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Is hiking good for your health? We got an expert opinion.

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Curiosity is the root of adventure. You can let it direct you to the next switch, the next show, the next track. Likewise, it might prompt you to ask questions — about everything from the color of the sky to why you’re killing your knees. We collected the most pressing queries and spent weeks searching textbooks, deciphering schemes, and questioning experts for the answers. Results? Dozens of factual facts that will impress even your most read hiking partner and leave you with a new appreciation for our world. (Here, we answer questions about physiology. Check out our deep dives into gear and nature.)

Is hiking bad for me?

Depends on your point of view. Most hikers gain leg muscles (usually good) and lose weight temporarily (sometimes fine). A case study found that the arteries of a hiker narrowed during walking (not well), possibly due to dietary changes. Many hikers finish hiking early due to injury (bad), and some develop chronic joint pain (definitely bad). However, objective research is limited. The only real evidence of negative health effects? cavities; On a picnic tour, “You are more likely to eat something all the time. “Teeths need time to recover from drunkenness,” explains Karel Sapp, a dentist and record runner through the hiker. “My oral hygiene while trying to score a PCT was the worst . I was too tired to brush my teeth, I was probably eating half a pound of candy and drinking at least a gallon of sugar a day.”

Fortunately, says Sabi, you’ll usually live a week or so of substandard brushing without tooth decay. But don’t push it: “Effect [chronically poor oral hygiene] Huge and to this date it is still very much underestimated,” says Sapp. “It creates constant inflammation and your body is constantly fighting it.” Not something you want to worry about down the road.

Why don’t I ever defecate on backpacking trips?

“This is an issue with fiber and water,” says Aaron Owens-Mayhew, registered dietitian and founder of Backcountry Foodie, a recipe and meal planning resource for backpackers. Hikers tend to eat more processed foods, which are naturally lower in fiber. You’re probably eating more fiber and drinking more water at home, which keeps you more organized.”

How can I get rid of lactic acid faster?

“Lactic acid cleanses the body very quickly,” says Jimmy Bovey, MD, a physical therapist in Denver. “Moreover, the pain is not caused by lactic acid or its byproduct, lactate, but by fatigue of the muscles themselves.”

While you can’t actually reduce the amount of lactic acid (or hundreds of other byproducts) your body produces during exercise, you can reduce the feeling of “burning” by building endurance, says Buffy. the trick? Regular physical training. (Sorry, there are no shortcuts here.)

How do blisters actually form?

very sensitive? This is your last warning. When your foot touches the ground, the outer layers of skin — which stick to your shoes by friction — move in one direction, and your inner layers move in the other. This causes shear stress, which pulls one layer of skin away from the other. The resulting pressure crack is filled with a clear bodily fluid called serum. The result: a padded pocket that protects the skin’s inner layer while it recovers, if left unfolded.

Studies have shown that in a room with two people, mosquitoes prefer one over the other – unless the two are identical twins (i.e. they have exactly the same genes). Then the mosquitoes split 50/50 – and no preference was shown. (Photo: Zohar Lazar)

Why are some people more susceptible to mosquito bites than others?

It’s largely genetic, says J. Mandela Fernandez Grandon, a UK-based entomologist. Skeeters are very sensitive to odors, and different people have different bacteria that inhabit the skin and produce those odors. Mosquitoes also tend to be more attracted to men than women because men have a higher surface temperature and more skin area. Fernandez Grandon’s advice for mosquito magnets? “Travel with a friend who is more attractive to mosquitoes than you are,” he laughs.

Is Lightning Mode Really Preventing My Body From Conducting Electricity?

this is difficult. The prevailing theory was that if a nearby lightning strike traveled across the ground, keeping your feet together would prevent electricity from bending up through one leg and down the other, causing your heart to slide in the way. the truth? Bath, lighting pose, shavasana – get into whatever position you like, but stroke close enough to find its way through your body. Instead, experts recommend moving around to find shelter and avoid tall objects, which can sometimes produce an upward current of electricity during electrical storms, attracting nearby blows.

Do Electrolytes Really Do Anything?

Electrolytes are dissolved mineral ions — usually sodium, magnesium, and potassium — that your cells use to send chemical signals and keep fluid levels in balance. So, yes, it is very necessary. As for electrolyte drinks and supplements? Not much. Most research indicates that you get the most minerals from the food you eat; Salty snacks and plenty of water are usually enough to replenish what you lose through sweat.