Healthy Altitudes

Like many of you, I was pretty surprised by the sudden heat wave last week. After a couple of weeks of mild and pleasantly chilled air, that infamous Colorado summer heat came up for one last gasp! While I hope that’s the end of it, we can never be too certain. That’s why today I’m bringing some tips on how to stay hydrated when you’re out hiking. (And of course, you should use these tips even in mild weather—staying hydrated is ALWAYS important!)

1. Drink water BEFORE the hike!

Even if you feel fine and think you’re ready to hit the trail, always make sure to drink a large amount of water before you even leave the house. Your body will tell you it’s thirsty when your water levels are already running low, so why even wait for that to happen before hydrating? Plus, it’s always easier to carry water in your body than on your back!

2. Use a hydration bladder

While out hiking, you’ve probably seen people drinking from long straws extending from their backpacks. These are called hydration bladders, and all you have to do is fill one with water and stick it in your backpack! The reason these work so well is that they make your water supply easily accessible. You don’t have to stop and rummage through your pack to find your water bottle—all you have to do is take a sip from the straw!

3. Drink water before you feel thirsty

By the time your body is feeling thirsty, you are already losing energy and not performing at peak efficiency. Going off of the first tip, drink water constantly throughout the hike even when you feel fine! It may feel unnecessary, but your body will thank you and you will maintain much higher energy levels.

4. Smaller sips over time

Throughout your hike, you should be constantly taking small sips of water. Waiting an hour or two and then chugging your whole bottle will not keep you hydrated, and will likely result in cramps! One quart of fluid is recommended for every hour when you’re exerting yourself in hot weather. This cannot be stressed enough!

5. No alcohol or caffeinated drinks before or during your hike

Avoiding alcohol may seem like a no-brainer since it actively dehydrates the body, but most people don’t know to avoid caffeinated beverages such as soda or coffee! Caffeine increases fluid loss, so while you may be tempted to drink that morning coffee before your hike to boost your energy, your body will suffer for it later on.

That’s all for now! Follow these 5 tips to keep yourself hydrated on the trail for a healthier hiking experience—and as always …For your life™