Thursday, September 20, 2012

Your Questions About Training For Kilimanjaro Answered

By Casandra Newton

It isn't very technically demanding to climb Kilimanjaro, since it's hiking more than climbing. However, you shouldn't estimate the difficulty of this endeavor. About fifteen thousand people try to make it to the top every year, but only about forty per cent actually make it all the way. To be one of these people, you need to prepare by training for Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro, also called Kili, is Africa's highest mountain. It's highest point is 19 341 feet above sea level and is known as Uhuru Peak. Reaching Uhuru is the object, but the high altitude can make it very taxing.

You can reduce the risk of getting altitude sickness by working on cardiovascular fitness along with your strength and endurance training. Walking is the best way to do this. Not only is this what you will actually be doing on Kili, but it is one of the best all-round exercises. It helps your body to cope with less oxygen and also strengthens your leg muscles.

Begin exercising at least two months before your departure. Of course, if you can begin earlier than this, it's so much better. Your body then gets the chance to get used to what it will be like during the climb. Start off at an easy pace, then gradually make your walks longer and more difficult. Eventually you should be able to cover about ten miles of uphill and downhill walking and you should be able to do this for seven or eight days straight.

It is a good idea to walk in actual hilly or mountainous country as much as possible instead of doing it on a treadmill in the gym. This will help you to deal with those things, like uncomfortable weather conditions or loose, rocky paths, that you can't simulate in a gym's artificial environment. However, you can supplement this in the gym, especially with treadmill and Stairmaster exercises.

You need to remember that you will not be climbing Kili in your gym clothes. So, you need to wear the boots that you will be wearing for the climb. This will 'break in' your boots and reduce the chances of getting blisters when you least need them.

Also exercise with the day pack you'll be using on Kili. Start with an empty pack and then gradually fill it until you can train with about twenty pounds on your back. This is more or less what your day pack will way on the actual ascent. If you train with your day pack, your shoulders and hips will get used to the straps too and there will be less chafing.

Running, cycling or swimming are good exercises to supplement your cardiovascular training. About two weeks before you leave for Kili, though, you should start winding down your training regimen. From four days before the time you need to relax so that your body will be rested for the climb.

According to regulations you have to climb Kili with an organized trekking company. Most of these companies have information about training for Kilimanjaro and often they even have a full exercise plan. So, you just need to lace up those boots and get out there.

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