A 46-year-old Indian doctor in the UAE embarked on an adventurous trip to Africa and conquered Mt Kilimanjaro, situated 5,895 meters above sea level. With no prior experience in mountaineering, he took up the challenge of arduously climbing the tallest free-standing mountain in the world to inspire and motivate people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
An internal medicine specialist at Aster Hospital, Mankhool, Dr Saif, climbed to the pinnacle of Mt Kilimanjaro in just four days.
“Being an internal medicine specialist, I see people coming to us struggling with lifestyle conditions. It is disheartening to see youngsters in their twenties and thirties fighting blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. The number of youngsters succumbing to heart attacks is on the rise. It underscores that health is being overlooked,” says Dr Saif.
“I wanted to inspire and motivate youngsters, especially those struggling with lifestyle conditions. I have been very particular of practicing what I preach to my patients. So, health and fitness have always been a priority for me. The idea of undertaking a physically challenging adventure came up when one of my friends told me about it. His words motivated me, and I thought if I do something that would motivate my patients and friends to follow a healthy lifestyle,” he adds.
It took Dr Saif about one month of rigorous training to prep up for the challenge of conquering Mt Kilimanjaro.
“We were a group of three. I was the only one with no experience in mountaineering. But I was mentally and physically ready for the challenge. We took a difficult and treacherous route to complete the task in four days. The easier routes would take longer,” explains the doctor.
Recalling his experience, Dr Saif says climbing the mountain has not been easy for him. “We had taken the difficult route. So we were reaching higher altitudes fairly quickly that once my oxygen saturation level dropped dangerously to 74 per cent. I was huffing and puffing. But in my mind, I had made it. I wanted to be at the pinnacle. The training made me physically and mentally strong. Finally, I did it,” says Dr Saif.
He advises youngsters and his patients to care for their bodies. “If I can climb a mountain about 6,000 meters in height at my age of 46, anything is possible. It is just that our body and mind should have the strength,” the doctor maintains.
Dr Saif now aims to take up similar challenges to inspire people and spread the message of health and fitness.