These are the Foods to Refuel and Re-Energize After a Trek
Hiking can be one of the best hobbies to take up. It offers good, low impact exercise like walking, with minimal equipment – all you need are supportive sneakers! You also get to do it at scenic outdoor locations that add to the enjoyment of the experience. Not only that, but the varying terrain on some trails can make things a little more challenging and more interesting than a walk around the block.
When preparing for a day on the trail, many of us pay a lot of attention to what to eat before a hike. This is important because your body needs fuel for the workout that comes with hiking. With that being said, so much attention goes to what to eat before and during a hike that many of us fail to consider the types of food we need afterward.
A good hike consumes a lot of energy and it works out different muscles. When the hike is done, you need to think about replenishing your body’s fuel supplies and eating foods that can help your body recover from a day of hard work and exercise.
When You Finish
At the end of a hike, the first thing you want to do is rehydrate your body. You should definitely bring water on the trail and drink throughout the day, but your body will still need some water at the end of the day. A good recommendation is to drink about eight ounces of water in the first half-hour after the hike.
To get the best recovery result, you should eat something in the first half-hour after a hike. Research has shown that muscles are more receptive to glycogen resynthesis within the first 30 minutes after exercise. Eating a granola bar or some tuna and crackers can be a good way to start refueling your body at the end of a hike.
When planning your post-hike meal, you want to focus on protein and complex carbohydrates. For carbohydrates, consider foods like pasta, whole wheat bread, a sweet potato or brown rice. For protein, look for foods like lean meat, chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey, eggs or yogurt. You will also want to add some fruits and vegetables to your plate to help restore some of the nutrients that you consumed or sweated out during your hike.
The Next Day
You are probably feeling pretty good about the workout you got the day before and the fact that you made the right food choices afterward. However, this is not the time to overindulge. Your body is still in recovery the next day, so you still need to make smart choices concerning your meals.
When it comes to meals for the next day, look to many of the same foods on the list for your post-hike meal. You want proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables. Maybe a whole-wheat bagel with low-fat cream cheese or a cup of yogurt with a banana for breakfast. A turkey, chicken or tuna sandwich on wheat bread for lunch. At dinner, try to have a nice well-rounded meal that covers all of the food groups.
When you choose the right foods after a hike, you provide your body with what it needs to refuel and recover. This will help you to recover faster from the day of activity and it will also maximize the benefits that come from hiking.