The Importance of Staying Hydrated for Outdoor Adventures
Everyone knows how important hydration is – right? We have all heard how important it is to drink 8 glasses a water a day and to take a water bottle with us when we work out.
In reality though, few of us really grasp how close we are to serious dehydration and what the consequences of that state really are – especially when we are outdoors and away from the convenience of tap water.
The Edge of Dehydration
According to Larry Kenney, a professor at Penn State teaching physiology and kinesiology, it only takes a three to four percent change change in hydration levels to experience possible health consequences. It only takes a measly two percent change to create measurable deficiencies in sports performance. This is really not a lot of difference between being perfectly hydrated and can happen quickly on outdoor adventures.
The symptoms of dehydration can be severe and dangerous, including severe anxiety, confusion, altered behavior, faintness and a loss of consciousness. All things you want to avoid when you are in the wilderness.
This is why it is so important to bring along a water source when you head out on a hike or other outdoor trek. You never know what will happen – perhaps best demonstrated by the film 127 Hours, where an avid outdoor adventurer finds himself trapped by a rock for days.
Based off of a true story, Aron Ralston spends five days thirsty, starving and trapped, until he finally is forced to amputate his own arm. Many lessons can be taken from the movie, perhaps most importantly that you should always tell others where you are going and always be prepared.
You Have Options
People have been figuring out ways to treat their drinking water for a very long time, as discussed by the EPA in “The History of Drinking Water Treatment.” It explains how long humans have been working on getting clean water and how far we have come in the process. Luckily for us, there are a ton of options now available to bring water with you on your adventures and to clean the water you find at natural sources to keep your supplies full.
From stainless steel and polycarbonate water bottles to hydration systems carried on your back, you can carry a good deal of water comfortably and safely for days on end. This is important, because you should never leave for even a short hike without some water. There are also filtration systems available, from water bottle tops to pumps to the old standby – iodine tablets.
There is no reason to be unprepared nowadays when you are outdoors. Be smart, stay hydrated and enjoy your adventures.