Are you planning to take on a mountain in the near future? If so, it is a good idea to get yourself in shape for the adventure. You need to be both physically and mentally prepared for a challenging climb.
Depending on your current condition, it is recommended that you start a training regimen 3 to 6 months prior to your trek. The goal is to build strength, increase stamina, acclimate to high altitudes, and improve mental endurance. Let’s explore steps you can take to get yourself in shape for tackling a peak.
You don’t need to be a powerlifter for climbing a mountain. In fact, some agility and flexibility are desirable. So, bulking up those muscles is not the only intention when strength training for an ascent. Keep in mind that you are not just carrying the weight of your body. It is more than likely that you might also have a pack on your back.
A good place to start with bodyweight training is with a variety of basic exercises that work all your muscles, including your core. These include squats, lunges, sit ups, and pushups that you can do almost anywhere. Next, head to the gym and do some bench presses, weight lifting, pullups, and leg curls.
Similar to a triathlon or an iron man event, climbing a mountain involves navigating a variety of terrains and takes several hours or days to accomplish. Remember, you are not just going up, you also have to have enough stamina and energy to get back down. Any mountain climbing exercise regimen should include both aerobic and anaerobic endurance training. This includes working out in constant motion and adding in some high intensity interval training.
It is good practice to do some aerobic training outdoors, including running, cycling, and walking hills with a pack on. Indoors you can climb stairs, take spin classes, or swim many laps in a pool.
It is very important to remain mindful of the thinning air as the elevation increases. As an example, Mount Kilimanjaro rises a little over 19,000 feet. That is a significant climb that is often broken up into 6 to 9 day treks. Your lungs and muscles are going to have to work harder each day, so you need to be prepared.
The best way to get ready for this is to train at higher altitudes. You need to do some hiking on actual hills. The ability of your body to use oxygen more efficiently will also be improved with your endurance and stamina training.
No one wants to be defeated by the stress of a strenuous climb. However, it is not uncommon for even seasoned mountaineers to have doubts and want to give up. You will have to be able to dig deep mentally to be able to stay on task.
It can be helpful to do some serious long distance exercise where you have to push through the tough times. This can include running a marathon or participating in a 50 to 100 mile charity cycling event. These activities require you to draw on your mental reserves to get you over the finish line. Some climbers even recommend practicing mindfulness meditation regularly to help with focus and relaxation.
Preparing for a climb is very important. Don’t expect to just show up to the mountain base with a trail map in hand thinking you can do this without being in good physical and mental condition. Give yourself a few months prior to the climb to get into shape. Most of all, enjoy the journey both before and during the expedition. You will be smiling when you finally make it back down to where you started from.