Camping and hiking in the great outdoors feeds the mind and cleanses the soul, but because nature often leaves us with limited resources and prolonged periods of exposure to the elements, keeping hydrated is a constant struggle. For the last blog in our series on hydration, here are some of the warning signs of dehydration and how to deal with it, even when water is scarce!
The simplest explanation for dehydration is the body begins to lose more fluids than it takes in, but this in turn leads to the loss of more than just water. When not enough water is present in the body, it tries to compensate by dumping electrolytes, potassium and sodium, all of which are crucial to a healthy body chemistry. If not replenished quickly, dehydration can escalate into a serious health problem!
Individual symptoms of dehydration are often easily dismissed as minor aches and pains; headaches, dizziness, muscle weakness or a lack of energy, and even thirst are very common. These same symptoms together however are a sure sign that a person is dehydrated. In the early stages treatments are simple: drink plenty of clear fluids (water, juice or sports drinks). It’s important to note that these fluids should not be gulped or consumed quickly but rather sipped a little at a time, as drinking too much fluid can induce vomiting.
Normally these mild cases of dehydration can be treated at home, but for severe dehydration more intense treatments are required. If a person is suffering from nausea or vomiting, ice chips or a similar item can be used in place of liquid water. Replacing fluids intravenously (otherwise known as an IV) is the only real method to treat dehydration quickly, but this should only be done by trained medical professionals.
Welcome back to our camping blog series on hydration! When it comes to hydration, it’s common knowledge that nothing beats a tall glass of water, yet the retail market it flooded with all sorts of sports drinks and flavored water that all promise equal or even better hydration that good old H2O. With so much hype surrounding these new-age drinks, do they truly hydrate better? Well campers, we went to the experts to find out!
Sports drinks as we know them today owe their legacy to the United States, where in 1965 the University of Florida’s medical staff realized that they could potentially improve the performance of their sports teams by creating a beverage that was formulated for physical activity, a.k.a Gatorade. By adding vitamins, minerals and artificial flavoring, players seemed to perform better at physical activities in clinical studies and it was soon adopted as the official drink of the NFL in a few short years. Modern sports drinks all stem from this basic formula, but better performance doesn’t necessarily mean better hydration. More science is needed!
Sports Drink Science
The key behind hydrating with sports drinks isn’t the liquid itself (which yes, has a base mixture of water), but rather the sodium and other elements present within it. Sodium is by far the most important hydrating element, as it helps the body hold on to the water already in the body and keeping the circulatory system in balance. Drinking large amounts of water during a heavy workout causes an imbalance of sodium levels, replacing salt with water in blood cells. This causes cells to swell, restricting blood flow and leading to poor oxygenation, headaches, vomiting and even muscle death! Drinking sports drinks helps hydrate while keeping sodium levels in balance during hour-long workouts, and that means the machine that is the human body just works better!
So it looks like science is right: sports drinks hydrate better that water…during heavy exercise. Otherwise the added sugar, salt and other elements in sports drinks aren’t necessary, and pure ordinary water will work just as well.
Hello campers and welcome back to our blog series on edible hydration! Last time we dazzled your minds and mouths with several juicy fruits that tasted great and were water-filled to boot, so now we move on to fruit’s favorite sister-food-group: vegetables. Just like fruits, there are several wonderful veggies that can help supplement your daily water quota that are full of healthy vitamins and minerals, so let’s check them out!
Everyone knows that drinking a tall glass of H2O is the best way to stay hydrated, but since fresh water sources aren’t available on the trail, your stomach can help! Well…more specifically the stuff you put IN your stomach; eating certain types of foods can naturally increase your body’s absorption of water, helping you stay hydrated. Eat a few of these easy-to-find foods to help beat the heat!