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Why You Might Become Dehydrated While on the Trail and the Importance of Proper Hydration

hydrate with electrolytes

You’ve probably heard that hydration can be more important than the food you eat during a challenging day in the outdoors. That’s why we asked Liquid I.V. to write this guest blog post about how to prevent dehydration. We were impressed with their Hydration Multiplier, which is why we included it in the August Trailfoody.

By Liquid I.V.

“Drink more water!” You hear and read about this all the time. And you know you are guilty of not hydrating properly from time to time (most of the time for some of us). Sounds so simple, but it’s honestly tough to be consistent about. It can be hard to remember to hydrate. And let’s face it… drinking plain water gets pretty boring after a while. We are human beings, and we demand excitement and instant gratification!

We force ourselves to drink whatever because we know we need it. Our bodies tell us we need it when we feel thirsty, but as we get older that sensation for thirst fades away. Plus, when given the choice, many of us gravitate to drinking something significantly less healthy and slightly sweeter (think soda, juice or artificial sports drinks).

hydration during trail runningMaintaining proper hydration levels is critical when exploring the great outdoors. A beautiful day can quickly turn into a bad day and hospital visit for an iv drip if you aren’t careful. Maintaining adequate fluid levels and replacing electrolytes serves a wide range of purposes in our bodies such as removing waste through urine; controlling body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Your body will begin to shut down without water. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, confusion, fatigue, and even loss of consciousness.

Here are a few reasons you might become dehydrated while out on the trail:

Caffeinated soda or coffee. Consuming relatively small amounts of soda or coffee can lead to dehydration. These drinks are considered diuretics that can cause an increase in the excretion of water from the body. Try to keep these to a minimum before going on a long hike or trail run.

Sweat. Sweat is the moisture that comes through your pores as a result of physical exertion, heat or even fever. Getting a good sweat on from your workout is one of the key ingredients to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. An hour long run, bike ride, or hike up your favorite peak can cause your body to lose a great deal of its precious water and vital electrolytes like sodium and potassium. When you sweat, you can put yourself at risk of dehydration if you don’t replace what you’ve lost. A simple rule of thumb is to drink 16 ounces of water for every pound of sweat you lose.

hydration during climbing and trail runningHigh altitude. There are decreased oxygen levels in the atmosphere at high altitude and therefore athletes gravitate to working out there for the benefits of improving their fitness. Your body acclimates instinctively when you go up to high altitude by speeding up breathing and increasing urine output. These are both necessary changes for your body to make in order to adjust to the elevation gain. Going to the bathroom and breathing harder – which forces you to exhale more water vapor – both cause dehydration.

Sleep. Sleep is an important element of human survival. Our brains are designed in a way that requires them to receive rest so they can process and store thoughts from the previous day. When you sleep, your body doesn’t receive any water. Going 6+ hours without any form of hydration causes dehydration. This is why you may wake up feeling parched in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. Your body loses carbon and water with every breath you take while you are asleep.

Stress. Stress is something that we all deal with, and some manage it better than others. Surprisingly enough, keeping stress in check is important in order to maintain a healthy balance of hydration in our system. When you stress your body releases a stress hormone from your adrenal gland, which can exhaust the gland and result in adrenal insufficiency. The problem is that your adrenal gland is also responsible for regulating the level of your body’s fluids and electrolytes with the production of the aldosterone hormone. When the adrenal gland becomes fatigued, it fails to produce aldosterone, which leads to dehydration.

Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier

So what can you do to stay hydrated out on the trail besides just downing more water?

Drink something with an optimal ratio of electrolytes, glucose, and water that your body can absorb quickly and efficiently. The key to hydration is uptake, not intake.

Stay away from traditional sports drinks, which contain too much sugar and not enough electrolytes. Liquid I.V.’s Hydration Multiplier contains 3x the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks with less than ½ the sugar and calories. The great-tasting electrolyte drink mix utilizes the breakthrough science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT), a precise ratio of sodium, potassium, and glucose, to deliver hydration to your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water alone. Drinking 1 Liquid I.V. can result in the same hydration as drinking 2-3 bottles of water. Plus it contains B vitamins, which help your body quickly break down carbohydrates and turn them into fuel.

Look for Liquid I.V. in your August Trailfoody bag!