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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    I wonder how many ex-thru hikers are overweight, pre-diabetic, and/or have calcium built up in their arteries? I bet it is very common.
    I wonder how many start that way? A lot actually.

    The problem post hike is at the end of the hike, the body is starved, malnourished and used to burning 7-10K calories a day. Then all of sudden, you have access to unlimited amounts of food so you eat and eat and eat. Before you know it, you've blown up like a balloon. After one of my really long LASH hikes, I got addicted to Hot Fudge Sundays from the homemade ice cream stand down the street
    Last edited by Slo-go'en; 04-11-2021 at 12:07.
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  2. #22
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    Not the best link but you can do your own googling...

    https://mosscenterforintegrativemedi...tress-response

    I wonder how many ex-thru hikers are overweight, pre-diabetic, and/or have calcium built up in their arteries? I bet it is very common.
    Decent article, thanks for sharing.

    The obvious key is *don't* become an "ex-thru hiker" !!! This might sound silly, but I mean it. Unless you're severely injured or very, very old, why would anyone who has done a thru hike stop hiking? A decent break might be in order, sure, but literally, just don't stop hiking! Lots of great places to hike year-round.

    If you don't *really* enjoy hiking, there is really not much reason to ever embark on a thru hike.

  3. #23
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    I know a couple of thru hikers who have had post-hike heart disease, and one with glandular issues including adult-onset Type 1 diabetes, all of whom blame the horrible diet and constant over-exertion. I've never asked if they felt it was worth it. It seemed insensitive at the time.

    I've never exercised to prolong my life, just to have a more fun and active one. Of course, I've never exercised with the intent of crippling myself, either.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    I've never exercised to prolong my life, just to have a more fun and active one.
    Same for me for all active pursuits. I run because it makes my day better. I hike because it’s the best form of travel I know. I don’t fear death but I do fear debility, and I hope being active delays or prevents debility.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    Same for me for all active pursuits. I run because it makes my day better. I hike because it’s the best form of travel I know. I don’t fear death but I do fear debility, and I hope being active delays or prevents debility.
    Bicycling is my favorite form of travel. I commuted my entire work career by bike. Work mates couldn't imagine why I would take the risk of cycling during rush hour traffic. I couldn't imagine sitting in a car all those hours every week. Being fit enough to start a thru-hiking career after I retired was an unanticipated benefit of all that daily exercise.

    My young nephew told me about a new meme, "Sitting is the new smoking." I couldn't agree more.

    Sorry about the thread drift.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  6. #26
    International Man of Mystery BobTheBuilder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    I found the following excerpt interesting:

    The researchers regret that they did not take further measurements a month or more after the hike, to see if Heinbockel's vascular condition bounced back.
    "We don't know how persistent these effects are," Craighead says.
    I caught the exact same thing. What was stopping them from taking those measurements now?
    "Waning Gibbous" would be a great trail name.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    This is being on the right track - finding solutions to balancing Cortisol levels and chronic stress by: resting enough, getting high quality uninterrupted sleep, reducing sleep distractions such as night time lights, noise, and turning off the ph or limiting usage right before bed, not always backpacking mindlessly as a run away freight train/pacing oneself as conditions change/practicing mindfulness, limiting alcohol, caffeine, excess sugar, and abundance of highly processed food, and reducing stress by approaching thru hiking as a contemplative meditative walk connecting with Nature as Shinrin yoku is practiced in Japan, adopting a world view of not being fearful of Nature but learning to cooperate practically with it as humanity is part of nature not separate from it, practicing deep breathing and meditation to reduce anxiety, getting a massage or massaging one's muscles, playing relaxing music, associating with positive people rather than the Debbie Downer crowd, and prioritizing joy, gratitude, and humor.

    Chronic high cortisol levels is not a standard for all thru hikers or those who have never hiked. It can be a result of abusing oneself through lifestyle choices off trail that are carried over to on trail life.

    I stupidly failed to consider that some start a thru hike would be fat, insulin resistance, hosed up leptin signaling, and generally messed up metabolic health. However, I think the possibility of finishing messed up isn't unrealistic. Paradoxically, Doctors will see your lean body with pronounced vascularity and equate fitness with good health, and that is not necessarily true.

    Proper balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is rather difficult with the SAD and also not so easy when backpacking. Cheapo corn oil and high fructose corn syrup are ubiquitous in "junk food" and these are not anti inflammatory. I do not claim to have the perfect diet. Asian women in northern new jersey live to like 95. They walk a lot and they have a distinctly different diet. When I traavelled to Asia, I was like...."why you serving me fish and seaweeds for breakfast and what is this other junk on my plate"

    https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/12/3712/pdf

    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutriti.../omega-3-fats/

    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition...OC_TITLE_HDR_4

  8. #28

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    I took up both long distance backpacking (I'm calling any trip over a week to be "long distance") and running about fifteen years ago. Like Colorado Rob the long term effect of this has been a big increase in "good" cholesterol and no effect on "bad" cholesterol. And my cardio/pulmonary health improved dramatically and is very good for someone my age. That's all for the good.

    But I have experienced one bad thing. About three or four years ago my doctor told me that my blood sugar levels had slowly risen to a point where she considered them to be just shy of "pre-diabetic." I was alarmed. I had fallen into the trap, I think, of thinking that my health had to be good because of how much exercising I was doing. So then I took a hard look at my diet. It was good for the most part but there was no denying that I had increased how much sugar I was consuming since I embarked on my higher-exercise life style. I was eating lots of "energy" bars and other sugary foods on my hikes. I was consuming a lot of sports drinks during and after running or any other other form of cardio exercise. I thought of the sugar as an essential part of my "recovery" associated with exercise.

    So I have made changes. I no longer consume sports drinks at any time. When I eat "recovery" foods after exercise I make a point of trying for the same protein/healthy fat/complex carb balance that I would strive for in a normal meal. I have changed my trail diet, reducing (though not eliminating) added sugars. For instance, I can find some healthy, but more pricey, food bars online that have less than three grams of sugar per ounce rather than the ten grams per ounce you find in a typical Cliff Bar.

    Two years ago my blood sugar showed slight improvement. With my next physical coming up this summer I am hoping that my blood tests will show more improvement yet. It seems like I am seeing less variance in energy levels over the course of a typical day and I am hoping that is a good sign.

    So to conclude, I trust I will continue to exercise as long as my body lets me, and I am sure that will be good for my health, but hopefully I have learned some lessons about nutrition while hiking and in normal life that will keep me healthy in all ways -- I can't assume that good cardio/pulmonary fitness must mean good overall health as well.
    Last edited by map man; 04-16-2021 at 13:44.
    Life Member: ATC, ALDHA, Superior Hiking Trail Association

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post

    why would anyone who has done a thru hike stop hiking?
    If you don't *really* enjoy hiking, there is really not much reason to ever embark on a thru hike.
    lots of reasons people do through hikes - and are hating it by completion, vowing "never again"

    maybe 1/4 of nobos in maine are very down on hiking

  10. #30

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    There are a lot of reasons that people might stop hiking. Family, career, health, where you live, financial, and especially other interests becoming more compelling. Those are mine anyway.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    There are a lot of reasons that people might stop hiking. Family, career, health, where you live, financial, and especially other interests becoming more compelling. Those are mine anyway.
    Exactly life takes over at times and family is first our hobbies are just that
    My love for life is quit simple .i get uo in the moring and then i go to bed at night. What I do inbween is to occupy my time. Cary Grant

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by hobbs View Post
    Exactly life takes over at times and family is first our hobbies are just that
    Very true.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  13. #33

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    Section-hiker chiming in: yeah, it's tough to eat clean on the trail. I use tricks like cold-soaking ten-minute brown rice and/or quinoa instead of boiling Knorr sides, drying my own spinach and throwing a big handful into whatever I'm cooking, adding calories with olive oil, bringing walnuts and other high-omega high-calorie snacks instead of chips, etc. Dark chocolate is good. I also carry supplements like turmeric, K2, and a decent multi. Granted that doing stuff like that pushes you towards mail drops, but I take a couple of prescription meds, so mail drops are a fact of life.

    Stuff's admittedly expensive, but in my experience cheaper than Mountain House.

  14. #34

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    AGAIN, the title is very dishonest. To state that hiking is the problem when it's the food that was being eaten DURING (and likely before and after) the hiking is simply to reinforce a bias against endurance sports ad give people more reasons to keep their lazy self in a very poor physical condition.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  15. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Half View Post
    AGAIN, the title is very dishonest. To state that hiking is the problem when it's the food that was being eaten DURING (and likely before and after) the hiking is simply to reinforce a bias against endurance sports ad give people more reasons to keep their lazy self in a very poor physical condition.
    Improves the odds of social security solvency, I’m all for it.

  16. #36

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    Observations based on one person is hardly a "study". There are a lot of circumstances that could be in play. Vascular issues reported could have been lurking in the shadows of aging and manifested during or just after completing the PCT or diet may have exacerbated an existing condition to the point it became detectable. While this may be enough to start a study I don't see it as being enough to make any claims from despite additional anecdotal evidence.

    A study of this should include many people at different ages and physical conditioning and track more than diet (level of exertion over the course of the study, weather, physical trauma, mental/emotional health, weight loss/gain, and existing medical issues, etc). It's an interesting postulation, but at this point that's about all it is.

  17. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Half View Post
    AGAIN, the title is very dishonest. To state that hiking is the problem when it's the food that was being eaten DURING (and likely before and after) the hiking is simply to reinforce a bias against endurance sports ad give people more reasons to keep their lazy self in a very poor physical condition.
    Very good point.

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