Adventures International

Get Fit For Your Trek !

Why Do I need to train?

get fit for kilimanjaroWell put simply, you will have a far better chance of completing your challenge, trek or summit. You’ll enjoy the trek far more if you have a good level of fitness and endurance and are less likely to become injured or suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness. You’ll also see benefits not just for your trek or challenge, but improved circulation, weight management, mental and general well being.


Effects of Altitude

Most people can ascend to 2,500 metres (8,000 feet) with little or no effect. If you have been at that altitude before with no problem, you can probably return to that altitude without problems as long as you are properly acclimatised. Above these altitudes, our bodies ability to function properly requires a good programme of acclimatisation and general level of fitness.

The percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere at sea level is about 21% and the barometric pressure is around 1000mb (760 mmHg). As altitude increases, the percentage remains the same but the number of oxygen molecules per breath is reduced. At 3,600 metres (12,000 feet) the barometric pressure is only about 630 mb (480 mmHg), so there are roughly 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath so the body must adjust to having less oxygen. This is why it’s so important to have a good base of fitness.

Advice on Getting Fit

Prior to starting any physical training programme it is a good idea to consult your doctor particularly if you suffer from a heart condition, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, joint or back problems, or if you are pregnant or on any medication.

- You will want to allow at least 3 months (12 weeks) of training before your trek. If you are fairly unfit, then this will need to be extended.

- Your aim will be to build strength, cardiovascular stamina and muscle endurance, necessary to undertake the challenge ahead of you.

- Don't set your goals too high as if you don't reach them, you will lose morale. Also, you don't want to over do it and injure yourself

- You will want to get your feet used to walking for long periods of time and get used to any new boots. Go out for a hike of 2-5 hours (but build up to this slowly) with as many hills as you can find with a light backpack. Try to do at least 1 hike per week (preferably 2). Remember that the muscles used for going up and down hills are very different. Go slowly and take lots of breaks.

- Try to include some other forms of cardiovascular training in your programme. Common types of CV training include walking, running, cycling, rowing, swimming and aerobics.

- Remember that when training, exercising and whilst on your trek, drink plenty of fluids.