Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hydration 101 . .

How much water should you drink each day? A simple question with no easy answers.

Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live.

Though no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body's need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day..

1. Drink early and often

The best defense against dehydration is a good offense – drink often – at least 1 litre per hour for moderate activity in moderate conditions. It is also smart to drink continuously – 6 to 8 oz. every 15 to 20 minutes is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Thirst is a delayed response and by the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated! So pre-hydrating is vital before taking part in any exercise. The ACSM also recommends drinking 14 to 20 ox of fluids two hours before exercising.

2. Freeze some water in your reservoir

The night before your planned activity, fill your reservoir about halfway with water and lay it flat in the freezer( make sure to lay it flat so the water freezes evenly and not in a big lump at the bottom of the reservoir). The next day, before starting out, fill the rest of the reservoir with water. The huge chunk of ice will melt much slower than if just ice cubes were used. You’ll have cold water for a much longer period of time throughout the day. Research has shown that your body absorbs cooler water more rapidly than warm water – so while having a cold drink is always refreshing it’s beneficial too!

3. Keep the water out of your drinking tube

If you hate that first warm sip of water from your hydration pack, this tip is important! When finished drinking, blow the water back through the tube into the reservoir. This prevents the water from warming up in the tube and tasting bland at that first sip. In the winter it will also prevent your water from freezing in the tube!

4. Replace your electrolytes

By adding electrolytes to your water by way of a healthy amount of sodium you will allow your body to absorb water and re-hydrate faster – it can also help prevent the onset of hyponatremia (when sodium levels in the body reach a dangerously low level).

5. Water sports are still sports!

Don’t forget that swimming, wakeboarding and rafting are all water sports that dehydrate you just as much as exercise on good ole’ terra firma. Make sure you keep plenty of water on board!

6. Recognize the symptoms of heat illness and get out of the sun!

Dehydration can set in faster than you think. You can easily lose 2 liters/hour on a hard ride or a run on a hot day, but even recreational outdoor enthusiasts can lose up to 1 to 1.5 liters per hour.

Heat-related illnesses include:

¯     Heatstroke - a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 106° F in minutes; symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness
¯     Heat exhaustion - an illness that can precede heatstroke; symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse
¯     Heat cramps - muscle pains or spasms that happen during heavy exercise
¯     Heat rash - skin irritation from excessive sweating

7. Bring water with you wherever, whenever you are on the go!

The bottom line – your body needs water to function at it’s peak performance level. CamelBak packs and hydration systems make it easy to always have what you need, when you need it!

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