The Complete Guide to Staying Hydrated While Hiking for Beginners
Are you looking for a hobby that can help reduce your chances of heart disease and build strength? Hiking has you covered. It puts you out in nature and lowers your stress levels while working out your body.
This amazing activity doesn’t come without its dangers, though. Staying hydrated while hiking can be a challenge for some.
If you don’t keep your fluids replenished as you move along the trail, you’ll make yourself sick. That’s a good way to put a damper on an otherwise fun trip.
We can help you make sure that you pack plenty of water for the hike. Keep reading for a few hydration tips to live by.
How Much Water Do You Need?
So, first things first. How much water do you need? The answer will depend on a few factors.
The general rule of thumb is to pack about half a liter of water. You might need more if you’re walking a particularly strenuous trail.
If you’re dealing with harsh temperatures, you’ll dehydrate faster. That means if you’re in the middle of the desert, you may need to bring a whole liter of water instead of only half.
Hydrate Before Your Hike
You don’t have to wait until the day of your hike to start hydrating. Drink up to two glasses of water every single day.
Stay away from high sodium foods and sugary drinks leading up to your hike. They tend to dehydrate the body at a rapid rate. That’s the last thing you need before performing intensive activity.
Instead of fried chicken, reach for fruits and veggies. They pack tons of hydration potential.
Take Tiny Sips
When you’re taking in the sights on your nature trail, it can be easy to forget about hydration. You wait until you’re dying and chug a good portion of your bottle.
The problem is if you wait until you’re thirsty to drink, that means you’re already dehydrated. You want to take little sips from your bottle as you walk.
Many people will set reminders on their phones to remind themselves to take a sip.
If you’re worried about your water getting warm because you’re taking your time drinking it, get koozies fast before you go on your trip. Having one will keep your drink nice and cool.
Stay Away From Alcohol
If you’re hitting the trail in the morning, stay away from wine and beer the night before. Don’t bring alcohol on the trip with you.
The reason is that alcohol can dehydrate you faster than almost any other beverage out there. We all like our morning coffee, but that’s going to be a no-go as well.
Plan the Route
You might have a chance to refill your water bottle during your hike, but it’s not that likely. That means you’re going to have to do a little careful planning.
You can go on a hike that will let you loop around your vehicle. When you get back to your car, you can replenish your water supply and grab a quick snack.
If you’re in a more remote area that won’t put you anywhere near your car, you may need to bring a treatment device that will allow you to safely gather water from a stream.
Replenish Those Electrolytes
Electrolytes are special chemicals that conduct electricity when you mix them with water. Your body needs them to keep your nerves and muscles working like a well-oiled machine.
They also keep you hydrated, regulate your blood pressure, and fix damaged body tissue. Yeah, there’s a reason why your doctor tells you to guzzle Pedialyte and Gatorade when you’re sick. They’re full of electrolytes.
You also need them while you’re on a hike. You lose them at a rapid rate when you sweat. If you don’t drink Gatorade, you’ll become sore and fatigued.
Keep Your Water on You
When you’re deep into a hike, it’s not easy to reach into your bag to get your water bottle. It will ruin your pacing.
To this end, keep your bottle handy near the top of your bag. You can also store it in your pocket or invest in hydration packs.
Signs That You’re Getting Dehydrated
If you begin to get dehydrated, your body will warn you about it. When it’s time for you to take a sip of water, you’ll notice your mouth go dry, followed by a sudden drop in energy levels.
If you don’t listen to your body, your symptoms will develop into headaches, cramps, stumbling, and nausea.
Can You Drink Too Much?
You can have too much of a good thing. It’s possible to overhydrate yourself.
In extreme cases, you can get seriously ill or die because your blood is so diluted that your cells can’t work the way that they should.
It’s a rare problem that mimics the symptoms of dehydration. The best way to avoid the issue is to not drink too much and keep your sodium levels up with snacks and sports drinks.
Essential Tips for Staying Hydrated While Hiking
Hiking is all fun and games until you get dehydrated. If you don’t replenish the fluids you lose through sweat, you can make yourself sick.
As you can see, staying hydrated while hiking isn’t too hard. As long as you sip as you walk and keep your water bottle handy, you’ll be good to go. Replenishing your electrolytes, and drinking water before your hike are also important.
For more tips that will help you stay hydrated while you’re on a trail, visit the Sports section of our blog.
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