One of my favorite pastimes is hiking here in Arizona. I can do the deserts in the winter and the mountains in the summer, and all places in between. When I was younger, I used to just hop in the car and tackle any type of hike; moderate, extreme, bushwhacking long, short, medium; never giving much thought to my fitness level. My only concern was to bring enough water. Not so any more, as I found out recently while on a day hike in Sedona with my 14 year-old son Alex. We first bushwacked up a canyon for a couple of hours; no problem. Then I got the bright idea to hike up the east wall of Oak Creek Canyon, What was I thinking? The hike is only a little over a mile in length, but the elevation gain is 1300 feet! I had to stop several times; not for my lack of aerobic strength, but because my haunches (my sitting bones) were on fire. And that was on the way up. Down was no picnic either; my quadriceps (thighs) let me know that they were not happy. Bottom line: the keys to successful hiking are these: Preparing a good aerobic base by taking longer hikes to train your body to use its fat stores (of which I have plenty of); build strength and power by doing shorter hikes on hilly terrain and steep trails (to maintain better alertness and good judgement after extended periods of exertion; and taking the proper nutrition. Fresh fruit such as apples, pears, nectarines, along with honey and fruit juice-these foods don’t require digestion, so their sugars are available for immediate energy. Companies that manufacture specialty sports drinks and energy bars make wild and false claims about energy and hydration. Fruit juice, or honey and water work better (and much cheaper), and they don’t produce the gas and possible bloating that other carbohydrate products create. I mx one tablespoon of honey with 18 ounces of water, and it works great. Note: Shorter hikes (< 1 hour) require only water. I am now better prepared for hikes (I’m supposed to be older and wiser-I have the older part down well), and that’s great, because I love to hike.

I’ve finally got my YouTube account worked out and have posted the video for knee pain help. Check it out. It should be on this website shortly.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.