By: David Ball
Hydrating is often treated like a soft science. “How do I feel?” is really the wrong question to be asking when it comes to avoiding dehydration. Research shows we aren’t very good at realizing when our bodies actually need more fluid. Being dehydrated is worse than just putting up with being thirsty too, mental and physical performance plummet when you’re just 2% dehydrated.
So how exactly do you get hydration right? The more I’ve started to participate in endurance-based races the more I’ve tried to find the answers. Here are a few quick ways to help dial in your hydration whether it’s for your next race or family hike.
Don’t Measure Hydration by Thirst Level
Some of us drink enough just to take the edge off of thirst and others drink until we’re satisfied. Neither is a good indicator of avoiding hydration. Do this instead: weigh yourself before you head out on a hike, ride or exercise and then weigh yourself again when you get home. The difference is how much water you should drink, each pound in difference equals one pint (two cups) of fluid you should take in during an activity. Do this across different temperature ranges and intensities to build hydration guidelines for all your favorite activities.
Plain Water Won’t Cut It on Long Days
If you’re planning on being out for over an hour and sweating a moderate amount or more you need to replace the electrolytes your body is losing. The easiest (and best tasting) way to do this is to use an electrolyte replacement sport drink. Find a flavor you like and mix away!
Ultimately staying hydrated doesn’t just feel better but knowing how much to drink and staying on top of it keeps you safer on your next adventure. Drink up!
About the Author:
David considers himself the ambassador of the “Radically Mediocre” lifestyle. He defines this as being able to “hang with people doing just about anything and not slow them down.” You can find him trying to get people to talk to him about the book he just read in coffee shops, or in the western U.S. getting pumped out on scary trad leads (and follows), skydiving, split-boarding and trail running in his home mountain range, the Wasatch, with his dog Margo. Follow him on instagram at @DavidDenverBall.