Hiking requires right mix of food, water

One aspect of hiking that differs from other endurance sports such as running is it’s easier to eat almost anything while you hike. But that’s not to say you should.

Hiking often is a lower intensity workout than running, but it can still include several hours of continuous aerobic activity. It is often done at elevation, carrying a pack up and down steep grades, negotiating rock steps, logs and other obstacles.

Sometimes, hiking is done at an exertion level near or even above the anaerobic threshold. So it makes sense to eat appropriately before, during and after a hike, just as you would for a long run, bike ride or other endurance activity.

Whether you prefer a high-carbohydrate diet or a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, or some combination, getting something in your stomach 30 minutes or so before you start hiking allows time for digestion before you ramp up the activity level.

A good mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat will provide energy over a longer period than carbohydrates alone. Since most hikes or climbs start at lower elevations and/or exertion levels than the final objective, proteins and fats might be more easily absorbed and converted to energy during the early portion of the hike than later.

And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

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