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How to Train to Climb Kilimanjaro
By:Quentin Shires

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, is classified as an inactive stratovolcano. It stands 15,100 feet high from the base to the summit. There are several routes for hikers to take when climbing the mountain, most of which can be completed within six or seven days. The mountain climb is considered an easy one; however, the altitude, low temperatures and high winds can make this an extremely dangerous trek.

Begin hiking. The best way to start training for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is to hike. Routine hikers should begin hiking a minimum of three times per week two months before leaving for Africa. Beginner hikers are encouraged to begin hiking approximately three times per week four months before leaving for Africa.

Before leaving for Africa, all hikers should be able to complete four- to six-hour hikes with moderate elevation changes (1,500 feet), while carrying 20-pound loads. The Ultimate Kilimanjaro website states that completing practice hikes is the best way to train.

Train on a stepping machine. If you do not have access to practice hikes, utilizing a stepping machine will work almost as well. Begin training at least two months before your departure. Before leaving for Kilimanjaro be sure that you can complete at least two hours on the stepping machine at 30 steps per minute while carrying a 20-pound load.

Cross train with other cardiovascular exercises. Swimming, biking, walking, jogging and weight training will help you get fit for Mount Kilimanjaro. The Ultimate Kilimanjaro website reports that these cardiovascular exercises will improve your fitness level, which can only help make your trek easier.

Practice simple motivational thought training. During your trek up and down the mountain you may encounter conditions that could make you want to turn around. Practice focusing on solutions instead of problems you encounter in everyday life. This will help keep you motivated when times get tough on the mountain.

Another way to practice motivational thinking is to come up with daily positive affirmations. Phrases such as "I am a successful hiker" or "I am strong and healthy" will help shift your internal dialogue to a more positive language. Using statements such as these in a present tense for a minimum of 10 minutes a day will help create a more positive and motivated spirit.

Be sure that you train with the hiking shoes and the internal frame backpack you plan on using when completing the hike. This will ensure that both are comfortable and broken in by the time you take your trip.

Get a medical checkup before leaving to make sure you are able to physically withstand the high altitude, low temperatures and other dangerous conditions.

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