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Getting in Shape

As you can imagine, climbing a mountain is a strenuous activity. However, the challenge of backpacking up a 13,000 to 14,000 foot mountain can teach many spiritual and relational lessons.

Being a responsible and contributing member of the team is very important to the week’s success, and being physically in shape for the climb is where you should begin. Remember that you will be carrying your own personal equipment as well as some group equipment long distances, uphill. This can weigh as much as 40-60 pounds. Being in a consistent aerobic conditioning program throughout the year is ideal, but a good rule of thumb is being able to run at least 2 miles in 20 minutes or less.

The two key areas of activity that should be focused on are:

  1. Increasing your lung’s capacity to efficiently use oxygen. This is called aerobic conditioning and is defined by the American Council on Exercise as “rhythmic, large muscle activity of low to moderately high intensity that can be sustained without undue fatigue for at least 10 to 15 minutes.”
  2. Increasing your muscle’s strength and stamina by doing weight bearing activities.

Before beginning a conditioning program, please consult your physician.Make some goals and list ways you can achieve those goals. Listen to your body. Begin gradually and work up to the desired physical goal. Concentrate on stamina rather than speed due to the length of the hikes. Keep with the program you have chosen; it will pay off on the mountain.

Some good activity ideas are:

  • Walking/Jogging/Running
  • Climbing stairs with a weighted pack and your hiking boots
  • Walking up hill with a weighted pack and your hiking boots
  • Weight lifting