Monday, March 22, 2010

Estimating Energy Cost while Hiking

It's something many people are interested in knowing. How many calories are you really burning while hiking?

In reality, highly accurate estimations are specific to the individual, but there are some basic properties to start with. So, we'll start laying at least a foundation now.

A paper from the Journal of Applied Physiology has looked at how energy expenditure is affected by the slope (grade) while walking (and running). You can read the full study with the link provided. Basically, they put people on a treadmill at different gradients and measure how much oxygen they are consuming. From that, they find an equation relating the relative work performed at a given grade relative to the work performed while walking on flat ground.

Concept: Oxygen Consumed ~ Work ~ Calories Burned

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Does Hiking Pole Weight Matter?

People are always looking for the newest, most advanced technology in any area of interest. Hiking, of course, is included. And people love to get the lightest poles available (as long as they don't break!). But does weight matter?

One study compared hiking poles of three different weights. and found that muscle activity (electromyography) of the biceps brachii and anterior deltoid increased with increasing pole weight. The anterior deltoid assists in flexion of the shoulder (brining your upper arm from your side to in front of you horizontally) and also is needed to resist gravity and the weight of your arm. With a hiking pole with increasing weight, this muscle should increase in activation. The biceps brachii (or just your biceps) work to flex your elbow, and again will be increasingly activated as more load is placed on the hand as your arm is out in front of you.

Lightweight Leki Poles are nice, but is it worth it?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Food / Fluid Intake & Improving Hiking Performance

This article gives a nice overview of some of the things people can do to improve endurance performance right away. I am not promoting Hammer Nutrition - I'm not even sure I've ever had anything made by them - but the article is good.

When preparing for a long, strenuous trek, following such tips about hydration and proper food consumption will undoubtedly make your effort easier and make you feel better doing it.