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Weighing The Potential Health Risks Of Thru Hiking

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Almost 12 hours of cardio a day coupled with endless time in the fresh mountain air make for a pretty healthy lifestyle, right? Unfortunately, this may not always be the case.

It’s easy to see that wandering is a healthier activity than many of the “normal” hobbies in society. However, weeks of vigorous exercise can have negative effects on your body in several ways. Although many hikers end their hikes significantly leaner and fitter, these changes are not always healthier and can sometimes have lasting effects on your body after the hike. Between injuries that can take months – if not a lifetime – to heal, poor diet and environmental hazards, hiking can pose more health risks than meets the eye.

Injuries

It almost goes without saying that injuries are common among thru hikers – between sprains, broken bones, torn muscles and overuse injuries, it’s not surprising that many thru hikers continue to experience discomfort months or years after their trip. In many cases, these symptoms are mild and may include a tender knee or ankle that is easily sprained. For some hikers, however, these injuries can be enough to throw them off the trail during their hike and prevent them from many forms of outdoor recreation for life. Regular stretching and targeted rest days can help take some pressure off the body, and contacting a physical therapist or doctor can help alleviate any symptoms that may persist in the world after the trail.

Risk of smoke and wildfire

Due to the increasing intensity and regularity of forest fires, many hiking organizations are now warning that hikers who want to take a western route should include smoke and fire in their route every year. Although hiking in the forest fire season carries many risks, one of the most notable is smoke inhalation. Wildfire smoke is unique in that it contains fine particles that can settle in your lungs, causing chest pain, coughing, wheezing, and more. Hikers with heart problems seem particularly sensitive to the harmful effects of smoke and should be aware of these risks if they choose to hike in the western United States. Unfortunately, wildfire smoke can travel hundreds of kilometers, which means you can encounter the ill effects even while hiking in a fire-free area. If you want to keep hiking on smoky days, wearing a mask or T-shirt over your mouth and nose can protect your lungs from particles.

diet

While it may seem counter-intuitive given the enormous amount of exercise hikers get every day, new anecdotal research suggests that poor diet along the way can be detrimental to your health. Decreased arterial health – which is a sign of increased risk of stroke and heart disease – was severe throughout the person’s body mail, and certain internal parts of the body appeared to have aged “several decades” over the course of the migration. While this data is still new and has only examined one hiker along a PCT thru hike, it is still noticeable enough for current and future hikers to reconsider the typical “thru hiker” diet of ramen, little debbies, and candy bars . We know these high-calorie foods can be optimal when you’re trying to save weight and money, but try opting for healthier alternatives like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to help refuel your body during your hike.

Health after the trail

If you’ve ever finished a long distance hike, you know that post-trail depression can be overwhelming and can lead many former hikers to seek treatment for anxiety, depression, and a variety of mental illnesses. In addition to the mental tolls of life after the trail, many hikers end up gaining weight again as their bodies get used to not hiking large numbers of kilometers each day. This weight gain can cause a myriad of health problems across the board, and even exacerbate feelings of post-trail depression.

Disease risk

Between ticks, mosquitoes and prolonged exposure to the sun, there are numerous diseases along our country’s hiking trails that can pose a great risk to hikers. Mosquitoes are common in all 50 US states and are known to spread their most common disease – West Nile virus – across the country. The West Nile isn’t the only concern, however, these pesky insects also spread dengue, zika, malaria, and chikungunya to various areas of the United States each year. Both Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are now transmitted by multiple species of ticks and can cause life-long illness – or even fatality – in bitten hikers. Plan to apply bug spray every night and check for ticks or new bites before rolling into your sleeping bag. Many of these insect-borne diseases can be treated if detected early. So see a doctor at the first sign of nausea.

In addition, prolonged sun exposure can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer, even if you’re good at reapplying sunscreen. It is advisable to alternate between wearing long sleeves and limiting your time in the sun whenever possible.

At the end of the day, there’s no denying that hiking can help you lose weight and encourage you to live healthier, more active lifestyles. Although there are several aspects of long-distance hiking where the health benefits can be outweighed by potential risks, hiking is still a mostly healthier activity – for both your mind and body – than being at your desk for 8-10 hours a day to sit.

Regardless, it is always wise to take extra precautions by checking for ticks, aiming for a healthier diet, and stretching every night to keep your muscles supple. After all, many successful thru-hikers dream of more trails after their hike and you want your body to be healthy enough to handle any future adventures that you have up your sleeve in the future.

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Whole Grains Health

4 Positive Changes to Make in 2022

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(Family Features) Before you completely overhaul your lifestyle, remember that positive change may just be a few simple steps away. Starting small with achievable goals can help you stay on track throughout the year.

drink more water
Preventing dehydration, maintaining normal body temperature, and lubricating joints are all benefits of drinking enough water every day. Try to carry a reusable bottle as a reminder, choose water over sugary drinks and opt for water when eating out.

learn to cook
If you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, start with simple recipes that don’t force you to sacrifice taste. After all, it’s easier to stick to a meal plan when you enjoy the foods you’re preparing. For example, Baja Fish Taco Bowls take just 20 minutes for a flavorful, freshly-seasoned family meal, and Mediterranean Rice Bowls with Zucchini Fritters are a satisfying step toward meatless meals at home.

Eat more whole grains
Skip refined grains and instead opt for whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, which offer a fuller package of health benefits. You can count on options like Success Rice’s Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice and Tri-Color Boil-in-Bag Quinoa, which are ready in just 10 minutes, to take the guesswork out of cooking while giving home cooks more time to focus to give on uplifting crockery for loved ones.

Create a nutrition plan
Creating weekly menus can help you avoid drive-through by scripting meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, it makes grocery shopping easier (and less frequent) as you can buy all the ingredients you need for the week ahead in one go. Encourage family members to offer suggestions so the planning process doesn’t become overwhelming.

For more delicious recipe inspiration, visit SuccessRice.com.

Mediterranean rice bowls with zucchini fritters

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1 bag of Brown Success Rice
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups diced cucumber
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup garlic hummus
  1. Prepare rice according to package directions.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss zucchini with salt; leave on for at least 10 minutes. Place in a colander and squeeze out excess moisture. Pour back into the bowl and stir in the eggs, scallions, dill, and garlic.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, parmesan, baking powder, cumin, and pepper. Stir the dry mixture into the zucchini mixture and mix into a thick batter.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup oil. Portion 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan for each donut. Fry 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown, adding remaining oil as needed. Drain on a tray lined with kitchen paper.
  5. Divide rice among four bowls. Top each with cucumber, tomatoes, feta and donuts. Garnish each bowl with a scoop of hummus.
  6. Substitutes: Hummus can be substituted with prepared Greek tzatziki sauce if desired.

Baja Fish Taco Shells

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 2 bags of Success Tri-Color Quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 white-fleshed fish fillets (5-6 ounces each)
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups of packaged baby kale
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
  1. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season fish with Cajun seasoning and salt. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until fish is lightly browned and beginning to crumble. Put aside.
  3. Whisk together the yogurt, lime zest, lime juice, and cumin in a small bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the quinoa and kale. Divide into four bowls. Top each with fish, sliced ​​avocado and a dollop of yoghurt lime cream.
  5. Substitutes: Taco seasoning or chili powder can be used in place of Cajun seasoning. Arugula or baby spinach can be used instead of kale.

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New year, new workout routine. Here’s how to avoid burning out

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Nisha Sharma/EyeEm/Getty Images

We’ve all heard about it work-related burnout, whether from personal experience or from others who have experienced it, and it’s a real threat to your mental and physical health. However, burnout is not solely limited to work-related endeavors. It can also happen on a physical level when you start a new exercise routine and go a little too hard at first.

Here’s the real catch: Workout burnout isn’t just for fitness newbies — it can happen to anyone. When you start a new exercise routine (even if you’re in shape from other types of exercise), you can burn out right from the start if you don’t take the right steps to recover and allow your body to properly adjust to the new workout you are about to do incorporate into your fitness routine.

“Whenever you start a new exercise program, whether it’s HIIT, running, or Pilates, you can expect your body to experience a natural type of ‘shock to the system,'” says Brooke Taylor, certified trainer and founder of Taylored Fitness. “Every time you incorporate a new type of exercise into your workout, you’re recruiting the muscles in a different way,” says Taylor.

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You may be thinking, if you’re already in shape, why is it taking longer than normal to recover from exercise? Or maybe you’re worried you’re not making the progress you want because you’re so sore all the time. Here’s why: When you pick up a new exercise routine, such as Pilates, when you’re used to running, your body uses different muscles or uses them in a different way than it’s used to. “Running activates your fast-twitch muscle fibers to hit the ground and accelerate, while Pilates activates the small intrinsic muscle fibers that surround your core, spine, glutes, etc. This can make you more tired or sore from another type of activation,” explains Taylor.

If you’re feeling excessively sore or tired after a workout and are concerned that you’re not in shape or making progress, don’t worry. “Actually, it just means you add variety to your workout,” says Taylor. And it’s a good thing to add variety to your workouts, by the way. “It’s very important that you incorporate other modalities of cross training to prevent injury and muscle imbalances and to maintain proper alignment. The same repetitive motion over time can lead to increased stress, leading to tissue breakdown and causing injury,” says Taylor. All of this simply means that doing one workout at a time isn’t good, and variety is a good thing.

Read on to find out how you can help your body adapt to a new exercise routine and avoid burnout.

Group of students in pilates reformer class

Each time you start a new exercise routine, you use different muscles, which can leave you feeling even more sore.

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5 Steps To Adapting To A New Workout (Whether You’re In Shape Or Out)

“Every time you add something new, there’s a good chance you’ll get a little sore from shocking the body. You’re training the body in a different range of motion, recruiting muscle fibers in a different way, and challenging your proprioceptive system, and you might feel a little down,” says Taylor. But all of this can be worked through with the right adjustment, including the following steps that Taylor designed to help you avoid injury and adapt well.

Use a foam roller before each workout

“Make sure you take the time to do a foam roller before each workout,” says Taylor. “Self-myofascial release will dissolve any muscle attachments in the body and lengthen the muscles back into what I like to call a ‘neutral state.’ That way you don’t compensate as much when adding load and it gives the weaker muscles a chance to recruit with forced control and precision.

Warm up properly

“Make sure you take the time to warm up properly. Especially if you’re doing HIIT, running, or some other high-intensity workout to give the body time to get the blood flowing,” says Taylor. She suggests warming up on a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stairmaster, or doing dynamic mobility exercises. “Especially during the colder months, when your muscles are naturally tighter and your joints might be a little more sore, the last thing you want to do is go from 0 to 100.”

Stretch after every workout

“After each workout, make time for static stretching. This helps bring the muscles back to a neutral state and relieves some of the lactic acid buildup,” says Taylor. She also recommends holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and avoiding pushing your stretch too far or beyond your flexibility threshold.

Rest and have a good rest

“Listen to your body and when you need a break – take a break and have an active rest day in between. Recovery is key to building muscle, improving performance and maintaining the body’s longevity,” says Taylor. You can also try an Epsom salt bath to relax your muscles and body.

Don’t forget good nutrition

What you eat before and after your workout is also key to feeling good and recovering. “Don’t skip meals. Make sure you’re eating every 2 to 4 hours and incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your diet, lean meats, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains,” says Taylor. “The most important thing is that you stay hydrated and replenish your fluids.”

Check out the Amazon Halo View, the company’s first fitness tracker with a screen

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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Liver Fat Is Directly Linked to This Disease, New Study Says — Eat This Not That

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A fatty liver can also have serious effects on your blood sugar levels, according to a new study from Brunel University London.

The researchers reviewed MRI scans of 32,859 people, who looked closely at the size of their livers and pancreas. The researchers relied on a type of method of measuring gene function to study cause and effect, called Mendelian randomization.

Not only did the scientists learn that people who are genetically predisposed to store fat in the liver are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but it was shown that every 5% increase in liver fat increased that risk by 27 % elevated.

“Our results encourage better treatment for people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and provide evidence for the multiple benefits of weight loss and better screening for diabetes risk in these people,” said lead study author Dr. Hanieh Yaghootkar issued a press release.

The Cleveland Clinic defines NAFLD as a condition affecting one in three adults who are not heavy drinkers. While the cause of this type of liver disease is unknown, obesity and diabetes are considered likely risk factors.

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“I’m not surprised by these results, as NAFLD has been shown to be a key factor in insulin resistance,” said Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT, a New Jersey-based nutritionist and author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet. “It makes sense that even small accumulations of fat in the liver would, in turn, increase insulin resistance and thus the risk of type 2 diabetes.”

Additionally, she believes this current study offers tremendous value as it points to the importance of focusing on the prevention of excess fatty tissue in the liver centered on your diet. “Some research suggests that coffee may protect against liver damage from fat accumulation. So if tolerated, drinking up to two cups a day can be beneficial,” says Palinski-Wade.

However, she’s quick to add that stirring in the sugar and cream “can speed up fat buildup in the liver. Instead, enjoy black coffee or sweeten it with flavors like cinnamon or vanilla extract.”

In addition to reducing total sugar intake, Palinski-Wade also advises limiting alcohol consumption. “Following a Mediterranean diet high in plant-based fats, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and oily fish may be the best strategy for reducing fat in the liver,” she says.

Also, consider adding more high-fiber foods to your plate like broccoli, berries, apples, and plenty of leafy greens and legumes. “Fiber may help reduce fatty deposits in the liver while also helping to promote stable blood sugar levels and fight insulin resistance,” says Palinski-Wade.

“One study found that spinach, in particular, may reduce the risk of NAFLD, while the resistant starch found in legumes may also help reduce NAFLD,” concludes Palinski-Wade.

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