What to Eat Before, During and After a Hike 

Presented at GHTC Members Night 2011 by Lisa Armstrong, RD, Health and Performance Centre, University of Guelph.

Below are some tips that health professionals have shared with GHTC members to help us before, during, and after a hike:

  • If you will be eating 2 - 3 hours before a hike, have a meal or snack consisting of protein and carbohydrates.
  • If you are eating less than 2 hours before a hike, eat carbohydrates.
  • If the hike will be an intense workout (equivalent to running for 90+ minutes), then avoid foods with fat (such as fries, wing, nuts, peanut butter, cheese, etc.) both before and during the hike.
  • If the hike lasts only a couple of hours it is not necessary to snack/eat on the hike.
  • On longer hikes, trail mix and water is a good snack.
  • Sports drinks are not necessary unless the hike is an intense workout (equivalent to a 90+ minute run).
  • If you will be vigorously exercising the next day, then eat a snack of carbohydrates with a bit of protein within 30 to 45 minutes after the hike. Otherwise normal, good eating patterns after the hike are fine for refueling the body.


Conditioning and Strengthening for Injury Prevention

Presented at GHTC Members Night 2013 by Dr. Sarah Farwell, DC, Dearborn Health Performance & Wellness Centre, New Hamburg


  • Gradually increase fitness activities
  • Balanced fitness program:
    • Low impact cardio
    • Strength training
    • Stretching
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Minimize heel wear during the day
  • Strengthen tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior
    • Walk on heels, walk on toes (with or without weights)
  • Correct structural deformities of the foot with orthotics
  • Wear correctly fitting shoes for your activity, foot type and gait type:
    • ½ inch from great toe to end of shoe
    • Sturdy heel
    • Flexible toe box
  • Stay hydrated
  • Snug fitting clothing and socks
  • Use talc or cornstarch to stay dry, or alternately a lubricant
  • Stretch your calves, shins, hamstrings and quads before every hike
  • Choose a softer walking surface
  • Warm up - walk at a slower pace to start!
  • Increase distance gradually - 10% mileage gain per week


  • Stretch your calves, shins, hamstrings and quads after every hike
  • Refuel with protein and carbohydrates
  • Stay hydrated!


Move More and Sit Less: Live Longer in Good Health

Presented at the 2012 Hike Ontario Summit by Dr. Liana Nolan, MD, Medical Officer of Health for Waterloo Region

  • Walking at 3 mph is considered a "moderate" level physical activity; a minimum of 150 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous physical activity is needed to be considered "active".
    (For good health, bone and muscle strengthening activity is also required twice a week, and add balance enhancement activity if you are over age 65 and have poor mobility.)
  • Being active will add, on average, 2.4 years to your life.
  • Being active, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet will add 6.9 years to your life. If you also reduce stress and excessive alcohol consumption, you add an additional 1 - 2 years.
  • Active people have many more years free of disability compared to non-active people.


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