Wow. Time flies. I feel like it was just yesterday that I announced my decision to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (September 2015). For the past several months, I’ve been doing various activities to improve my cardio: kickboxing, Zumba, a little P90 and of course hiking/walking. I recently met someone who has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and he had some great recommendations for me! One of the most important pieces of advise he gave was to stop doing high-risk activities that make me more susceptible to injury. He actually said that the best thing I could do was to continue to get on the treadmill, wearing my day pack, and just walk at a 15% grade for hours at about 1.5 mph. So I’m doing that… BUT… it’s sooo nice outside! Living in Chicago means I only get a couple of months of sunshine and warm weather. I began looking for additional activities that are low-risk, fun and outdoors…..
Kayaking… WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN MY WHOLE LIFE?!
I recently discovered kayaking and can’t believe that I haven’t tried this sooner. I suppose it has to do with a couple of traumatic incidents with canoeing that has kept me away from the idea. It’s incredible for several reasons:
- Easy on the knees! While my legs are engaged, I’m not putting any additional strain on my knees – like all other activities typically do.
- Killer arm and core workout! A healthy back requires a strong core. And in order to carry a backpack uphill for 8 days I will certainly need both. I absolutely hate doing things like plank and crunches – but THIS I love! I don’t even realize that I’m working out my core until the next day when it’s a little sore.
- Incredible way to experience nature! So far, in just a couple of kayak trips in the same spot, I’ve seen countless types of gorgeous birds, muskrats, raccoons (I didn’t know they swam), deer, dragonflies and other Midwest critters! It makes me so excited for all of the plant and animal life that I will see in Tanzania.
- Wonderful for meditation! There’s nothing more peaceful than floating by yourself in the middle of a lagoon. No boat engine, no kids splashing around, no city noise. I know that walking for 8 days will require a level of inner peace – something I struggle with. I’m hoping that practicing my meditation skills in nature while kayaking will help me with this.
- It’s just so much FUN! There’s not much more to say about that.
I’m so thrilled that I’ve discovered a new way to train physically and mentally for this climb – which is now 2 months and 23 days away. If anyone else has any other suggestions for fun, low-risk training activities – please let me know!