Hydration 101

By Tomi Stojanovic
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Hydration 101

Tomi Stojanovic
 
 
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Winter is finally over, and the days of warm and sunny weather are upon us. Forget the cold and rough hiking trips, and start looking forward to the beautiful weather and all that it offers. Now it’s time to hit the trails and enjoy the sun and enjoy a new season of adventure.

Although hiking in hot and sunny weather is great, it can bring few problems with it. One of them is the risk of getting dehydrated during your walk. If you get carried away by the long walks and beautiful landscapes around you, you might forget to drink water regularly. And that will have some consequences on your health.

 

 

 

It is crucial to stay hydrated all the time during your hike. If you don’t have enough water in your body, you might slow down on the trails, become fatigued, and even risk having some more serious health issues.

 

Here are a few tips on how to stay hydrated on a hiking trip and why it’s important.

Hydration Basics

 

When you hike in hot and humid weather, you have to take fluids into your body regularly. Your body will lose a lot of fluids, so you have to replace those fluids.

Do not wait until you get thirsty. When you feel thirsty, it means that you’re already a little dehydrated and your body is telling you to drink.
If you hike in direct sunlight and the going is strenuous, your body can lose up to 3 quarts per hour. So make sure you drink plenty of water on a regular basis.

It is also recommended to have cold water with you on the trails. By freezing half bottle of water, and adding more liquid water in it, you will have a cold water at least for the start of the day.

If you run out of water during your hike, and you find a source of water on the trail, be careful, not all of the water in nature is safe to drink, the assumption should always be that it’s not safe. If you have to drink it, make sure you boil it firstly for more than one minute, or you run it through a good quality water filter.

 

It’s worth mentioning though that if you’re in an emergency situation and you have no means of boiling or filtering the water, and you’re at risk of dying, just drink the water so that you can get out of the situation and then deal with any illness you might get later.

Be cool

 

When you hike in hot weather you might want to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Walk early in the morning, when the sun is not so intense. Also, make sure that you hike slowly, and take breaks often so that you can drink water and rest.

Also, you can stay cool by walking in the higher parts of the mountains. Just drive to the highest point of the trail, and continue walking up the mountain. Usually, the upper parts are cooler and more comfortable for hiking.

Another thing to have in mind is to avoid direct sunlight. Whenever possible get away from the sun and hike between trees, where there is some shade.

Dress properly

 

Make sure that you wear clothes that will keep you cooler, dry, and comfortable. Dress in materials that are moisture-wicking, these materials will carry moisture and sweat away from your body helping you to stay dry.

It’s also smart to wear clothes that are in lighter color. The light material tends to reflect the heat away from your body.
Also, make sure that you always have something on your head. Having a baseball cap, wide-brimmed hat, or scarf on your head will protect your face and neck from the sunlight.

Fuel

 

Apart from drinking water, it’s also important to be careful with what you’re eating on the hike. Food is one of your sources of fuel, so you have to eat properly. If you are sweating a lot make sure you eat something salty every time you drink some water, it’s important that you stay hydrated and keep your sodium levels healthy.

I find eating cucumber and orange excellent for my body. It keeps me hydrated for a longer time. Make sure that you avoid drinking alcohol and soda. They will speed up the dehydration process, and they’re just plain unhealthy.

Signs

 

By now you probably know how important it is to stay hydrated during a hike. But also, you should be able to recognize if you or someone around you is not hydrated enough. It’s very important to know the signs of dehydration and to know how and when to react to it.

The symptoms can be very different and range from small to severe ones, like:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Thirst
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Inability to sweat
  • Dark urine

 

 

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the importance of staying hydrated during a hike, particularly in hot and humid weather. Armed with this knowledge, you are ready to hit the trails and enjoy the beautiful, sunny weather.

 

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