How to Train for Backpacking

June is National Get Outdoors Month. Here at MDA, we’re spending the next couple weeks teeing you up to have your best summer yet in the great outdoors with posts to inspire you to get into nature.

Today we’re talking about how to train for backpacking. Let’s start with the most obvious question: what IS backpacking? Backpacking is simply multi-day hiking where you carry all your gear on your back.

Say you’re going out for a day hike carrying water, food, and basic survival gear, but you return to your car the same day you set out. That’s not backpacking.

If you’re trekking across the country, but someone else is sherpaing your gear from one sleeping spot to the next, that’s not backpacking either.

In a nutshell, backpacking is essentially a long hike with more gear and more details to think about because you’ll be spending at least one night—but possibly many more—camping out. I think of backpacking as a kind of endurance sport. As with any endurance sport, you want to train for your event. You probably wouldn’t enter a half-marathon this coming weekend with minimal or no training. You could, but it would hurt a lot less, and your chance of success would be significantly greater, if you took the time to train. Same goes for backpacking.

The good news is, if you already have a solid fitness base, you are well on your way. Now you just need to tailor your training to get ready for your backpacking expedition.

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New and Noteworthy: What I Read This Week—Edition 179

Research of the Week

Among patients with invasive breast cancer, metformin does not seem to help.

“Long COVID” doesn’t appear on any blood tests.

Resistance training and mortality.

Stonehengers ate cattle lung.

The gut regulates emotions in women.

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Do You Sit All Day? Here Are 5 Mobility Exercises You Should Be Doing!

Hi, folks! Enjoy this guest post from my pal Ryan of GMB fitness in which he covers a topic near and dear to my heart: mobility exercises and undoing some of the negative effects of a too-sedentary lifestyle. Take it away, Ryan.

The unfortunate truth of modern life is many of us sit for too long during the day. This is mostly due to office culture that requires us to stay at a desk to get our work finished—even if we work from home. And while you might be combatting this with regular breaks, walks across the office, or even fancy ergonomic chairs and standing desks, it might not be enough to maintain a healthy range of motion throughout your joints.

You need mobility exercises designed to combat all that sitting.

If you’re making time to move and exercise regularly, you know how important your hip, shoulder, and ankle mobility is for deep squats, pullups, lunges, and other full-body movements. Over time, if you’re not actively working on improving and maintaining mobility, it’s easy to lose. Fortunately, we can keep a healthy, functional range of motion starting with these five mobility exercises you can do anywhere.

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Oxalate Dumping: What Do We Know?

By now, you know about oxalates: plant compounds that bind with minerals like calcium and magnesium and form crystals. These crystals deposit in joints, kidneys, prostates, bladders, thyroids, the synovial fluid, and other tissues to cause pain, inflammation, and damage. Oxalate crystals have been linked to issues like kidney stones and arthritis. Many people who are experimenting with the carnivore diet are doing so at least in part to eliminate or reduce oxalates from their diet.
You might read about oxalates, say to yourself “I have some of those issues,” and start eliminating or reducing oxalate content in your diet by eating less (or zero) spinach, sweet potatoes, raspberries, beets, and other high-oxalate foods. But then something happens:

You get joint pain. You get fatigue. Your teeth start developing plaque. You feel stiff and achy and less mobile overall. Urination and defecation are painful, even “grainy.”

Everything was supposed to be better. These are the symptoms avoiding oxalates was supposed to improve. What’s going on?

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Hindsight is 20:20 – What You Wish You Had Known Sooner

A couple months ago, I asked the Instagram audience what they wish they had known sooner in terms of taking care of their health. I really enjoyed hearing what you all had to say, so I’m going to share some of the replies here.

My motivation for asking was two-fold. One was simple curiosity, the other personal. Now that I’m a grandparent, I find myself thinking more and more about how to get the Primal message out to the younger generations so don’t have to spend their middle age or retirement years trying to fix problems that could have been prevented. How can I (and indeed, all of us) support parents who want to build a solid foundation of health for their kids? What information and interventions would be the most impactful for today’s youth?

While I like to think that we’ve made a dent in the problem with Mark’s Daily Apple, Primal Blueprint, and Primal Kitchen, there’s still a lot of work to be done to improve the average person’s health. I’m sharing these responses with the hope of spurring more conversation, more brainstorming, and, dare I say, more change in the future.

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Air Fryer Green Beans – Quick and Easy Recipe!

The air fryer is already your favorite appliance for making chicken wings and crispy Brussels sprouts, but you haven’t unlocked its full potential until you try this quick and easy air fryer green beans recipe. Flavorful, crispy green beans are the perfect addition to your next game day smorgasbord. Trying to get your kids to eat more veggies? Look no further than this fun finger food. Serve these air fryer green beans with Primal Kitchen Ranch Dip to tempt even the pickiest eater. (What kid doesn’t love dipping?)

Although you can air fry frozen vegetables, this recipe works best with fresh, firm green beans. Try it and let us know how it turns out!

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