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How Much Water Should I Drink While I’m On The Trail: Maintaining Hydration Facts and Myths

by | Aug 11, 2015 | Nutrition | 0 comments

picture of girl on mountain

Image provided by Trekking Rinjani

Maintaining Hydration Is Key

As you would know from reading through our other blogs, we are always nagging and pushing about how much water should be drank before, during and after a hike. Why is this? This is because maintaining hydration is key to a successful hike endeavor! There are many true facts as well as myths out there, so we thought that it would be important to create a blog to distinguish between the two!

What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration’s definition consists of a 5% increase in the concentration of solutes in your blood… Not good! Nobody’s got time for that!!! Did you know that when you become thirsty, this generally means that you are already at 2%?!

How Often Should I Drink?

Therefore, we will now start off with understanding our first myth of hydration with “thirst is too late” is not true! Actually, I have heard this one myself, so I’m glad it’s clarified for all of us! Below will detect how and when to drink the necessary fluids and not end up in the ER!

What To Drink

Caffeine

I’m sure you have all heard about the claim that caffeine causes dehydration, however, this is a myth! Therefore, another related myth is, the need of abstaining from caffeine when you are at high elevations! Obviously, because caffeine does not cause dehydration, right?!

Did you know that it has been proven that caffeinated soda is just as hydrating as water?! Hallelujah! This is because we love our Coke Zero around here! No, this is not a paid advertisement or a “shout out!” The diuretic effect, is the main reasoning for why some people are fearful of consuming caffeine in their mix with exercise, especially when doing so at high elevations, but this is nothing to be fearful of! Acute mountain sickness, also known as the acronym AMS, which some hikers experienced during our Mount Kilimanjaro climb, will not occur by drinking caffeine at any location, high or low!

On a positive note, did you know that caffeine can actually be used as an aid to treat symptoms of headaches at low altitudes? Wow, how amazing! Let’s cross out caffeine as a negative for hiking!

Alcohol

Do you think that alcoholic drinks dehydrate? Nope! This is another myth! Did you know that when beer is consumed in moderation it actually has a hydrating factor? Who would have thought?! Now, you know! Could you drink beer instead of water and still survive? Probably not because of the fact that although beer does hydrate, it does not hold the same great hydration factors as water.

Cold Water Myth

Have you heard the fact that cold water drinking can delay the hydration and body cooling process? This is true! Drinking room temperature fluids is actually a lot more effective.

How to Detect Dehydration

Although discussed a lot in the media, it is also not true that dark urine indicates dehydration. This is because there are a lot of other factors that could cause dark urine, such as medications or foods. Dark urine is not a solid enough reliant to go off of.

How Much to Drink for Hydration

It is true that our bodies are made up of about 60% water! Raise your hand if you sweat when you exercise? My hand is raised and after asking another guide, Todd, sitting beside me, he did too! We clearly have to replenish that water we lose! It is true that there is a rule of thumb that a general guideline suggest that you drink six to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise. The heat is especially an extra factor to consume this amount of fluids!

Hyponatremia

Hydrating thoroughly before and after, but don’t be silly, a serious complication called hyponatremia can occur, due to a lack of sodium, is important.

Conclusion

You can always count on us to provide you with proper amount of fluids before, after and during a hike! Come hike with us!!! Contact us if you have any questions or other inquiries!

Stay hydrated,

Arizona Hiking Adventures Guides