CommunityWalking Club


Walking Club 101: Fueling your body for a walk

Walking Club 101: Properly fueling your body for a walk
Posted at 5:24 AM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 05:31:10-04

Sarah Phinney has been showing you parks and trails across the Tampa Bay region since July through her #WalkingClub series. Now, she's getting frequently asked questions in the Walking Club Facebook group answered.

Eating right is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and allows you to get the most out of your walks. Sarah Phinney sat down with Dr. Tanuja Sharma, a physician with Tampa General Hospital, to get some of your questions about nutrition answered.

Q: What food should I always have in my refrigerator?

Dr. Sharma says it’s important to have a different variety of fruits and vegetables. Focus on buying different colors.

“I’m not gonna tell you which ones to get, but if you find your favorite, then go for it,” she said. “I try to tell people to eat each color of the rainbow and figure out different recipes that you enjoy and that you’ll find yourself eating often.”

In general, Dr. Sharma suggests aiming for a plant-based diet.

“The reason why is because meat and dairy is highly processed in the way that it is made. There’s hormones, preservatives and pesticides,” she said. “A lot of that can basically affect our immunity and cause a lot of havoc on our health.”

Q: What should my lunch/dinner plate look like?

Make sure your meal is well-balanced with carbs, fats and proteins.

Dr. Sharma says half of the plate should have veggies of different colors. Use one quarter for fish or lean meat. The remaining quarter can be a whole grain, like quinoa or rice.

How much water should I drink every day?

Dr. Sharma says this differs based on your sex, age and activity level.

“A general rule of thumb is that you should try to hydrate enough until your urine is really light yellow or very clear, “ Sharma said. “That means that your body is hydrated and your kidneys are filtering out what it needs to.”

Or, she says you can calculate the amount you should drink by dividing your weight by two. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink 70 ounces.

What should I eat before/after a hike?

Before you hike, Dr. Sharma says you want to make sure you have enough fuel.

She advises eating something 30 to 90 minutes before you set out. Oatmeal, bananas, smoothies, nuts, trail mix and granola bars are all good options.

She suggests eating one to two hours after to refuel and replenish your body.

Get involved in Walking Club!

Post photos of your adventures, ask questions and learn about upcoming #WalkingClub stories in Sarah’s Walking Club group on Facebook!

You can also keep up with Sarah on Instagram and Twitter.