In Colorado, locals have a summer passion for climbing fourteeners, mountains taller than 14,000 feet. In fact, Colorado has more than 50 fourteeners! Over this past weekend, my husband and I thought we would be adventurous and give Mt. Elbert a shot; at 14,433 feet it is the tallest mountain in the Rockies. It was a strenuous climb that took us a total of seven and a half hours, but the summit view was well worth it!
One of the necessities of taking on any strenuous activity is fueling the body. When hiking, biking, running, or partaking in any activity for an extended period, the body needs energy from carbohydrates to keep going. Glucose, the primary energy source used by the body, is stored in the liver and muscles and circulates in the blood to continually fuel the tissues. This energy allows the muscles and organs to help you up the mountain or down the road. After a while, if immediate stores of glucose are exhausted, you may feel sluggish and have difficulty continuing. This is what exercise professionals call “hitting the wall;” it means the body has run out of easily accessible energy, and needs a quick boost to keep going.
Indeed, fruit is a great choice for refueling when active. Like most fruit, pears contain a healthy dose of energy – about 100 calories per medium pear. Pears contain small amounts of potassium and other electrolytes, nutrients required for muscle contraction that are lost during perspiration. As well, pears contain micronutrients that aid the body’s fuel cycle. Additionally, pears are portable and make an easy take along snack for any activity. They are compact, fresh and palate-pleasing, leave little waste to carry, and travel well.
Along the route to the top of Mt. Elbert, we took several breaks to rest, rehydrate, and refuel. We brought many energizing snacks, but the most refreshing were definitely the Red Bartlett pears we munched on the summit. After about four and a half hours to reach the top, parched and hungry, we relaxed, reveled in the view, and relished every bite of our succulent pears. Indeed, at that moment, nothing could have tasted better. So the next time you head out the door for some summer fun and need a quick and refreshing burst of energy, pack a pear for pep!