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Hydration... Answers to Some Common Questions

Hydration – what’s up with that? Answers to some common questions…..

How much water do I need?

Baseline, at normal altitude (under 5000 ft) water needs very first upon your size. You need about 1.5-2L of water per day if you weigh around 110 lbs. If you weigh around 165 lbs., you need 2 ¼ to 3L of water per day. A 220 lb. person will need 3-4L of of water per day.

Add another ½ L for warm (not here) or dry (yes here) climates.

Add an extra 1 to 1 ½ L at high altitude (between 5000 and 11,500 ft – yes here)

So what I am a little dehydrated, now what?

Even slight dehydration can have adverse effects on your athletic performance and energy. For instance:

  • .5% dehydration increases strain on your heart
  • 1% causes reduced aerobic performance
  • 3% leads to reduced muscular endurance
  • 4% reduced muscle strength, reduced coordination, cramps
  • 5% exhaustion, fatigue, reduced mental capacity
  • 6% possible coma
  • 10-20% death

As we at Gunnison Valley Health have discussed with most of you at department orientations, decreased performance and increased risk of injury go hand in hand. We feel strongly that dehydration can increase your risk of getting hurt on the mountain.

Do I need sports drinks?

Sports drinks provide electrolytes which may need to be replenished if you are working/exercising hard and sweating. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium that are vital to your body’s function. We need them in the proper balance. Taking in a sports drink is not a bad idea if you are exercising at a moderate intensity for a couple of hours or high intensity for over an hour. Remember, lift time doesn’t really count.

That said, what is bad about drinking a sports drink even if you are not working that hard / sweating? Not much, other than drinking calories that are primarily sugar and have little if any vitamins and no fiber. If you are trying to watch you weight this could be of interest and even if you are not a diluted or lower sugar sports drink might provide the electrolytes you need without empty calories (G2 versus a full strength Gatorade).

Why am I hungover (we think you know but we will tell you why)?

Beyond 2% dehydration physical symptoms of dehydration often occur such as: headache, fatigue, low blood pressure, dizziness and/or nausea. Sounds like a hangover right? Alcohol suppresses the hormones that control thirst and water regulation leading to dehydration and hangover in excess.

Possible solutions

  • Drink water in the morning and a couple of cups of water with every meal

  • Carry water in you are out riding/skiing and don’t like to stop – Camelbacks or the like are great investments

  • Grab a lower sugar sports drink if you are riding hard or make your own (one recipe below)

  • Get a BPE free, reusable water bottle for work.Don’t frequently reuse plastic bottles and don’t keep buying them – they end up in the ocean!

  • Have a glass of water per beer/cocktail if you partake.

  • Make hydration a priority!!You will feel better, ski/ride better and be more injury resilient.

3 cups Coconut water

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon calcium – magnesium powder

½ cup 100% juice of your choice

A little local honey to sweeten if needed

Please feel free to contact the Gunnison Valley Health Wellness Team with questions, comments or wellness/health topics you would like to know more about. Todd Ward DPT CSCS or Michael Kugler DPT