Backpacking Improves Blood Chemistry?
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James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Backpacking Improves Blood Chemistry? on 07/11/2010 07:08:37 MDT Print View

I found a study on www.pubmed.gov on a single individual's experience on a 118 day appalachian Trail hike on his blood chemistry and other indexes of health.

He lost weight, lost fat, and greatly improved his blood cholesterol. When will backpacking become covered by health insurance?
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20030443

Wilderness Environ Med. 2009 Winter;20(4):347-52.
A long-duration (118-day) backpacking trip (2669 km) normalizes lipids without medication: a case study.

Devoe D, Israel RG, Lipsey T, Voyles W.

College of Applied Human Sciences, 214 L.L. Gibbons Building, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1501, USA. devoe@cahs.colostate.edu
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of a long-distance backpacking trip on body composition, weight, blood lipids, and lipoproteins. METHODS: Single-subject (male, aged 49 years) study of an experienced backpacker who hiked 118 days on the Appalachian Trail. Outcome measures that were assessed pre-hike and post-hike included body fat (%) by hydrostatic weighing and skinfold assessment, height and weight, body mass index (BMI), circumference measurements (umbilicus, anterior suprailiac, maximum hip, greater trochanter, minimum waist, umbilicus/anterior suprailiac ratio), and blood pressure (systolic and diastolic at rest and peak). Dietary analyses (total kilocalories, protein, carbohydrate, fat, cholesterol, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, dietary fiber) were conducted pre-hike, on days 54 through 56, and on days 98 through 100. Blood lipids and lipoproteins (triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein) were measured pre-hike, on day 89, and post-hike. RESULTS: Pre-post differences showed decreases in body weight, from 85.3 kg to 73.9 kg (-11.4 [-13.4%]); percent body fat, hydrostatic weighing, from 25.18 to 14.31 (-10.87 [-43.2%]); percent body fat, skinfolds (7-site), from 23.79 to 11.61 (12.18 [-51.2%]); and BMI, from 29.37 to 25.46 (-3.91 [-13.3%]). Pre-post differences in blood lipid changes over the course of 118 days were as follows: triglycerides (mg x dL(-1)) fell from 319 to 79 (-240 [-75%]); total cholesterol (mg x dL(-1)) fell from 276 to 196 (-80 [-29%]); high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (mg x dL(-1)) rose from 46 to 63 (+17 [+37%]); low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (mg.dL(-1)) fell from 167 to 118 (-49 [-29%]); LDL/HDL ratio fell from 3.63 to 1.87 (-1.76 [-48%]); and total cholesterol/HDL ratio fell from 6.00 to 3.11 (-2.89 [-48%]). CONCLUSION: The physical activity and diet associated with an extended backpacking adventure can considerably reduce and clinically normalize blood lipids and lipoproteins without medication and can very positively affect body composition and weight.

PMID: 20030443 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Backpacking Improves Blood Chemistry? on 07/11/2010 15:30:31 MDT Print View

Translation:

Did comprehensive pathology analysis of his body, found the results showed he was unhealthy, went on a long walk, repeated pathology and found an improvement, made a research paper out of the before and after measurements.

Comment:

We need a research publication to tell us this ???????

Cheers

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Backpacking Improves Blood Chemistry? on 07/11/2010 16:00:15 MDT Print View

"We need a research publication to tell us this ???????"

With a surfeit of PhD's on the market, low hanging fruit tends not to remain on the tree for long. ;}

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Backpacking Improves Blood Chemistry? on 07/11/2010 16:13:34 MDT Print View

Had a friend in college whose PhD was in frisbee dynamics. Needless to say he spent a lot of time playing frisbee.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Backpacking Improves Blood Chemistry? on 07/11/2010 16:42:00 MDT Print View

"Needless to say he spent a lot of time playing frisbee."

Did it improve his blood chemistry?

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Frivolity Aside on 07/12/2010 09:05:10 MDT Print View

I find that I can get my physician to listen more carefully to something if I have a published medical paper or abstract in hand.

I get even better reactions, if I send it to him/her ahead of the appointment so that he/she isn't hit "cold" and put in a position of needing to quickly respond.

The problem with "commonly known" things is that they sometimes aren't true. Take the "We only use 10% of our brains"... which was quite popular as recently as a decade ago or "You absolutely need to drink 8 eight ounce glasses of water every day".... also pretty popular until recently.

My docs will listen to a journal published article, and not a web page from : www.six-impossible-things-before-breakfast.com [Queen of Hearts website] or an "Everybody knows that...."

Much of the knowledge based business is based on the saying "If it isn't published, it doesn't exist". Academics aren't the only ones.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Backpacking Improves Blood Chemistry? on 07/12/2010 09:17:58 MDT Print View

Did it improve his blood chemistry?

I'm not sure. He also drank a lot of beer and surely his chemistry must have been quite stimulated with all that shaking going on. I'm sure it improved his circulation! He ran around in circles in the field next to the dorms a lot.

Sorry James. Too much time spent sitting at a desk in mid-July when all I want to do is get out there for a good, long walk!

I do find that published articles make a difference. Here in Japan I used to get seen by a well-known Japanese diabetes specialist at Japan's foremost diabetes center. They had changed the pen-type insulin syringes and I found the new European designed pen just didn't work, with far too many errors and fiddly handling. I told the doctor my experiences, but he just brushed me off, saying no one else had complained about it (Japanese rarely complain to doctors). I launched into research about the insulin pen from British and German sources and brought all the evidence of problems with the pen to my doctor's attention. Within three months all the insulin pens in Japan had been changed over to one that didn't have the problems.

Edited by butuki on 07/12/2010 09:24:08 MDT.

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
With You In Mind .. on 07/12/2010 10:07:16 MDT Print View

Miguel --

It was with you in mind that I decided to post the article.