Climbing Into Fitness: Guide To Backpacking
Backpacking is a great, low cost way to travel independently, either locally or even internationally. Having been used for centuries the tradition of backpacking has been around since the seventeen hundreds and uses a backpack to transport belongings. Today, the term is used for those that like to hike for longer distances, carrying their supplies with them in a pack of some sort.
Using a backpack is a great way to carry your gear because it is an easy way to transport necessary items for long periods of time, especially if you have a long distance to travel. Backpacking is also a great way to get exercise and explore the beautiful outdoors.
People tend to fall into a few categories when they take up backpacking, and this guide should have handy information for all levels whether you are just getting started or a more experienced backpacker in need of supplements and tips to improve your travels.
To get started, there are a number of things that any backpacker must know in order to be safe and healthy on the road. First, let’s take a look at what happens within the body when it is placed under the exertion that this sport can provide.
Backpacking for Exercise and Sport
Some might not think of backpacking as a sport in itself. There are no boundaries and no formal rules. However, if you want to backpack well and travel safely, it’s a good idea to think of it as one. This is because you have to prepare your body, just as you would any long distance sport such as running or cycling. You also endure the pressures, depleting vital nutrients and minerals that your body needs. Often those that are active backpackers will require supplements for hiking or survival in order to keep their bodies healthy and functioning correctly when on a longer trek.
It is important to realize that backpacking can place a serious toll on your body as well. It’s generally more involved than a simple walk through the woods or mountain hike. Before you make a plan you should consult your physician about wellness preparation and potential herbal supplements that can help for backpacking longer distances.
Consider These Areas That Are Affected By Backpacking:
One great benefit of backpacking is the rebuilding of bone and muscle tissue as you climb and walk. Causing your muscle fibers to adapt to the additional stress causes them grow in density, size and strength backpacking can place a toll on the muscle and skeletal system.
The more you exercise and the longer you backpack, the more your body adapts to this high intensity exchange. This allows you to backpack for greater lengths of time without running out of breath or getting winded. In turn, you are able to exert yourself for longer periods of time helping you to increase stamina and performance. Endurance supplements, protein powder and strength training can both help to increase the amount of activity that you are able to do.
The higher intensity of your travel and the more you exert yourself, the more your heart has to work in order to keep the blood supply flowing through the body so that oxygen can be adequately supplied to your tissues. This is huge benefit to keeping blood flowing smoothly and maintaining a healthy circulatory system. Heart supplements such as Vitamin D and fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids) can assist your efforts, especially if you have a heart condition or they are common in your family.
As heart rate and blood flow increases, so do the lungs capacity to expand, which allows more air flow, which in turn speeds up your breathing rate. Increasing your breathing rate’ then, in turn speeds up the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen.
Because backpacking helps to strengthen your body and replenishes muscle and bone tissue it helps to make bones more dense and resilient. Stronger bones are less likely to break or fracture. A good exercise regimen and a stronger body can help to reduce the risks of getting certain diseases associated with backpacking, while additionally reducing the chance of certain types of injuries. Increasing electrolytes intake help with resistance ability.
Backpacking is More Than Just Exercise
When you begin backpacking, you will place your body under some intense stress, especially as you begin to tackle longer distances with more difficult terrain. It is important to not only work on the individual systems within the body, but you may find that to adapt your training or to perform better under certain conditions that you will want to supplement areas in which you feel weak.
As you prepare yourself and your body for the journey ahead, remember that every system is interconnected. Take the time to give your body the nutrients and preparation that it needs and your travels are likely to go much more smoothly.
Supplement Your Backpacking Adventures
You should of course, always consult your general physician before engaging in any long term, strenuous exercise. With so many different dietary and nutritional supplements to choose from, making the right educated choices of what is needed to be put back into your body can itself seem like a stressful exercise.
With a little understanding and knowledge however you can make easy work out of what seems like an overwhelming number of choices to help keep your body running like a fine tuned machine. Helping to insure that your body is keeping replenished the building blocks it needs. that can otherwise be exhausted with the extra rigors of additional recreation and helping to keep you running at peak performance.
Electrolytes are minerals inside your body that carry an electrical charge. Electrolytes can be salts, acids or bases,They are normally carried by your blood cells or by other bodily fluids.
Common electrolytes include calcium, chloride, magnesium phosphorus potassium and sodium. Since electrolytes will be lost when you sweat they must be replaced. They are normally replaced by drinking fluids that contain electrolytes.
You drink lots of water you say? Water doesn’t contain any electrolytes!
So electrolytes must be replenished by fluids other than water.
How will electrolytes help you excel?
The electrolytes listed below are helpful for balancing out the body, and each contribute in their own ways. You may be familiar with some of the terms, as they are also essential minerals that the body thrives on. Often you can get sufficient doses for daily activity through a multivitamin. However, when placing excessive stress on your body, you may find that you need an additional resource depending on your current health, other health issues or the kind of pressure you’re going to put on your body.
For this reason it is important to know how each provides unique benefits. Let's take a closer look at each electrolyte supplement for backpacking in order to understand why they are so vital to your health.
Calcium is an essential mineral and necessary for healthy bones and teeth. Over 99% of the calcium contained in the body is contained in the teeth and bones. Calcium in the bones may be used as a reserve and released into the body if necessary. Since the bones are always are constantly breaking down and rebuilding, calcium is an essential mineral in the process and calcium helps keep your bones healthy and strong.
It’s not just for bones though. Calcium helps your nerves and your heart function properly. Plus, calcium is helpful if you’re hurt. It aids in blood clotting, which is required to heal when you need to heal from a scratch which are quite common when backpacking.
Since chloride helps keep the level of fluids inside and outside of your body in balance it is one of the most important electrolytes in your system chloride is another of the electrolytes that helps regulate the amount of electrical concentration and charge differences across the membranes of your cells. The fluids in your body's PH levels, your blood pressure and your blood volume are all maintained by the levels through this process.
Other than taking a chloride supplement, you can also get it from salt. In fact, chloride is also one of the ions that helps to maintain the salt, the absorption and digestion of many nutrients due to it being a key component of gastric juices in the form of hydrochloric acid. Chloride is normally absorbed into your body by your intestines when your food is digested and chloride lost by the body when you sweat or when you urinate.
Magnesium is a vital electrolyte to the body for several reasons. Magnesium helps keep heart rhythms steady, regulates blood pressure and aids in keeping your bones strong. Low levels of magnesium can lead to inflammation that has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Low levels of magnesium can also increase your risk of contracting osteoporosis
Magnesium deficiencies have also been linked to Crohn's disease as well as diabetes.
Phosphorus is the second most common electrolyte found in the body second only to calcium. Phosphorous makes up about one percent of your body's total weight! It is important to proper kidney function and waste filtration. It is also essential to the reparation of tissues and cells. Low Phosphorous levels have also been linked to joint and muscle pain as well as fatigue.
Potassium is crucial for the kidneys, heart and other organs to function correctly. Potassium aids to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste on the cellular level. Potassium helps prevent high blood pressure by helping to offset some of the detrimental effects of sodium.Potassium helps to aid against stroke, heart disease and arthritis some forms of digestive disorders as well as some types of cancer have been linked to low levels of potassium. Potassium is also essential in aiding in communication between nerve and muscle tissues.
Sodium is used by the body to control blood volume and helps to maintain blood pressure due to the fact it is the main determinant in extracellular fluid volume. The body uses sodium to adjust its internal workings to regulate blood pressure as well as blood volume. Sodium, in conjunction with chloride, is also one of the electrolytes that helps regulate the amount of electrical concentration and charge differences across the membranes of your cells.
Sodium also plays a very important role in the absorption of water, amino acids, glucose and chloride. Sodium is a necessary component in kidney regulation as well as a determining factor in water retention and water loss. When sodium levels become depleted, this may result in hyponatremia which can lead to or include fatigue, muscle cramps, headache, nausea vomiting or even disorientation. Additionally, low sodium levels can also result in hyponatremia which can lead to or include fatigue, muscle cramps, headache, nausea, vomiting,disorientation or even fainting.
Fish oil is a supplement that commonly contains omega-3 fatty acids. More specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) .Although other animal products and phytoplankton may also contain omega three fatty acids, fish oil is recommended because it is the most common and cheapest source of them.
Since the average diet is high in omega six fatty acids and the desired ratio is near one to one Fish oil is recommended to supplement the omega threes to balance the ratio. Fish oil works primarily through the use of signalling molecules known as eicosanoids. When the ratio of omega three fatty acids and omega six fatty acids are almost equal or at a ratio of one to one then this will influence, in response to stress, which of these signaling molecules are released.
How will fish oil help you excel?
Fish oil, though not a stimulant, can stimulate brain activity. In more recent years it has been pushed my doctors and health professionals because it contains high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. As a backpacker, you will want the benefits to both the skin, cardiovascular system and healing process that this essential supplement provides.
It is used to help maintain healthy blood pressure and helps to reduce plaque buildup, maintain a lower lipid count and lower triglycerides as well. This all helps to lead to reducing the chance of heart disease and helping to maintain healthier blood vessels. Fish oil can also decrease the risk of several forms of cancer, including breast cancer, as well as fend off diabetes. Probably most importantly for backpackers though is that it aids with the reduction of swelling and bruising, mainly in part to the high contents of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Although eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods may be the best way to get enough vitamins, it may not always be an available option while backpacking. Your body is working harder than it normally would relaxing around the house or in other normal day to day routine activities and therefore it is good to have on hand a good source of vitamin supplements.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider first, high doses of some vitamins can cause problems.
How will multivitamins help you excel?
A good Multivitamin will help to make sure you are replenishing vitamins while backpacking. Vitamins are Essential to your body's normal growth and development and while your body can make Vitamins D and K you want to make sure you are getting plenty of the thirteen vitamins essential to your body's growth and development.
Those thirteen essential vitamins are:
Folic acid can help to lower the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and colon cancer.
Vitamin D from a multivitamin or single supplement can lower the risk of colon and possibly many other cancers, as well as other chronic diseases.
Vitamin D plays an important role in immune systems as well as your nerves and muscles. Vitamin D aids your body absorbing calcium. Since calcium is one of the main building blocks of bone it can also help to prevent bone, breaks and fractures. It is also important to maintain your body's vitamin D to help prevent bone diseases such as Rickets or Osteoporosis.
Vitamin K helps your body by making proteins for blood clotting.and maintaining healthy tissue and bones. It also helps prevent anemia which can cause extensive bleeding.
Vitamin E is important to your immune system and helps metabolic processes. It also is an important antioxidant.
One of the many antioxidants that are beneficial for your body, Vitamin C is important for your skin, bones and connective tissues. It helps the body absorb iron and promotes healing.
B vitamins consist of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin,thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and folate. These vitamins are important in the forming of red blood cells as well as helping to prevent certain diseases.Vitamin deficiency Anemia, which can cause bleeding, for instance can be linked to having a lack of vitamins B6 or B12. B Vitamins are also important when you backpack because they help your body make energy or process nutritional energy from the food you eat.
Vitamin A, besides being an Antioxidant can help in the prevention of diseases such as Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and certain liver diseases. Vitamin A is important and beneficial when you backpack because it aids in cell functions and bone growth. Vitamin A also plays a role in keeping your immune system healthy and helping the eyes in maintaining good vision as well as aiding in reproduction.
Probiotics are living organisms,and made up of a variety of microorganisms. Certain types of bacteria can be used as probiotics. Two of the most common groups of bacteria used as probiotics are,Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. Other types of bacteria may also be used as probiotics.
Certain yeasts such as Saccharomyces boulardii may also be used as probiotics.
These microorganisms help to replenish the ones naturally existing in our bodies that help to keep us healthy and regular. As a matter of fact the number of microorganisms inside our bodies outnumbers the number of human cells by a factor of ten to one!
How will probiotics help you excel?
Supplementing Probiotics while backpacking will aid in the digestion of food. Helping not only your digestive system to extract and produce vitamins, these microorganisms also aid in destroying other disease causing microorganisms as well. Also the regular use of probiotics can help to prevent diarrhea caused by infection or other locally ingested microbes as well possible aiding of general. longevity.
Protein powders can be very useful because they are a complete form of protein and can come in various forms. Three common forms are soy, casein, or whey protein. To be considered a complete protein they must contain all nine of the necessary amino acids for human dietary needs.
How will protein powder help you excel?
Protein powders are very useful when you are backpacking for several reasons. When you are backpacking your body will use more protein as fuel. Protein is used by the body to help replenish muscle fiber.
Your body requires about 10 to 14 additional grams of protein per day to build or replenish one pound of muscle. Your body also breaks down protein to use for energy because protein is what your muscles run on and what your body uses for fuel. When you are doing something recreationally like backpacking you will want a half to three quarters of a gram of protein per day per pound of body weight.
Good Luck On Your Travels
While all these benefits of exercising are healthy and good for your overall well being, they can also cause a lot of extra stress on your physique as well as depleting your body of a lot of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It is very important to keep these replenished with a good variety of quality electrolytes, multivitamins, probiotics and other nutritional supplements to keep your body maintained, nourished and running at peak performance.
John Muir said that in every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. As you travel, keep in mind your own relationship with nature and the world around you. You will have much easier travels if you prepare well before and nature provides many of the necessary nutrients. Introduce new routines to help you grow and supplements that will keep you moving. It’s that easy to be on your way.