Nutrition Tips for Hikers

A big challenge for hikers is to have enough calories and carbohydrates.  If you don’t have adequate carbohydrates, you may end up using protein for energy.   This isn’t a good idea since your body needs protein to rebuild it’s muscles.  Bring trail mix and snacks and have some every hour.  This way you will keep your energy level up with carbohydrates and fat, saving the protein for more important rebuilding processes.  As far as calories go, I have read many blogs where hikers have lost weight on a 2-3 month hike.  Many don’t realize it, but you can burn 3000-4000 calories each day by hiking just ten hours-more if you are hiking longer.  Thus, it is important to pack high calorie items such as nuts and meal replacement bars.  Meals and snack should be planned and portioned out ahead of time so that they are easy to grab while hiking.  Last, but not least, fluids are needed to maintain hydration, especially in hot, humid or very cold weather.  Drink often, at least every fifteen minutes and don’t wait until you feel thirsty because often times you will start to become dehydrated before your sense of thirst kicks in.

Since the food you will eat is only what you can carry, pack light and try dehydrated meals in addition to snacks.  Hiking, unlike many other sports requires a lot of planning, so be prepared and know where the nearest towns and water sources are so you have additional resources.  Remember also to pack some water purification tablets to ensure that the water source is safe.  Hiking is a wonderful sport, but it does require a lot of preparation.  Before you take to the trails, make sure that you have all your supplies for a happy and successful experience.

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