Four Steps to Staying Healthy on the Trail
Nothing can be as rewarding as strapping on a pack and heading out into the wilderness. Seeing remote and wild areas can rejuvenate your mind and soul. For many people, what should be a rewarding experience turns into a nightmare of sore muscles and aching bodies. The biggest challenge on any hike isn’t the trail ahead, but meeting your body’s dietary needs. Here are four easy steps to staying healthy on the trail.
Drink Plenty of Water
The biggest requirement your body has while out on the trail is staying hydrated. A human body normally requires a minimum of two liters of water each day; and this number is greatly increased while on the trail. A standard rule is one liter per two hours of hiking on an easy or moderate trail. Increase this if hiking at high altitude or when gaining elevation. Also increase this consumption when hiking in hot weather. The National Park Service recommends planning on two liters of water per hour if hiking uphill in direct sunlight on a hot day. You know you are hydrated when you still urinate with normal frequency and quantity. If you aren’t urinating as you normally would, you are working with a water deficit.
Eat well beforehand
Remember that it takes time for your body to digest food, when you are going out for a long hike prepare your body for it by eating well before you hit the trail. The day before is a great time to eat pastas and other starches which provide lots of energy reserves for the trail. Another thing to remember is to eat a good breakfast before you hit the trail. A balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates is the right cocktail to prepare your body for a good hike. Make sure to give yourself at least an hour of digestion before you starting your hike.
Snacking properly is essential for hiking. Snacks provide nutrition and calories (energy) to help you keep hiking, and depending on your needs different snacks should be packed and eaten. Snacks high in fruit sugars can provide some energy boosts to help you stay energetic on the trail. Protein loaded snacks help repair muscles on more difficult hikes and terrain. Always pack a few salty snacks. Salty snacks will help restock your body’s electrolytes which aid in keeping hydrated. A rule of thumb is to have little snacks, often, usually every hour or two. Also, if you happen to hike in cold weather, snacking is a great way to help your body maintain a warm core temperature.
Take a Multivitamin
While all the food on the trail can taste great and be enjoyable, odds are you won’t get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. The easiest way to ensure that your body is taken care of is by taking a good multivitamin. A multivitamin provides blanket coverage of all the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. Taking one will allow you flexibility to pack out snacks that you love without sacrificing the nutrition your body requires.
Follow these four easy steps while exploring beautiful wilderness. Don’t forget to rejuvenate your body while the wilderness rejuvenates your mind.
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