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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hiking Up The Mountain With Nutrition

Mountaineering is a strenuous activity; and the last thing you want to happen to you while in the mountains is to faint due to malnutrition. Thus, it is important to take the kinds of food that would help you survive in the mountains. Nutritionists say that mountaineers should take in as much carbohydrates as possible to quickly replenish the energy lost in hiking or climbing.

Carbohydrates provide one's body with glucose which functions as your body's fuel. Glucose can be extracted once carbohydrates have been broken down. Glucose joins the bloodstream and provides your body with energy it needs. Glucose can also be stored in your muscle tissues and in your liver.

Glucose maintains the body's endurance. If the body runs out of glucose in the bloodstream or in the muscle tissues, you will start feeling fatigue. Your muscles could not continue to perform at its optimal level. Since mountaineering consumes a lot of energy, it is advised to load your body with more carbohydrates.

It is highly recommended to start preparing your body's nutrition for your mountaineering expedition at least three days prior to the event. Your diet should compose of at least 70 percent carbohydrates. It doesn't necessarily mean you also have to increase your calorie content. Doing so would just make you gain weight.

The best thing to do is to reduce your protein and fat intake, instead. However, higher carbohydrate content in your diet runs you the risk of a decrease intake in other essential nutrients in the long run. That's why, carb loading would only do you good in the first few days. After which, you should get back to your regular diet.

Since mountaineering involves traveling at higher elevations, your food intake may change at higher altitudes. In fact, studies have shown that mountaineers tend to be more finicky when above 10 000 feet. In your choice of food to carry on your mountaineering trip, don't just consider the nutritional values. What good would nutritious food do if you don't feel like eating it?

Higher altitudes actually trigger anorexia and loss of appetite. Not only that, the body will go through an overall change in metabolism. Your body may not be able to digest some of the food you eat when you're at home. These are the reasons why mountaineering contributes to weight loss, on top of the fact that a climber should expect to burn more calories at elevated locations.

Because of this, you tend to consumer more food so pack more food than what you normally eat at home. Still, you will have to consider your nutrition intake. The recommended ratio is about 70% carbohydrate, and the rest for fat and protein. Fatty foods require much more oxygen to digest, thus, if you packed high-fat foods, it could slow down your acclimatization.

There are actually a lot of power bars which are specifically formulated for mountaineers available in the supermarkets. You could also check out their dehydrated foods and other packaged camping foods which are usually freeze dried. They won't weigh that much but they're packed with the nutrients you'll need to last for your trip.

However, as mentioned earlier, since you tend to become picky when it comes to food, plan your menu wisely. Pack foods that aren't only nutritious, but also palatable. Don't compromise your trip by packing food you're not willing to eat. You won't be able to enjoy the scenery when you're energy level's down.

Different people also have different dietary needs. Not all healthy camping foods work well with everyone. So that means you may have to experiment on what food works best for you. When you don't find a food appealing at a certain height, most likely, it won't taste any better higher up. Try to take with you the tastiest and healthiest foods you can find.

Mountaineering is one of the sports that you really need to prepare for. Aside from the physical training that you should get, you should always check that you're also getting enough nutrients to get through the activity. Even if you have the leanest body and the strongest lungs, but you weren't able to get proper nutrition, you may not thoroughly enjoy the trip as you'll probably get tired easily.


Source : Jake Saab / www.goarticles.com



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