Just like a car, your body is a machine that needs fluids to operate efficiently. In fact, your body is more than 60% water, and even light exercise can deplete that percentage. No fluid means no function, and suddenly it's you stranded on the trail with an overtaxed body. This loss of fluid is called dehydration. And hydrating, or adding fluids, is the key to keeping it from happening to you.
The Benefits of Staying Well Hydrated?
- More energy, power and endurance.
- Stay cooler, feel better.
- Go farther, faster.
- Work harder, burn more calories.
- Decrease your recovery time so you can go out and do it all again.
How Do I Know When I'm Dehydrated?
Once you've reached the point of feeling thirsty, dehydration has already begun. If left this way, the body will continue to provide signs that it is running low. Early signs include a dry mouth and a decrease in energy. These can quickly lead to cramps, headaches and nausea.
Tell Me the Cure!
The cure to all this unpleasantness is as close as a glass of water. Experts recommend the following to make sure you are well hydrated while exercising:
- Drink early -- about 2 hours before exercise.
- Drink often -- continually sip fluids rather than gulp them down infrequently.
- Add sport/energy drinks -- they help restore carbohydrates and electrolytes.
- Drink after -- Post-exercise hydration gets your fluid levels back to normal and can help with recovery.
Finally, make sure your fluids are close at hand. When you're 2 miles into a hike, your water bottle is not much good to you sitting in your car. You can purchase a a wide variety of hydration systems from our link to REI to help you carry your water with you and keep you hydrated.
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