Walking and Nourishment

B

est Practice

Run or walk a mile, you burn up approximately the same calories. So why exert yourself? But don’t walk too slowly or you lose your momentum and your walking is less efficient. Use your arms, as with Nordic walking, and you use more calories.

The calories you burn depends mainly on your weight – heavier people burn more. To lose weight, you need to increase your activity levels or eat fewer calories each day. It’s as simple as that. The energy you use in walking is equal to your weight multiplied by the distance you walk. Speed is only a factor at faster or very slow walking speeds.

The calories you burn depends mainly on your weight – heavier people burn more. To lose weight, you need to increase your activity levels or eat fewer calories each day. It’s as simple as that. The energy you use in walking is equal to your weight multiplied by the distance you walk. Speed is only a factor at faster or very slow walking speeds.

Calories burned per mile of walking

Calories

Walking and Drinking

Our training with the FFRP, the main body overseeing hiking in France, emphasised the importance of drinking small but regular amounts of liquid during a walk. Feeling thirsty indicates you haven’t been drinking enough, so drink before you get the urge to.

Alternatively, we have also read that for endurance walking, the rule is “Drink when thirsty.” While many people don’t drink enough, some drink too much and suffer from low blood salt or hyponatremia.

In general, the recommendation is…

  • drink around a cup of water every half hour;
  • After walking for over two hours, drink a sports drink that replaces lost body salt (electrolytes);
  • If you can, weigh yourself before and after a long walk. If you have gained weight, you were drinking too much, if you have lost weight, you didn’t drink enough.
  • Admittedly, weighing yourself may not be easy to do whilst hiking in France and staying in hotels. So perhaps you’d better wait until you get back home! Nevertheless, you’ll be hiking whilst eating a southern France diet – can you think of a better mix?

Drinking and walking definitely go together, but what’s the best drink to re-hydrate you after a long days hiking in France? According to the FFRP, it’s a small glass of cold draught lager – une pression. Note, we did say at the end of the day’s hiking, not during!

However, a word of caution here, from our own experience. When you finish a day’s walk you are tired, but on a psychological high. A drink or two is fine, but beware those who drink too much – you won’t sleep and may find yourself shivering during the night as you suffer from heightened dehydration. Re-hydration salts at the ready!

For the record…

Signs of Dehydration

  • nausea;
  • dark yellow urine or no urine;
  • dry and sticky mouth, and
  • dry eyes.

Errors to avoid

  • Start on an empty stomach;
  • Have a heavy lunch;
  • Forget your water bottle, and
  • Gorge yourself on high energy food.

And one final warning – you might find hotels that don’t sell draft beer at all, because there isn’t enough demand for it. Well, it is wine country after all and the preferred aperitif is probably pastis and water.

Click to visit The French Hiker’s Guide to Holidaying in the Hexagon and France self-guided walking, trips, trails, places & themes.