Hiking is an enjoyable yet sometimes strenuous activity for any enthusiast. With the abundance of rural landscapes and incredibly picturesque walks all around the UK, it is understandable that the sport has become popular with people of all ages.
Despite the luxuries of fantastic scenery and the fresh outdoors, tough terrain can sometimes prove challenging. The right equipment and attire needs to be considered carefully in order to protect yourself from accidents or sudden changes in weather conditions. People often forget however, that a large part of the preparation process is within your diet and the food you eat before and during a hike. Here we look at a few ideas on what to consume in order to keep your energy levels high and your body fuelled.
It is a well known fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is surely emphasised for hikers before setting off on a walk, to provide maximum energy for such a physical day ahead. An ideal, healthy breakfast consists of a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fibre. A meal that is too high in carbohydrates and simple sugars will have the opposite effect by not providing lasting energy, so you must be careful with your measurements.
Proteins are responsible for maintaining alertness and focus which is sure to help hikers considerably throughout a long walk. Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of natural energy as well as sugar which helps to keep you satisfied for longer. Vitamins and minerals are also key to anyone’s healthy diet, so consuming a portion of these in the morning will give you the best start to your day. Taking these facts into consideration, the perfect breakfasts would include a bowl of cereal or granola high in fibre and topped with fruit. Scrambled eggs with wholegrain toast, omelettes cooked with tomato or mushrooms, and smoothies containing a variety of fruits or vegetables. Avoid coffee and instead ensure that you get a good night’s sleep the evening before your planned hike.
The need for energy will be constant throughout your activities and so you must remember to eat frequently. Instead of your 3 meals a day it is important to eat every 2-3 hours when you are constantly on the go. Beneficial snacks to increase your body’s energy levels, and ideal to keep handy in a small rucksack would be nuts, dried fruit or seeds, protein bars, tins of tuna, crisp breads, crackers and carrot sticks. If you have the use of a cooling bag, cottage cheese, yoghurts, precooked rice or pasta, cold meats such as turkey or ham, salad and hummus.
Having your diet organised is important however, your efforts may go to waste if you don’t also focus on keeping your body hydrated. Minor signs of dehydration include headaches, muscle pain, dizziness and lethargy although these symptoms could get considerably worse whilst performing sporting activities. Ensure you drink plenty of water all throughout the day, especially if you’re prone to losing moisture through sweat.
This guest post was written by hiking enthusiast Alex Jackson, who loves nothing more than a walk in the countryside! She recommends leaving your car with Edinburgh airport parking company SkyParkSecure when going abroad and hiring a car to be able to access rural mountain walks that not every man and his dog have strolled before.