Whether you’re out there climbing, hiking, scuba diving, hunting, fishing, trail running, backpacking, or anything in between, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the experience itself and forget one of the most essential elements to both your success at the sport and health in general—adequate nutrition including essential vitamins.
Most of us know that being physically prepared with the right gear and properly fueled with enough calories are very important when you’re spending time outdoors. But often overlooked is the importance of consuming adequate vitamins, which give us the necessary mental and physical stamina we need for such endeavors. Without vitamins, food can’t be efficiently or effectively turned into the kind of fuel we need to venture out into these harsher environments. So before you pack your backpack, boat, or ATV for the next adventure, consider bringing along the appropriate vitamins with you. Here are five reasons why.
1. Maintaining Mental Alertness
We need our brains at full strength in the outdoors as much as—if not more than—anywhere else. The consequences of mistakes made in the wilderness are far higher than back home, which means you can’t afford to go into autopilot or simply not pay attention when you’re out in the elements.
In fact, being alert is one of the most crucial of our survival skills—our brains have to pay attention to our environments, focus on the tasks at hand, and have enough clarity to make quick judgment calls. Not being alert could result in a helicopter evacuation (or worse!) over something as simple as tripping on a branch while backpacking or trail running. Often you’re far from cell service, making it all the more important to avoid injuries off the grid.
Vitamins like huperzine, phosphatidylserine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid can help with all of this, as they support the brain’s ability to concentrate and function at higher levels.
2. Supplying Essential Vitamins Lacking in Camp Meals
One of the biggest sacrifices that come along with outdoor adventure is good quality food, especially if weight is an issue. Even rafting trips, where boats float downstream with giant coolers, are limited by melting ice and Dutch ovens. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with processed trail mix, energy bars, tortillas, and powdered cheese over pasta, but they’re not ideal in terms of nourishment or energy.
Unfortunately, this is the time when we really need all those vitamins that fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats can provide. A 100 percent complete multivitamin supplement can therefore be an important part in making up for these deficiencies caused by a lackluster wilderness diet. Outdoor sports tend to push our bodies to the edge, whether it be the sport itself or the elements we’re doing them in. The food we eat and the vitamins that help them become fuel, therefore, become more vital than ever, especially on longer adventures.
3. Protection from Extreme Temperatures
One of the biggest challenges with outdoors sports is the unpredictable and often severe weather. Even on a warm summer day, you can find yourself on the edge of frostbite because of a storm moving in before you could find cover. For cold weather sports like skiing, thermal layers are only part of the equation to staying warm. Diet counts, too. High fats like butter, chocolates, peanut butter, and oils can help you stay warm. But again, these foods won’t be as useful if you don’t take the right vitamins to help your body process them efficiently.
While you might think that cold weather is riskier for your body, high temperatures pose a significant threat, too, as your body must work overtime to keep you cool. This means burning more calories and losing water and minerals through excessive sweating. Vitamins like potassium and chloride can be critical electrolytes to help you stay hydrated, as they aid in both the absorption and distribution of water to the body. Glucose is another essential vitamin that helps with blood sugar, while amino acids help the body repair itself after a brutal day of the body being overworked in the heat. While the cold can be dangerous, never underestimate the heat. Any dangerous weather or temperatures can put an enormous amount of stress on our bodies, and vitamins help us to fight back against this stress.
4. Helping Your Body Cope With an Oxygen Depleted Environment
Whether you’re climbing a 14,000-foot peak or diving deep with a tank, oxygen is going to be an issue. Elevation gain and diving both present the body with a number of challenges, especially on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. It’s been found that vitamins E and C can help offset the strain put on the body’s cardiovascular system during a dive. Digestive enzymes can help in dives especially, as the stomach is often challenged before and during dives.
For skiers and alpinists, vitamin E and C can also be helpful with altitude sickness. Oxygen is even more important than food and water, so why not bring along practically weightless vitamins that help with this?
5.Promoting Restful Sleep and Recovery
One of the biggest challenges in the outdoors can be sleep—think of those rocks under your Thermarest, the old sleeping bag that’s lost its loft, and the noises in the night that keep you up. Sometimes it’s hard to sleep outdoors, especially if your body is jacked up on hormones from extreme sports. Vitamins like phosphatidylserine can help stop the hyperactive production of cortisol, which is released when the body and/or mind are stressed. Those adrenaline highs are hard to come down from! But phosphatidylserine can help calm that fight-or-flight syndrome that was kicked in from the day’s activities.
Vitamins weigh next to nothing and won’t break the bank. Given all the preparation, time, and money you’ve probably put into this adventure, why risk its success by skipping something your body needs to perform well?
SurvivaGuard contains 100 percent of all 13 essential vitamins, 11 powerful antioxidants, a special blend of four micronutrients for alertness, peak performance, and recovery, and it is available in a one week “Expeditionary Supply”… it’s the ideal addition to your nutrition supplies.
Fuel your next adventure!
Written by Melanie Hamlett for RootsRated Media in partnership with SurvivaGuard.
Featured image provided by Patrick Hendry