That awesome sense of fulfillment one feels after a good, long distance exercise is unquestionable, and worth its weight in gold. Whether it’s hiking, running, biking or climbing, these activities can have therapeutic effects and are primed to keep your body in top condition. However, proper exercise needs proper hydration. The body muscles produce about 250 – 500 ml of water everyday to keep up with regular activities. During intense, long distance exercises like hiking and running, the muscles can produce twice that amount in 2 to 3 hours and release most of this through sweat. That’s a lot of water leaving your body. Losing water continuously at that rate can cause serious dehydration. That’s why it is very vital that you consume enough fluids and have a proper hydration plan for your exercises, so they don’t leave you bonked instead of buoyant.
These tips provide just the right information on how to stay constantly hydrated and on the amount of water you should drink while hiking or running the trail so you can make the most of your exercises.
Hydrate Proper before Hitting the Trail
Yes, you need to fuel your engines before starting a journey, especially a long one. Drinking water before your hike or run is just important as you don’t want your fluid levels to drop too quickly. You might not know it but the liquids you consume before going exercising can determine how quickly you “gas out”.
At least one or two glass cups of water before hitting the trail is sufficient for hikers. Runners might need to take more, at least 2 cups or as much as 700 ml of water two hours before activity is appropriate. Sports drinks or juice are also very good options as these can provide electrolytes that will help maintain your energy level.
Hydrating before exercise is especially important for older individuals as they have less body fluids than younger people and might need to refill faster. They also have a less keen sense of thirst and this makes them more likely to be dehydrated as they might not promptly realize their need for fluids. Drinking adequate water in advance really helps to be on the safe side in these cases.
Make the Right Preparations
As we now understand, a lot of the actions we take before embarking on a journey can have much influence on our performance and endurance levels throughout the exercise. Preparation, or lack of it will literally determine how far you can go. If you want to stay properly hydrated on the go, there are a couple of factors you need to consider.
One of the most important factors is what you carry with you to the trail. Your equipment could vary depending on the level of activity you’re looking to take. Hydration packs or reservoirs are perfect for hikers and mountain bikers as they’re a very convenient way to store liquid. They’re a much easier option than water bottles or back packs and feel very dynamic. They’re also very compact and can handle gear without being clumsy. The best hydration packs have water bladders that are fitted to make water consumption extremely convenient, you just have to fill the bladder with liquid and you can sip at ease from the water hose on the go. Mad Jack Outdoor’s hydration packs provide all these qualities and are superb for long distance exercises.
While hydration packs are also a good fit for runners, hydration vests are the most convenient. They’re extremely lightweight, even more dynamic as they feel like a part of your body and have good liquid capacity. Great hydration vests are a sweet fit for runners who want no impediments on their bodies' dynamics or flow as they exercise.
There are also other equipment you could consider that are downright nifty and built solely for the purpose of hydration and convenience. They can be very resourceful and go the extra mile in making your journey and hydration efforts very rewarding. Some hydration packs are equipped with personal cooling systems that are perfect for days of intense heat. These personal cooling systems provide misting features that can be downright therapeutic. At the press of a button, they squirt a cool shower of mist from a quad hose that will leave you feeling much more refreshed. Mad Jack Outdoor’s hydration packs are a good fit if you want this extra dose of convenience.
Waist packs are also a great idea as they can be very resourceful, especially if you’re looking to carry extra gear. Some waist packs can be attached to hydration packs for maximum compactness. These waist packs are particularly useful as they erase the need to hold extra water bottles. (Embed link to waist packs in “These waist packs”)
If you already have a water bladder or hydration reservoir and you want the comforts of personal cooling systems without having to get a new one, Mad Jack Outdoor has a Retrofit Kit that can be installed in almost any hydration pack.
Aside from equipment, sport drinks and electrolyte tablets are things you should consider having with you. These are especially good for runners, as they restore electrolytes that would be lost from intense activities.
Hikers are encouraged to carry snacks. Liquids are not the only way to replace fluid loss. Healthy snacks, dried foods and energy bars will perform this function. They are also good sources of energy and salt, which your body will increasingly require for endurance.
What to Do on the Trail
Drinking water on the trail is a calculated process. You need to keep a mental slate of how much water you will consume, and how often you consume it. This process varies depending on the intensity of your activity. Hikers might need to take up to 1 litre of water per hour in strenuous and high heat conditions. Runners and cyclists will generally take up to 4 bottles per hour in same conditions. Lesser amounts are required for colder temperatures and lesser intensity.
You want to make sure you properly hydrate by drinking water before you get thirsty. It’s quite possible to forget that you have to keep drinking water until your body starts sending thirst signals to remind you. Having a timer set at particular intervals is an effective way to always be on your nozzle at the right time.
Also, sipping your water is more effective than gulping it. Sipping at short intervals is better than stopping at long intervals to chug in large quantities.
Understand how your Body Works
A huge part of your hydration strategy will be determined by how your body works. The general rules of thumb that suggest on the amount of water to take before and after the trail will not work for everybody. We all have different body systems and you have to know what ticks for you.
A very good way to do this is to constantly keep track of your actions, especially the amount of water you drink and how often you urinate, on the trail. Urinating too frequently would mean you need to reduce your water consumption.
Also watch our for thirst signals. If you’re feeling thirsty even after drinking the recommended quantities of water, it means the water levels aren’t enough for you. Keep a mental awareness of how you perform and how much you drink in varying temperatures, locations and distances. This will help you better prepare for your next outing.
Keeping track of your weight before and after an exercise is a good way to plan for how much you need to hydrate. Weighing less than you usually weigh before a hike or run means you need more liquid in your hydration pack. You need to check if you’re not over-hydrating too as it’s quite possible. Checking your weight after an exercise can clarify this.
What to Avoid
Alcohol. Some might think having that extra beer or slightly spiked energy drink before hitting the trail is a good idea for a morale boost. No, it is not. Quite the opposite in fact, such liquids will actually zap the energy and consequently, morale. Alcohol generally require that you dehydrate fast, and you don’t want that when you’ve got 20 miles of sun beaten exercise staring you in the face.
Coffee and caffeinated products are a good thing to excuse too. They generally don’t help with hydration if taken too much.
Over complicated sports drinks wouldn’t do you any good either. Stick to products that offer the basic needed nutrients of sodium, glucose, potassium, calcium and magnesium. If it’s looking like it has a thousand ingredients written on the description, avoid it. Some drinks may not work well with your system.
Dehydration. You want to absolutely avoid dehydration. A dry mouth and thirst are early signs to know you’re getting dehydrated. Headaches, cramps and feelings of nausea means it’s getting serious. Checking your urine levels is a good way to know too. Darker urine in lesser quantities means you need to pump those fluids in.
A great way to keep sufficiently hydrated for exercises is to maintain it in your daily life. You don’t have to wait until you hit the road. The meals and fluids you consume generally will factor heavy into this, so try and keep a healthy, balanced diet. Overall a healthy lifestyle is worth more than diamonds and maintaining proper hydration will keep you shining like one.