Friday, February 01, 2008

Weight Loss While Hiking

The Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal has a health column called 'The Body Shop' by Bryant Stamford in its 31 January 2008 issue titled "Hard-fought battle; Exercise required for massive fat loss is grueling." The mentions of hiking and the Appalachian Trail are really incidental to his point, summarized in the subtitle. But here's what he says, anyway:
"Here's an example of what an extreme exercise program can do. A reader had asked my advice about how many calories he would need daily to hike the Appalachian Trail, carrying a 40-pound backpack up and down challenging mountainous terrain. To maintain his weight, I estimated 6,000 calories a day. I was pleased to learn from him that when he later consulted the AT guidebook, it also recommended 6,000 calories.

"But that would take an amount of food that would be too heavy to carry, so he settled for an intake of only 2,850 calories per day. He averaged hiking 13.5 miles per day for 12 days. The difference between the 6,000 calories expended and 2,850 calories consumed was 3,150 calories each day.

"One pound of fat stores 3,500 calories. As such, with a 3,150-calorie daily deficit, he should have lost a little less than 1 pound of fat per day. The actual outcome was a loss of 11 pounds in 12 days of hiking.

"This example shows that mega-doses of exercise can accelerate the loss of body fat."
Caveats abound, of course, especially the one that warns 'your mileage may vary.'

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