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Your Physical Fitness

Fitness preparation for climbing Kilimanjaro

How fit do you need to be to climb Kilimanjaro?

While it is always good to get fit, there’s no need to go overboard with fitness preparations for climbing Kilimanjaro. Some guidebooks and websites go into extraordinary detail about fitness regimes. I, however, along with most of the guides and, indeed, the majority of trekkers who have climbed Kili all think that most of  these regimes are unnecessary. Why? Simply because the main reason why people fail to reach the summit is due to altitude sickness rather than lack of necessary strength or stamina.

That said, the fitter you are, the more enjoyable your trek up Kilimanjaro. And It’s true that some do, indeed, fail through sheer lack of fitness, strength and stamina.

After all, on the final push to the summit you will be walking at very high altitude for about 16 hours! So a certain degree of fitness is necessary. So anything you can do in the way of training can only help.

Whatever the fitness regime you decide to follow, a few days of walking at some point would be a good thing to do; it won’t improve your fitness to a great degree but it will at least confirm that you can walk for more than a few hours at a time, and for more than one day. Wear the clothes you plan to bring to Kilimanjaro with you – particularly your boots and socks – and carry the daypack that you hope to be carrying all the way to the top of Kibo too.

One more thing: if you’re planning on relying on it on Kilimanjaro, try Diamox before you go to make sure it has no severe adverse reaction on you. (See the section on Diamox if you have no idea what we’re talking about here!)

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Signboard on Kilimanjaro providing guidance on fitness