How to Fuel Your Body on a Long Hike
If you love to hike, it’s necessary for you to fuel your body with the right nutrients and foods to be able to bear the long journey. By staying properly hydrated, consuming good sources of protein, and eating just the right amount of carbohydrates, you’ll be ready for your upcoming hike! Don’t forget the fruits and veggies either.
Hiking is a type of endurance training. You must stay hydrated for this challenging workout. Since the human body is made up of over 80% water, keeping hydrated with water instead of other liquids is a great choice. However, try to incorporate some performance drinks that have servings of electrolytes as a proper energy source.
Performance drinks contain carbohydrates and electrolytes to increase the performance of your work out. Electrolytes help to replenish your muscles during the hike. The carbohydrates in the performance drinks make for a good energy boost without having to pack a heavy carb-rich lunch for the hike. According to Unity Point Health, these drinks give you hydration and health benefits because the main ingredient is water.
Protein is a macronutrient that increases muscle strength, repairs muscles post-workout, and hikes up–for lack of a better word–your metabolism! Incorporating protein into your meals will give your body the energy it needs to bear the long journey.
Before your hike, consider lean meats and eggs as viable protein sources. Poultry and fish give you the protein that you need without the extra fat. Eggs can be prepared in multiple ways to fit your desired taste. The amino acids of vitamin B inside eggs can be the basis of your energy levels before hiking. Take it about an hour before your hike for optimal results.
During your hike, also consider beef jerky and nut butter as your protein sources. According to TrueVision Health, beef jerky contains as much as 28 grams of protein per serving. Consider having a small container of your favorite nut butter on hand to put on top of crackers. After your hike, replenish your energy with a combination of carbohydrates and proteins such as rice, pasta, lean meats, cheese or yogurt, and leafy greens.
According to WILD, carbohydrate-rich foods, such as oatmeal and pasta, are great energy boosters to consume before your hike. Consider eating a pasta meal the night before your hike. In the morning, fill up with your favorite oatmeal that could also include some fresh fruits for an additional nutrient boost. Keep your carbohydrate-rich foods to a reasonable serving size because too many carbohydrates will actually slow you down. Follow the serving size on the pasta or oatmeal package for optimal results. During your hike, have some hummus packed with carrots, celery sticks, or fresh broccoli florets. Pack some of your favorite nutrition bars for a lightweight snack that’s sure to energize you.
Fruit and Vegetables
According to Green Belly, pack your favorite fruit for a healthy and sweet boost of energy. Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries won’t take up much space in your hiking pack. Also, consider freeze-dried options that could help save space in your backpack even more.
Crunchy carrots, broccoli florets, and celery sticks are great vegetables to support a protein-rich snack, such as hummus. The additional nutrients from the vegetables will support the energy that you receive from protein and carbohydrates.
If you’re looking to plan a one day hike or even a multi-day hike, be sure that you build your energy reserves properly. Get the necessary hydration, protein, and carbohydrates before, during, and after your hike. So, get ready, get set, and fuel up for your hiking journey!
Spending time in the outdoors is a great mental health booster. Click here to learn more about alternative ways to mitigate symptoms of depression, anxiety, or the common blues.