The chances are that you will be planning your Kilimanjaro climb many months before you arrive in Tanzania. Of course, our expert team here at Easy Travel will be very happy to help you plan your adventure. But when it comes to physical preparation, you are the one who will take responsibility to be in good shape. ‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.’ Here are some things to consider:

Strength, Stamina and Aerobic Preparation

Remember the challenge: your climb will involve between 5 and 8 days of trekking, with up to 8 hours of actual walking each day – even more on summit day. You will be climbing for much of this and reaching an altitude of close to 6,000 metres. That’s the challenge, now prepare for it. If you are not used to regular physical exercise, make sure you consult your physician before you start your preparation. And, don’t overexert yourself at the start of your training. Choose instead to increase your physical workload over your weeks and months of preparation time.

Strength is key, particularly important in the legs. If you are already a gym member, then you will be familiar with all the equipment which helps build strength in the lower body. If you are not a gym member, then there are several exercises that can be undertaken at home that will be almost as good. Lunges and calf raises are especially useful. As well as strengthening your legs, it is also sensible to strengthen your core. True, your daypack will be light, but core strength is crucial to a comfortable climb. While planning your physical preparation, focus also on stamina. You may be able to walk for several hours, but can you do this day after day, as you will have to on Kilimanjaro? Make sure that your preparation includes sustained physical exercise on consecutive days, helping to build stamina. Aerobic preparation can best be done through cycling, jogging or even vigorous walking. This preparation should begin a few months prior to your climb. About 30 minutes per day of any of these aerobic activities will help your body’s ability to consume oxygen. This should be a minimum, remembering that the more you do, the better prepared you will be. Aim to exercise at about 70% of your maximum heart rate.