Essential Items for Health and Confidence on the Trail

Staying healthy on the trail is vital if you want to maintain maximum performance and avoid unnecessary ailments or set backs that come from poor nutrition and care. To enjoy your hikes to the fullest you should always pack your essentials first so you never have to stop and worry when you're out on the trail.

These items will boost your health and energy levels both on and off the trail and keep you safe in unexpected situations and circumstances.

Water

Let's start by stating the obvious: Staying properly hydrated should be your No. 1 concern when out on the trail.

If you are heading out for a short day hike that won't have you on the trail for more than a few hours, you should pack enough water to drink roughly 20-ounces per hour. For longer efforts on the trail you should make it a point to stop and intake 10 ounces every 15 minutes in order to stay fully hydrated and healthy.

Simply put, water is the ideal liquid for most hikers. However, longer or more strenuous hikes often call for liquids with a little extra oomph, most notably sports drinks and mixes. These enhanced liquids contain electrolytes, meaning they not only keep you hydrated when you're exerting yourself in hot weather but they also protect you from a little thing called over-hydration. Over-hydration is what happens when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in your body become too diluted and your sodium levels become dangerously low.

Next time you hit the trail, make sure you bring enough water for yourself and remember to stop once or twice an hour to take a sip and keep your hydration levels at max performance.

Nutrition

Short hikes don't call for as much meal planning as longer backpacking trips do but your nutritional needs remain the same regardless, which is why you should educate yourself on the types of food that will help repair and strengthen your body during more active periods.

For high levels of physical activity you want foods that provide physical energy and mental fuel (carbohydrates), and promote a healthy nervous system (B-vitamins, iron) while building and repairing cells (vegetable proteins). Consider planning meals that contain whole grains and starchy vegetables, like rice, cornmeal, or potatoes. If you're looking for bars or other easy meals to eat on the go, first make sure they are actually providing you with the nutritional value you require.

Another food group that is important for longer backpacking trips are your meats, poultries, eggs, and dairy items. On the trail you really don't require much of these foods, however once every day or two in small portions will make a huge difference to your performance and health on the trail. The calcium and protein intake will help improve bone strength and muscle contraction so in order to keep your nutritional needs in balance consider packing items that contain ingredients like powered milk, peanut butter, or nuts and seeds for the proteins and healthy fats. LARABARs, made from minimal, pure ingredients, are a great place to start.

Vitamins & Supplements

The longer the trip, the harder it gets to pack food that will provide enough nutritional value for the length of time you're on the trail. But don't worry, there is an easy solution. Most experienced hikers and backcountry explorers use vitamins and supplements to meet their personal health needs instead of relying 100 percent on food. Not only will meal planning seem much easier but you'll have more room in your pack since vitamins and supplements don't take up very much room.

To avoid dangerous nutrient gaps in your diet while on the trail you should take advantage of supplements that not only bridge the gap but help you recover quicker, boost your energy, and increase your overall health and stamina. For hikers putting in long days of high energy, consider adding supplements like calcium, probiotics, fish oil, and a multi vitamin to your hiking pack. Amway, a global leader in health products, sells a variety of natural and plant-based supplements. They will help protect and nourish your body out on the trail so you don't have to worry about starving your body of the nutrition it requires.

Safety & Survival

It might seem obvious to you, but many hikers don't realize the significance of safety and survival gear on the trail and the role it plays toward overall health. Accidents, mistakes, slip-ups—they all happen on a daily basis, even when you're on the trail. So being prepared with a few key items for safety and survival will give you wonderful peace of mind in case the unexpected occurs.

An item you should never hit the trail without is a basic first aid kit. You can find a wide range of first aid kits at almost any grocery store or gas station but these can also be personalized and purchased online, of course. The Red Cross sells a variety of first aid kids and supplies, including a CPR keychain. For added peace of mind throw in a pocket knife, a small coil of paracord, and a fire starter so it's all in one place. Don't forget other health-conscious items like sunscreen and sunglasses too.

Ideally the best item for survival, other than extra water and food supplies, is an emergency shelter, beacon, or some sort of GPS tracking device. Not everyone will care to bring or purchase all of these items, especially since each one adds a little more weight to your shoulders, but trust your gut and put your safety and survival right up there with your overall health and performance.

If you fear the trail might be too difficult for you or perhaps the weather doesn't look very promising, prepare yourself and pack anything you think you might need so you won't be without it on the trail.

Keep your hydration and nutrition in the forefront of your mind when packing for your next hiking trip. Don't pack food items that give you little to no nutritional value and be prepared with extra supplements and liquids so you can be confident and ready on the trail.

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Benefits and Risks of CrossFit Workouts

CrossFit was founded in the early 2000s and in just a few years, it became one of the most popular fitness movements in the world. The reason why it is so popular is because it revolves around a supportive tight knit community, who can’t help but spread the word about this amazing training program. The workouts typically take place in certified gyms, but the purpose of the program is to teach you to work out in any environment, so that you never have an excuse to skip a training session. If you are considering joining a CrossFit gym, there are a few things that you must know first.

Workout intensity

To say that CrossFit is intense would be an understatement, as it is in fact the most intense training program in the world. It will basically push you to train like a professional athlete, so it is no wonder that this is the preferred training program of military and law enforcement officers. The program focusses on high intensity functional movement exercises inspired by strength, gymnastics and cardio workouts. Nonetheless, don’t let the intensity of these workouts scare you, as CrossFit is suitable for beginners as well. At certified gyms, you will be guided by professional trainers that will help you build a workout program that suits your current fitness level, while constantly monitoring your performance and your progress.

Program goals

The main goal of the program is to prepare any individual for any type of intense physical activity. To do this, the program focusses on improving several key elements: the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, stamina, strength, flexibility, speed, power, agility, coordination, balance and accuracy.

Benefits

  • Diversity – These workouts are very versatile, and you will find yourself working out for months without doing the same routine twice. Due to this versatility, the program will help you perform daily physical tasks better, whether we are talking about moving furniture around the house, or taking part in intense athletic competitions. The workouts will train all your major muscle groups, and they will teach your body how to perform different ranges of movement. Overall, it will make you healthier and it will give you a better control of your body.
  • Motivation– Unlike other training programs that get boring after a while, CrossFit will always keep you engaged, so that you never lose motivation. First of all, you will be motivated by the fact that you will see results very fast, and you will learn to take pride in your performances. Secondly, the diverse exerciseskeep you in a constant state of anticipation, looking forward for the challenges that the next workout will bring. Last but not least, you can count on the trainers and the rest of the gym members to support and guide you when things get tough.
  • Quick weight loss – If you are looking for a fast way to lose weight, ditch the treadmill and get on the CrossFit bandwagon, because this is the fastest way to lose weight. HIIT workouts burn a lot more fat in way less time than normal cardio workouts.
  • Lean muscles – As it involves a lot of strength training, CrossFit is great for building muscles. However, what makes it truly great is that due to its functional movements, it builds muscles in just the right places, avoiding the unnatural bodybuilder look.
  • Convenient –Due to its popularity, CrossFit gyms are can be found in most places in the world. If you live in a busy area of a big city, you can choose between several gyms. For example, there are several Gyms near Grand Central Station, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. With so many options, you have no excuse for missing a workout.

Risks

On account of its intensity, CrossFit poses the same risks as sports such as weightlifting and gymnastics, with focus on rhabdomyolysis and musculoskeletal injuries. However, these risks are valid for any form of high intensity exercises, and there are several ways in which you can prevent injuries. For starters, as a beginner, you should only work out in a certified gym, so that a professional can supervise you and make sure that you are working out in the right posture. Moreover, if you suffer from serious health problems, discuss with your physician and see whether there are any exercises that could pose a serious risk to your well-being.