Feature Post: Keeping hydrated in the hills


When exercising, a lot of our body’s water content is lost through sweat, which can leave us dehydrated and feeling unwell.
Walking is often underestimated as an exercise, however, there is no denying that it is an incredibly demanding physical activity. Keen walkers frequently find themselves getting carried away, with their walks spanning hours.
Because of this, it is vital that you keep hydrated. This handy guide will help keep you safe when walking.

How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
There are certain symptoms of dehydration to look out for.
Probably the most common symptom is dark coloured urine or, in worse cases, not needing to urinate at all. When dehydrated, you can also feel nauseous and experience a dry mouth and dry eyes too.
You can find a more comprehensive list of symptoms of dehydration on the NHS website, which is worth a look so you know exactly what to watch out for.
If you do experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately get a drink and rehydrate yourself. Certain drinks will hydrate you better than others, so we’ve compiled a selection of the best:
Water
Water is always handy to have, especially if you are walking for an hour or more. Whilst it may not be as effective when compared to an energy drink, it is worth always taking a bottle with you to replenish the fluids lost. Make sure you drink regularly throughout your walk to keep your hydration levels up.
Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are specially designed to keep you hydrated when exercising. They often have a high sugar content, as the sugar is a carbohydrate that is quickly broken down by the body, hence providing an instant store of energy.
A lot of the sports drinks on the market contain a lot of sodium. Whilst you may think that this sodium will work to further dehydrate you, it actually aids absorption within the body.
Plus, the sodium and sugar content of the drinks make them taste a lot more appealing, which will make it easier to drink them.
If you’re really fussy, the BBC have a number of recipes to help make your own sports drink that’s exactly to your taste.
You can find a really helpful guide to the best sports drinks from the Daily Mail here.
Beetroot stamina shot
Believe it or not, this unique beetroot stamina shot is actually ideal if you are planning a long walk.
High in anti-oxidants, the James White ‘Beet It’ Organic Beetroot Stamina Shot is the latest energy drink to hit the market. Packed full of nitrates, drinking the shot one to two hours before exercising will give you all of the energy to keep walking for longer.
The shot is available from Ethical Superstore, who also stock a great range of organic food and drink that will keep you in the best physical condition for your walk.
Drinks to avoid
As with everything, there are certain drinks to avoid during walking. Try to avoid highly caffeinated drinks. These drinks will initially leave you feeling energetic during your caffeine rush, however this will drop off after a short while and leave you feeling fatigued.
How often should I drink?
There is no real answer to this question. The general rule is to drink regularly, usually every fifteen to twenty minutes, and whenever you are thirsty. The Guardian has a great article about how to measure your sweat rate, which you can then use to work out how much you should be drinking.

By following these tips, you will ensure that your walk is as safe and as enjoyable as possible.  You can find more information about staying safe in the hills from the Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team.
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