Hiking Food Needs
I get a chuckle from the hundreds of weight-loss programs that exist. Losing weight is really a simple thing - make your body use more calories than you eat. That's it. There's no secret magical program that will make weight disappear. It takes a change in lifestyle for many people, eating a little less and moving your body a little more. Hiking is a perfect activity to move your body. Hiking a moderate amount over many months is a great way to gradually lose and keep weight off. But, using a strenuous long-distance hike to lose weight is dangerous.
Many people don't realize that food needs can double on a hike, depending on distance, temperature, and elevation. The fat in your body supplies lots of energy as it is slowly burned, but needs to be supplemented by food. If you run out of food, your body consumes muscle for fuel and that results in fatigue and degrading performance. Plan your food supply so you have a cushion of extra food in case of emergency.
Hiking is work and work burns calories. But, just how much extra fuel is needed depends on how much you weigh, how far you hike, and how much elevation you gain.
The speed at which you move also makes a difference in how many calories are consumed. There is a jump when you change from walking to running because you are exerting many more muscles, but this calculator assumes walking. Whether you walk at 2mph or 4mph, there is only a small change in calorie consumption.
Calculate your calorie needs. For 'elevation', add up the total uphill parts of your hike and ignore the downhills.
Mar 25, 2012 - Doug Swam
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