Food for man-hauling and other extreme physical activities in the Antarctic
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
The explorers of the Heroic Age and earlier understood the need for a well balanced diet with additional calorific value and nutrients for traveling and exploring the Antarctic. They went to considerable lengths to test and modify diets that best suited man-hauling with a focus on reducing weight to the bare minimum to extend range. The same constraints affect man-hauling today, and in addition there is now greater understanding of the other foods that the human body needs to achieve high performance in an environment that test the human body’s resistance to extreme physiological stress.
Modern explorers consider the impacts of severe exercise, nutrition, hypothermia, hypoxia, sleep deprivation, and dehydration when planning trips in the Antarctic. These factors affect the amount of food carried and the performance of the individual and are critical to achieving maximum distance.
Inputs include daily food intake of fats carbohydrates, and protein along with water, warmth, oxygen, and sleep. Deficits in any of these inputs start to impact human performance and the cumulative effects over extended periods of time can lead to disaster. Understanding the effects of deficits and the interrelationship between each input can help the explorer cope in the field and develop strategies for survival when things go wrong.
The science of nutrient balance, dehydration, hypoxia, and sleep deprivation are relatively new. Studying the effects of these inputs can eliminate constraints on exploration and assist our understanding of where exploration went wrong.
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