Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

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Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby Wollemi » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 7:29 am

My local outdoor 50m pool (Richmond, in NW Sydney) closed for the season days ago. I was swimming a kilometre/20 laps in the end - and even taught myself tumble-turns to link all laps (from a couple of 2 minute Youtube videos).
Ran/jogged parkrun on Saturday morning upon a very flat course (East Richmond). I ran there 4km, then was content with 27 minutes to do that popular 5km. https://www.parkrun.com.au/

On Sunday 24th April, I did my first overnight walk since NYD long weekend. I walked out to Splendour Rock in S Blue Mountains for Monday's Anzac day service with many others.

On arrival at camp, I could not get onto the ground to clear a tent site of stones. Then I had to crawl around in pain through all tendons and muscles of all parts of my legs. Then I could not get back up. Sitting up in my sleeping bag to pee into a bottle gave me terrible cramps in long muscles of my upper legs, akin to a cold sledgehammer.
On getting up, I cramped getting out of my sleeping bag - and I could not stand when emerging from the tent.
On walking out, I was occasionally pain free - and other parties stepped aside to invite me to pass them. Many other people (usually half my age or more), passed me, too.

Why don't physical activities lend themselves to good health in other activities?
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby Warin » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 8:16 am

Different mussel groups for different activities.

I find bicycling uses a different set compared to walking. The cardio vascular system is the same .. so there is that.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 8:24 am

If your running was always on the flat and the walk was up hills/down hills and those hills were steep that does make a big difference in my past experience
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby headwerkn » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 9:26 am

Can confirm that regular bushwalking does not improve running fitness anywhere near as much as people like to tell you ;-)
Good for power hiking uphill and general cardiovascular/aerobic fitness I guess, but that's about it.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 12:29 pm

I cycle, run, walk and play squash and maybe can give some insight.

Depending on your age, your 5km run is not bad at around 5:25 pace, but it’s flat and just 27mins of sustained effort.

With the Splendour Rock walk from the car park, that’s a good 5-6 hours of walking and rests with a significant pack. Further, there’s 650m of cumulative climbs from 570m to 928m max elevation along the easier route one way, many on uneven ground that strain the joints eg. Ankle. So the strain on your body is quite different and way beyond your 27mins of fitness. Compared with your on the flat exercises, your cardio as well as muscle endurance are completely and inadequately developed, your joint and muscles are subjected to far greater strains for far longer than what they are used to, just not in the same league. No surprised of hearing your suffering from the walk.

It’s not true that running does not help walking, they are quite synergistic while cycling legs can be quite different to walking fitness as cyclist don’t use much upper body along with different leg muscle groups. I’d suggest that you continue to work on higher intensity shorter sessions (30mins is the minimum and considered short) but add long distance sessions and climbs to build your endurance. Some weights work may also help if you don’t have any hills to climb on your training runs.


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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 12:34 pm

headwerkn wrote:Can confirm that regular bushwalking does not improve running fitness anywhere near as much as people like to tell you ;-)

But the opposite applies ie. Running can build up one’s bushwalking fitness. Running is an efficient exercise along with impact that helps bone health (and ruin joints amongst those who are susceptible). In comparison to cycling, there’s a 1:3 time efficiency in fitness build up with running.


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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 1:27 pm

It sounds like you did too much on a first walk. Walking for 5-6 hours climbing 650 metres is a lot for a beginner. You could also have an electrolyte shortage. Drinking small amounts of water often with electrolytes at lunch is one way of dealing with this.

It may assist to start each day slowly and keep an even pace as much as possible. I just plod along, similar level of exertion, stopping when I feel like it. When you reach camp, walk around for a few minutes with no pack.

GPSGuided wrote:I cycle, run, walk and play squash and maybe can give some insight.


That's good insight. I ride a bicycle, which one person described as sit down running, minimal stress on the knees. One person was training for a long walk and went running on flat terrain near home. His companions trained on hills, and left him in their wake going up and down.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby miss-linda » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 1:41 pm

Wearing my physiotherapist hat, I'd suggest you add some squats into your home program to help with hill climbing. (and pack some iboprufen for when you need it)
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 2:01 pm

Lophophaps wrote:That's good insight. I ride a bicycle, which one person described as sit down running, minimal stress on the knees.

The often quoted figure for cycling is that the impact force required per pedal stroke is barely 1/5 of what one sustains on running but needs to be sustained over time. Quite different set of physiology. Otherwise the cardio developed is transferable and a good runner can become a strong cyclist over a relatively short period of time.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby sandym » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 2:53 pm

But, the OP is not new to bushwalking only says first overnight hike since NYD, so there could be another explanation. Swimming, although people love it, is non-weight bearing so I think that has to figure in to fitness benefit.

Fitness is multiple things, however, one is aerobic capacity which is metabolically trained and the other is muscular strength and muscular endurance, which is a factor of both muscle size and how well the neurons are all wired together as well as the capacity to buffer lactate.

Are you pain free now? Otherwise I would be looking at getting a medical opinion. I don't know how old you are but I would be wondering if you have some kind of nerve issue going on. An MD or physio could help.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby Wollemi » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 2:56 pm

Lophophaps wrote:It sounds like you did too much on a first walk. Walking for 5-6 hours climbing 650 metres is a lot for a beginner. You could also have an electrolyte shortage.


Er... now I am embarrassed. I am not a beginner, having been a member of at least eight different outdoor clubs.

Not a beginner, having lead a few multi-pitch canyoning trips, and walked the Overland Track in early winter, alone, and sold alot of mountaineering gear last year.
I do spread myself too thinly, perhaps (about to list for sale three pairs of XC skis and 5 windsurfing sails).

I was also wasted when on a three day walk to the Kowmung River on an overgrown track in summer this year.
Still trying for Keto/18:6 Intermittent Fasting, I had a minimal breakfast - but did consume 4 eggs and fried mince on the way in, then added salt to my pre-dinner soup.
Maybe it is too late - perhaps I ought ignore Michael Mosley's otherwise seemingly sensible educational advice about skipping breakfast, at least on days that I am on a full-pack walk.

Maybe it is just me and my genetic type - for example, I recall travelling in groups back to Sydney after island-hopping Bass Strait by SK.
On all three occasions, I was wasted at the finish and sleepy for the multi-day travel home... while all the other guys had energy to spare.
These sea kayak trips were prior to me ever considering LCHF diets / Keto / 18:6 diet, which I do crudely.

A low-carbohydrate diet has been found to reduce endurance capacity for intense exercise efforts, and depleted muscle glycogen following such efforts is only slowly replenished if a low-carbohydrate diet is taken. Inadequate carbohydrate intake during athletic training causes metabolic acidosis, which may be responsible for the impaired performance which has been observed.

Source; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-carbo ... nd_fatigue > "Diet composition and the performance of high-intensity exercise". Journal of Sports Sciences (1997)
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby GBW » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 5:14 pm

Was the 4k run you went on the day before your walk a one off or do you run regularly?

If not that could explain why your quads were so sore.

I bike ride a fair bit (did 80k to the MCG and back today) but it doesn't help my running. Unfortunately I need to do that in moderation due to a knee which doesn't like to be pushed too hard. PITA!
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby GPSGuided » Tue 26 Apr, 2022 5:39 pm

Wollemi wrote:Er... now I am embarrassed. I am not a beginner, having been a member of at least eight different outdoor clubs.

Now with additional info, you seemed to have multiple issues from a lack of endurance fitness after a significant break as well as dietary preparation for the walk. Hydration may also have contributed on the day. Your description of no energy and crawling around really is pretty extreme.


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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby north-north-west » Wed 27 Apr, 2022 10:56 am

Wollemi:

I'm not a breakfast person as a rule - don't eat before 10 at the earliest at home - but I've found that I need something before leaving camp when out bush. Preferably a combo of fibre and protein; muesli with fruit and nuts works well for me. When you increase your activity level or make a large change in type of activity, you need to change your eating habits as well, and carrying a full pack over variable terrain is hard work.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby slparker » Wed 27 Apr, 2022 2:14 pm

GPSGuided wrote:Your description of no energy and crawling around really is pretty extreme.


Agree - sounds like a lack of muscle glycogen, water or electrolytes; or a combination thereof.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby sandym » Wed 27 Apr, 2022 3:29 pm

I gotta admit I am surprised how many people think there is something almost normal about having to "crawl around in pain through all tendons and muscles of all parts of my legs" and "Sitting up in my sleeping bag to pee into a bottle gave me terrible cramps in long muscles of my upper legs, akin to a cold sledgehammer.
On getting up, I cramped getting out of my sleeping bag - and I could not stand when emerging from the tent."


Or that such symptoms are due to electrolyte or glycogen depletion.

Seriously, dude, go see an MD.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby CasualNerd » Wed 27 Apr, 2022 4:07 pm

Wollemi wrote:LCHF diets / Keto / 18:6 diet, which I do crudely.

If you are definitely keto then you probably need to increase your electrolytes significantly. Magnesium too. If you're not doing it 'properly' then you might not be getting the right results, it's worth testing as you go to check you are indeed fat adapted so you're getting the benefits - michael mosely gives very generic advice that's designed to weight manage for the most people, it's certainly not performance oriented.

In regards to the original fitness question, strength training carries over very well to bushwalking. Strengthen the major muscle groups in your legs and core and you'll be far better off carrying weights and long distances. Conversely, I find that endurance doesn't add to strength at all. Weighted lunges, box jumps, squats etc make for strong and stable bodies.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby sandym » Wed 27 Apr, 2022 5:20 pm

"it's worth testing as you go to check you are indeed fat adapted so you're getting the benefits"

How do you suggest he tests? Crossover test? dipstick ketones, ketone breath meter?
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby Gadgetgeek » Wed 27 Apr, 2022 6:52 pm

Follow through this guy's vids on food, it's very in-depth, and covers a lot of why there may be fundamental errors in other formulas.https://youtu.be/1Nyq0DWvf1s
Sounds very much like some level of nutrition issue going on. Even if you are using someone else's info, he gives some good baselines for hiking/backpacking that will make better comparison points as most backpackers are not working at a competitive athlete level, which is where a lot of sport fitness places its assumptions.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby Moondog55 » Wed 27 Apr, 2022 8:59 pm

While it may not be "normal" I have been in that situation a couple of times.
Once after a half marathon in The Alice and once up the High Plains in winter after an enforced bivvy with no stove and only a windproof on my legs.
I would have said that in both cases it was dehydration mainly, plus as said electrolyte levels and depleted glycogens
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby Baeng72 » Thu 28 Apr, 2022 7:39 am

The terrible cramps in the long muscles at night is just what I'd used to call an overnighter.
I used to get bad cramps, where stretching one group of muscles would cause the antagonistic group to cramp in the legs and abdomen.
Of course, I'd have drunk a lot of gatorade/hydrolyte before going to bed, so there'd be several times I could experience that joy getting up for a *&^%$#!.
Just had to stumble out of the tent, fighting cramps before I weed myself.
Once I was standing upright, the cramps would usually disappear, until it was time to crouch down and get back in the tent and bag.
I just put it down to being a middle aged fatty who hadn't kept up with exercise.
I found that the fitter I got (not skinnier, but just used to long, hard, sweaty walks), the less this occurred.
I also made sure I was drinking through the day more, something I'd didn't always do.
Last few hikes pretty much didn't happen.
I guess it's similar to DOMS, if you're used to hard hill climbs, they don't really happen.
I think I'd better get back to training so they don't occur come spring! :)
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 28 Apr, 2022 11:31 am

For cramps try some magnesium tablets. Did wonders for my end of day cramps.

Others have success with electrolyte drinks and increased salt intake or both

Takes a bit of trial and error as what works for one person may not work for another.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 28 Apr, 2022 11:34 am

sandym wrote:I gotta admit I am surprised how many people think there is something almost normal about having to "crawl around in pain through all tendons and muscles of all parts of my legs" and "Sitting up in my sleeping bag to pee into a bottle gave me terrible cramps in long muscles of my upper legs, akin to a cold sledgehammer.
On getting up, I cramped getting out of my sleeping bag - and I could not stand when emerging from the tent."


Or that such symptoms are due to electrolyte or glycogen depletion.

Seriously, dude, go see an MD.


I frequently had severe leg cramps after bushwalking until I started taking a magnesium supplement at start and end of walking days. Sometimes simple solutions solve problems.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby EGM » Thu 28 Apr, 2022 12:08 pm

Why doesn't being proficient in one activity translate over to others?
Well it does, but only to an extent and it's referred to as cross training.
Your swimming will have really helped your cardio respiratory fitness and to an extent your muscular endurance. Your running will have improved the same things as well as your bone strength, ligament / tendon strength and to a lesser degree your muscular strength.
So you would have been much worse off without this cross training, but only running is specific enough to he efficient in improving bushwalking fitness. A combination of running, weight training and of course some pack walking is what would most likely be suggested as a training plan for a bush walker.

As for the comments regarding the keto diet, I would never recommend it but it shouldn't be detrimental because bush walking is not an intense activity. Even though it feels pretty intense going up a steep track with a heavy pack, when referring to intense activity in exercise science literature they are talking about bouts that are only sustained for seconds or minutes due to the intensity, usually heart rate over 90 percent of max.

As for your extreme fatigue. A plausible explanation is the disparity in your level of fitness in the different aspects of fitness required for bush walking. Essentially your cardio fitness let you push way too hard for your muscular and joint fitness which also take longer to recover. It takes a day or two for soft tissue to recover from stress but only hours for the cardio systems to recover.

Please correct me if I've made any errors, I won't be offended. I'm two units away from an exercise science degree.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby sandym » Thu 28 Apr, 2022 5:27 pm

EGM, seems legit except that when swimming your body is supported by water so you do not have to carry body weight around which makes it much less effective for any kind of conditioning, especially muscular endurance (the ability to consistently keep a high power output). Only way to train that is the typical hill sprints, carrying heavy packs uphill, etc.

And, I agree bushwalking should be a mostly aerobic activity where the participant is burning mostly fat (particularly if the individual has adapted to a ketogenic diet) but multiple studies have shown that some people for a variety of reasons (diet and training are the big ones) have really low cross-over points where ATP production switches to carbohydrate metabolism instead of fat. So even low intensity activities are depleting large amounts of muscle and liver glycogen. I do find it hard to imagine complete glycogen depletion to the state where the OP cannot stand up. That is the sort of thing that is usually only seen in ultra events and may even lead to rhabdomyolysis. For sure, that is some pretty severe glycogen depletion. Even in the abscence of a high carb meal post exercise most people are able to restock glycogen overnight, so I don't undestand how the OP could not stand up the following morning from either electrolyte disturbances (again that is a severe electrolyte disturbance) or lack of glycogen. And, if the OP is waking in the night to urinate, dehydration is not a significant issue, either.

However, if a persons only regular exercise is a 25 minute park-run, which most people do at or above their lactate threshold, then the aerobic system is not being well trained and ATP production could well be mostly a carbohydrate event which would deplete a lot of glycogen, still, to the point of being unable to stand? Despite the allure of training endurance in a short period of time, increasing aerobic capacity (which is basically improving mitochondrial density and making the lactate shuttle more effective) requires the traditional long slow distance.

But, the OP can decide, his business. I would think about discs, absolutely not medical advice. Discs do rehydrate overnight which removes pressure in the spine and nerves.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 28 Apr, 2022 5:35 pm

Not a scientific reply by any means but I can remember having to get up to urinate many times during the nite in the winter when I lost so much weight, doesn't burning body fat lead to producing largish amounts of metabolic water and this might be consistent with low glycogen levels?
I recovered over a period of a few days and I remember eating heaps of food, way more than usual; especially cereals and sugar.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby sandym » Fri 29 Apr, 2022 6:54 am

For each gram of carbohydrate we store (as muscle or liver glycogen) we also store 3 to 4 gm of water - is that perchance what you mean?
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby EGM » Fri 29 Apr, 2022 11:53 am

If I'm interpreting MD s statement correctly he is referring to the water produced during the electron transport chain, my understanding is that most of this is removed via the lungs so would not result in needing to use the toilet.
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 29 Apr, 2022 12:38 pm

I was under the impression that ordinary fat cells contained up to 10% water, although it's probably lower than that in most people. I do know that when I fast and losing belly fat I pee more often and more copiously but don't drink any more water than my normal 3 litres or so
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Re: Why doesn't one activity make you fit for another?

Postby sandym » Fri 29 Apr, 2022 1:11 pm

When you eat carbohydrate the glucose goes first to muscle and liver and is stored with water in the order of one part CHO to 3 to 4 parts CHO. Once muscle and liver are full, the CHO goes to fat cells and is stored as fat. When you deplete glygocen - say by fasting - you lose some of that extra water. Not enough to make you dehydrated as the body has very sensitive methods of maintaining homeostasis but enough that sure you notice you urinate more despite similar fluid intake.

Any low carb people who have eaten a pizza or something one night (I can put up my hand) will be familiar with waking up puffy the next day as the glycogen/CHO is stored with extra water.
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