Take a hike!
Hiking is a great low-impact form of exercise that people of all ages can enjoy, especially together. Walking works out your lower body and helps tune up your cardiovascular system. Plus, it offers a chance to spend some detox time in the great outdoors.
Whether you prefer short, easy hikes or long, challenging ones, keep in mind hiking is still a considerable physical activity. You must make sure you are up to the task. One important way to get in shape is to take time to prepare your body nutritionally.
To get ready for any hike day, get plenty of rest the night before and make sure you eat a balanced diet the day before (and in the morning too, no skipping breakfast!).
Sometimes, however, diet isn’t enough to get you all the nutrients you need for an energetic day on the trail. Consider taking these two nutritional supplements so that you can hike at your peak performance:
Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a natural antioxidant and nutrient that helps the body’s cells to produce energy from food. CoQ10 helps to improve the activity of the body's high-energy tissues, including our skeletal muscles and the heart and brain, while recharging our nervous and immune systems.
Other benefits of CoQ10 are that it promotes healthy aging, reduces blood pressure, fights fatigue and may also help to prevent neurological diseases and certain types of cancer.
The major function of CoQ10 is to transport energy-carrying electrons in our mitochondria, the energy production factories in our body’s cells that break down the foods we eat to create adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the chemical form of energy that fuels everything we do.
A study found that CoQ10 not only enhances exercise performance, but it also improves aerobic power, anaerobic threshold, and recovery after exercise. It’s no wonder that professional athletes often take CoQ10 supplements!
Since hiking is a cardiovascular sport that requires the exertion of our big muscle groups, taking a CoQ10 supplement will support heart health and quick muscle recovery especially after strenuous activity.
CoQ10 may also be beneficial for those hiking at high altitudes since it can help the body manage the decrease in oxygen. If possible, take CoQ10 with meals containing healthful fats such as fish, nuts, avocados or flax oil supplements for maximum effectiveness.
Vitamins are the body’s “spark plugs” when it comes to physical activities, helping the body use the energy it gets from the carbohydrates, protein, and fats that we consume in food.
A lack of crucial vitamins will have a negative impact on physical performance so hikers especially need to make sure they get enough of certain essential vitamins like Vitamin K which provides 80 important nutrients, promotes a healthy heart and keeps bones strong.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is present in the human body’s intestines and comes in two forms, K1 and
K2. Vitamin K1 is important for controlling blood clotting and preventing blood loss during injuries by transporting calcium around the body.
Vitamin K2 is also known as menaquinone and it helps our bodies absorb calcium from food, which in turn, helps in the maintenance and formation of healthy bones in addition to preventing osteoporosis. It’s also important for keeping the heart healthy since it transports calcium into the bones where it belongs and keeps calcium out of the arteries to prevent calcification or "hardening of the arteries.”
To illustrate the effectiveness of this supplement, The Journal of Nutrition published research based on an analysis of over 7000 participants that tracked how those who increased their vitamin K1 and K2 intakes over almost five years, had a 43% to 45% reduced risk of overall mortality compared to those who didn’t increase their Vitamin K. In a follow-up study, participants who increased their K2 intakes had a 59% lower risk of death from cancer.
In addition, the benefits of Vitamin K2 on heart health and aging was proven in a study by Vitamin K expert, Dr. Cees Vermeer who found that long-term use of K2 has a positive impact the heart in healthy postmenopausal women by helping to reduce the stiffening of artery walls and improving the elasticity of blood vessels.
Vitamin K1 is plentiful in leafy greens but it’s hard to get enough K2 in our diets to reap any health benefits. K2 is found in foods like grass-fed dairy products, liver and other organ meats, egg yolks and natto, a pungent, fermented Japanese soy product. However, most people don’t eat enough of these foods and K2 cannot be recycled by the body like K1 can so a K2 deficiency can occur within a week which can easily put our bone health at risk, especially for women.
This is why it’s very important to take a Vitamin K2 supplement. K2 produced from animal sources is known as MK-4 (menaquinone-4) while K2 from bacterial sources is called MK-7 (menaquinone-7). Health experts recommend taking supplements with K2 MK-7 instead of MK-4 since MK-7 is usually made from natural, organic sources.
So have a beautiful day hiking, consider boosting your nutrition with CoQ10 and Vitamin K, and don't forget to hydrate!