By Kristin Burgess
Fueling Your Body on Fall Hikes
Fueling your body during a hike can be challenging and inconvenient. However, it is essential to fuel your body correctly due to the strenuous exercise and because of the altitude. Whether you plan to hike your first fourteener or your first three-mile hike this fall, here are a few tips to properly fuel your body properly.
- Water is important no matter the distance. If you are starting your hike at 5:00am or 12:00pm, be sure to consume at least a liter of water within 90 minutes of starting your hike. It is also important to bring water on your hike, Obviously the longer the hike, the more water you need and the more creative you will need to get. I would recommend getting at least a two-liter hydration backpack. Fill it even if you are only going three miles. Often the description of the hike doesn’t match everyone’s rate of perceived exertion and even a three-mile hike can take a few hours and you never know the challenges you might encounter. It is important to be overly prepared with water, whenever possible. Your goal is to drink a minimum of half a liter an hour for easy to moderate hiking. For strenuous hiking, at least a liter an hour.
- Always bring electrolytes. Electrolytes are a combination of minerals that enable your vital organs to maintain the proper amount of fluid in your bloodstream and in your tissues. I like to keep an electrolyte source always on hand, no matter the distance or the weather. The longer the hike, the hotter the temperature, the more strenuous the hike, the more electrolytes needed. A few sources that I prefer are: Salt Tabs, NUUN tablets and SKRATCH electrolyte drink mix are all good options. If you are a salty sweater, be sure to have a serving of any of these examples every 20 to 30 minutes.
- Calories. Your body is not only burning a lot of calories because of the workout but the altitude as well. Even on a three-mile hike, bring a calorie source. You may not need to consume it, but just in case the hike is more strenuous or takes longer than expected, you have nutrition. Choose something that is convenient and packed with nutrients. I like to bring a peanut butter sandwich and applesauce packet anytime I am in the outdoors. The longer the hike, obviously the more calories you will need. Maybe bring two sandwiches, nuts, applesauce, nut butter packets and dried fruit. I pack my food in my hydration backpack and throw in a few ice packets.
Sometimes hikes take longer than we think so always over-prepare with hydration and calories. The goal is to provide your working tissues with the nutrients they require to perform efficiently.
If you need any personalization to your hiking nutrition regime, please contact me! Kristin Burgess, [email protected]