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  1. #1
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    Default Appalachian Trail Research Project 2007

    You are invited to volunteer for a research project that will examine the physiological and nutritional aspects of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I am interested in individuals who plan to start their thru-hike this spring. To date, no studies have comprehensively studied the physiological and nutritional challenges that thru-hikers face. This information will be helpful for future long distance hikers and the scientific community.

    The plan is to include a variety of pretests in Georgia before you start on the trail and in Maine when you complete your hike. All of the tests are non-invasive. Testing will include aerobic capacity, muscle strength, and body composition. In order to examine the physiological changes on the trail, several measurements would be done during your hike. On the trail testing will include heart rate, blood pressure, steps taken, and body temperature.

    Please contact me if you are interested in more details of the study. Thank you for considering this important project.

    John Davis

    Dr. John E. Davis
    Department of Exercise and Health Science
    Alma College Alma, MI 48801
    E-mail: [email protected] Phone: 989-463-7158

  2. #2
    Formerly CoralRives
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    Default I'm game

    I just e-mailed you.
    "Be good and you will be lonesome" M. Twain

    There is a road, no simple highway,
    Between the dawn and the dark of night,
    And if you go no one may follow,
    That path is for your steps alone

  3. #3

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    Email sent

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston View Post
    Is there any compensation?
    Yes. The knowledge that you have helped others.

    The Weasel
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston View Post
    I meant something actually worth something.
    So did I.

    The Weasel
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdavis View Post
    To date, no studies have comprehensively studied the physiological and nutritional challenges that thru-hikers face.
    Are you sure about that, Dr. Davis?
    Welcome to WhiteBlaze


    And please, if you're not Dr. Davis, try to refrain from answering questions directed to him.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  7. #7
    tideblazer
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdavis View Post
    You are invited to volunteer for a research project that will examine the physiological and nutritional aspects of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I am interested in individuals who plan to start their thru-hike this spring. To date, no studies have comprehensively studied the physiological and nutritional challenges that thru-hikers face. This information will be helpful for future long distance hikers and the scientific community.

    The plan is to include a variety of pretests in Georgia before you start on the trail and in Maine when you complete your hike. All of the tests are non-invasive. Testing will include aerobic capacity, muscle strength, and body composition. In order to examine the physiological changes on the trail, several measurements would be done during your hike. On the trail testing will include heart rate, blood pressure, steps taken, and body temperature.

    Please contact me if you are interested in more details of the study. Thank you for considering this important project.

    John Davis

    Dr. John E. Davis
    Department of Exercise and Health Science
    Alma College Alma, MI 48801
    E-mail: [email protected] Phone: 989-463-7158

    Sounds interesting. I'd like to hear the results, review a draft.

    Nate Olive
    PhD Candidate/hiker trash
    Warnell School of Forest Resources
    University of Georgia
    www.ridge2reef.org -Organic Tropical Farm, Farm Stays, Group Retreats.... Trail life in the Caribbean

  8. #8
    Registered User troglobil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    Yes. The knowledge that you have helped others.

    The Weasel
    Be careful The Weasel, these tyes of statements will make folks doubt you are really a lawyer

  9. #9
    Hug a Trail volunteer StarLyte's Avatar
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    "Nate Olive
    PhD Candidate/hiker trash
    Warnell School of Forest Resources
    University of Georgia"

    I love that second line Wookie. Me too.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by troglobil View Post
    Be careful The Weasel, these tyes of statements will make folks doubt you are really a lawyer
    More than a lawyer, I'm a Scout. The Slogan means things.

    The Weasel
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  11. #11
    Registered User troglobil's Avatar
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    did you go all the way to Eagle? When I was a kid I refused to join, I preferred not to have the group mentality, more the loner type. Now wished one of my kids were a boy so I could do the scout thing.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by troglobil View Post
    did you go all the way to Eagle? When I was a kid I refused to join, I preferred not to have the group mentality, more the loner type. Now wished one of my kids were a boy so I could do the scout thing.
    Yes, I did. And been a Scoutmaster for most of 30 years. You don't have to have the "group" mentality to make Eagle; in fact, most Eagles are far more self-sufficient than those who aren't.

    By the way...if your kids are girls, the Girl Scouts teach the same skills and need members AND leaders. I've been one also, and you'll be missing out if you don't!

    The Weasel
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  13. #13

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    "I've been one also......" says Weasel.

    I'm assuming by this you mean a Girl Scout LEADER and not a Girl Scout.

    If I'm mistaken, please feel free NOT to enlighten us, and no, I DON'T want to see photographs from your Girl Scout period!

  14. #14
    Registered User troglobil's Avatar
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    They are alredy grown, there is hope with grandkids though.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin View Post
    "I've been one also......" says Weasel.

    I'm assuming by this you mean a Girl Scout LEADER and not a Girl Scout.

    If I'm mistaken, please feel free NOT to enlighten us, and no, I DON'T want to see photographs from your Girl Scout period!
    Damn, trapped by my own poor choice of words.

    I'll leave you to your own imagination, Jack. But the photos of me in the Gallery here show me at a time while I was still registered in the GSUSA.

    The Weasel
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by troglobil View Post
    They are alredy grown, there is hope with grandkids though.
    Trog (and others) --

    If you have an interest in backpacking and Scouting, even if you're an antique like me and Trog, call a nearby Troop (Boy OR Girl) and tell them you're an accomplished backpacker. Offer to do a demonstration. They'll love you for it.

    Sorry, Doctor, for taking this off topic. Blame it on a K College grad dissing Alma (which is a FINE school...except that it's not "K").

    The Weasel
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdavis View Post
    To date, no studies have comprehensively studied the physiological and nutritional challenges that thru-hikers face.
    Dr. Davis,

    Didn't Karen Lutz do a nutritional study of thru-hikers in 1982 for her Master's Thesis? I don't believe she measured or quantified physiological performance of individual subjects, but I know she compiled and analyzed a lot of data regarding hiker weight, body fat, caloric intake and requirements, pack weight, etc.

    Not "dissing" your study, as it may well be more comprehensive especially regarding physiological requirements and performance - I simply remember her study concluding the trail is a no win situation from a caloric and nutrition standpoint - you just can't carry enough food, or the necessary ones, to meet the energy expenditure and physical repair requirements needed for a thru-hike. All the subject hikers lost weight; most women lost fat and gained muscle mass as did some men, but many men also lost muscle mass, particularly upper body mass. Their were some interesting conclusions regarding the caloric cost of trying to carry increased food supply vs the energy required to do so. One of these conclusions was that one had to take advantage of eating(gorging) as much town food as possible, just to keep from being completely malnourished.

    I would certainly be very interested in the results of your study and I'm sure you'll get more than enough volunteers. I wish I were in a position to be one this year.

    [I do not know if this was/is the same Karen Lutz who is (or was) a representative with the mid-Atlantic ATC.]

  18. #18
    tideblazer
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Dr. Davis,

    Didn't Karen Lutz do a nutritional study of thru-hikers in 1982 for her Master's Thesis? I don't believe she measured or quantified physiological performance of individual subjects, but I know she compiled and analyzed a lot of data regarding hiker weight, body fat, caloric intake and requirements, pack weight, etc.

    Not "dissing" your study, as it may well be more comprehensive especially regarding physiological requirements and performance - I simply remember her study concluding the trail is a no win situation from a caloric and nutrition standpoint - you just can't carry enough food, or the necessary ones, to meet the energy expenditure and physical repair requirements needed for a thru-hike. All the subject hikers lost weight; most women lost fat and gained muscle mass as did some men, but many men also lost muscle mass, particularly upper body mass. Their were some interesting conclusions regarding the caloric cost of trying to carry increased food supply vs the energy required to do so. One of these conclusions was that one had to take advantage of eating(gorging) as much town food as possible, just to keep from being completely malnourished.

    I would certainly be very interested in the results of your study and I'm sure you'll get more than enough volunteers. I wish I were in a position to be one this year.

    [I do not know if this was/is the same Karen Lutz who is (or was) a representative with the mid-Atlantic ATC.]
    I certainly feel like my body went through a complete metamorphasis on the trail. In some ways it wasn't perfect, but there certainly is a remarkable physical/psychological/spiritual effect of doing something as strange as thru-hiking.

    Certainly a phenomenon worth understanding better.
    www.ridge2reef.org -Organic Tropical Farm, Farm Stays, Group Retreats.... Trail life in the Caribbean

  19. #19
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    Yes, Karen did a masters thesis in 1982 on the topic. I have had several conversations with Karen and she agrees that it was not comprehensive. Also, the focus of her study was more nutritional, this study will include some nutrition but will also include many physiological tests as well. So far I have about 20 subjects who have volunteered. It is the same Karen Lutz that works at the Mid-Atlantic ATC.

    Thanks for your interest in the study.

    John Davis

  20. #20

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    Not terribly invasive, can you check cholesterol while you're at it?

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