Regardless of the weather forecast, here in Australia it is essential to remember the importance of adequate hydration whilst out on the trail.
Although the risk of dehydration is lower during the cooler months it can be easy to overlook the risks when the temperature begins to dip. Even though you may not be losing copious amounts of fluid through sweat, you will still be losing fluid through breathing alone.
Hydrating before, during and after your adventure is important, not only for optimal performance, but also for maintaining bodily functions and temperature.
Tips for staying hydrated on the trail:
- Ensure you are hydrated before you embark on the trail by drinking an extra glass of water before you set off. Between getting your gear ready, and organising travel to your initial destination it is easy to overlook the importance of starting in a hydrated state.
- Avoid Caffeinated beverages including coffee and energy drinks. These act as a diuretic, encouraging the loss of fluids from the body – the exact opposite of what we want.
- Carry a water pack with you that is accessible at all times. It is easier to prevent dehydration by sipping water every 20 minutes or so then it is trying to counteract it with big gulps once you feel thirsty. I prefer the Dakine Hot Laps 5L, to the traditional back back variety. It is easy to carry, has extra pockets and sits snuggly around the waist. Aim to Drink around 1 litre every two hours. More if the weather is warm.
- If you are embarking on a long or strenuous trail using an electrolyte based sports drink that is specially formulated for physical activity such as SOS Coconut will help keep fluid levels high. It is important to remember that when you lose fluid, you also loose salts and minerals and these need to be replaced in order for the body to be able to function at optimal capacity.
- Rehydrate after you have completed the trail. Drinking water and fluids containing sodium and potassium upon the completion of your adventure is crucial for recovery and maintenance of fluid within the body. Eating foods that are also high in these minerals such as bananas is also a good idea.
- It may seem obvious, but avoid alcohol as a rehydration source. Alcohol can work to further dehydrate you, counteracting your efforts in other areas.
Hiking or running whilst dehydrated can have detrimental consequences and even result in organ failure, look out for dizziness, weakness, rapid heart rate, confusion and dark urine. Preventing dehydration is always better than cure and is something that should be taken seriously to ensure you have the best time possible on your adventure!
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Amber Walker- Holistic Nutritionist