It is difficult to ascertain how hard it is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro because everyone has different expectations as to what they feel is strenuous exercise! If you are physically fit and healthy you should be able to manage it without problems, however, sometimes even the most physically accomplished athletes struggle when there is a change of altitude.
It is best to prepare yourself with suitable fitness training to allow you to get into good shape for hiking. You should be in good physical, healthy shape because it will help you to cope with daily hiking, walking and climbing.
It’s wise to strengthen your legs with the right type of exercise. It’s also a very good idea to take up some form of aerobic fitness that enables your body to work efficiently when there is less oxygen available.
Additionally, keeping a positive mental attitude is very important because the days are long and there will be times when you feel very tired.
What is the Best Exercise to Get Ready to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
We would suggest you definitely take up hiking because it is the most similar form of exercise to the real thing! Climb hills or mountains that are accessible to your local area. Try some day hikes or if you just don’t have access to real hills and mountains, use the step machine as much as possible at your gym. You should also walk as much as possible and keep extending out the time of your walks until you can comfortably walk for a few hours. Make sure to incorporate steep walks as well, because there will be many steep climbs on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Training Program for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Follow our training for Kilimanjaro steps below:
Start training at least two months before leaving for Mount Kilimanjaro
Start with slow pace, short interval hikes (no need to carry weight at this stage)
Gradually increase your hike time and quicken your pace as your fitness level increases, you can start to introduce backpack weight too, but do it slowly
Ultimately, you should be able to hike relatively comfortably carrying 20lb in your backpack
Try to train at least three or four times a week for a minimum of one hour
If you can go on some day hikes, you should be able to cope with approximately 5 hours of hiking to include hill climbing while carrying your backpack
If you can’t get to a hilly area, you should be able to cope with walking on a step machine or similar for approximately one and a half hours carrying a 20lb backpack before departing on your trip to Tanzania
Toward the end of your training, you should start to slow down during the last few days before embarking on your trip. This allows your body time to recuperate before the climb
It’s a good idea to add in running, cycling or similar and combine these aerobic activities with your walking and hiking. This helps to increase your lung capacity
Remember, when training you should wear the same hiking boots as the ones you plan to wear on your climb. This helps you to get used to them and breaks them in.
Eat well, stock up on fruit and vegetables, try not to eat too much red meat or fat
Don’t drink or smoke and sleep well too!
If you follow all of the above, you will be ready to take on the Mount Kilimanjaro challenge
Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes
There are different routes to choose from as follows: