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The Importance of Hydration for Runners and Hikers

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The Importance of Hydration for Runners and Hikers

No matter what - whether you are running, walking, or hiking- and whether you are on a trail, a beach, or even on a track - staying hydrated is an absolute must. With every step you take, trillions of cells in your body join together to provide you with the power that you need to stay the course. All of those cells depend on you to keep them functioning correctly so that they can continue powering you. Hydration plays a huge role in maintaining their function. If you skimp on the hydration, those cells will have less fuel, which means that you will become less efficient, and your activity will be less successful.

In other words, for runners and hikers, maintaining proper hydration is vital for your performance, as well as your overall health and well-being. The simplest way to maintain your hydration is to ensure that you are drinking plenty of water. Water plays several crucial roles. It helps regulate your core body temperature, removes waste buildup, delivers energy to your cells, and even provides cushioning for your joints. Proper hydration can also help reduce the risk of cramps and injury, improve your recovery rate, and boost your overall performance.

When running and hiking, the body naturally generates more heat than when it is at rest. Sweating is the body's natural defense against overheating, as it serves to cool the body down. But while sweating is essential, it depletes the body's hydration and electrolytes reserves, such as potassium and sodium. It's been determined that a loss of more than 2 to 3 percent of body weight via fluid (3 to 5 pounds for an average 150-pound individual) can result in dehydration. When the body's reserve of hydration and electrolytes is depleted, your stamina decreases, you become tired, develop cramps and headaches, and even your heart rate can increase.

Hydration is so crucial for runners and hikers, so it is imperative to remember to drink plenty of water. How can you remain adequately hydrated when you're running and/or hiking? Here are some suggestions to ensure that you don't forget to sip water throughout your activity.

  • Wear a water bottle belt. Carrying a water bottle when you're hiking or running can be a cumbersome task. It gets in the way and limits the use of your hands. To ensure that you always have water available, strap on a water bottle belt. These belts are specially designed to hold a water bottle or two, making keeping hydrated easy and convenient.
  • Sport a hydration pack. Instead of a belt, you can strap on a hydration pack. Available as vests or in backpacks, hydration packs feature bladders that have drinking tubes connected to them. They make carrying and accessing water a cinch. The straw hangs over your shoulder, making it convenient to sip over time.
  • Load up on water before you go. Before you even place one foot out the door, make sure you drink plenty of water. By ensuring you are adequately hydrated before you head out, you'll have an easier time maintaining proper hydration during your run or hike.

 

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  • Memphis, TN.
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