SXS Wellness Tip: Water, don’t leave home without it!

Summer is here and with it comes summer ski camps and hot, humid weather. Summer also brings dehydration, especially for athletes who are exercising in the heat or at high altitudes. We all know that an increase in heat makes us sweat more which depletes the body’s water supply. High altitudes also present challenges for the body. If you are training this summer on glaciers be aware that the air is thinner and tends to be dryer at higher altitudes. Even breathing will use more body fluids than at lower altitudes causing a much greater risk of dehydration. Extreme heat and high altitudes both lead to increased fatigue which will not allow your body to function optimally, resulting in a decrease in performance; training productivity and can lead to injury if you try to push through the fatigue.

To prevent a decreased performance level, you need to hydrate BEFORE, DURING and AFTER your workouts and training. Plain water is often all you need unless you are exercising/ training for more than 90 minutes at a time, then you should consider adding an electrolyte to the mix. Electrolytes help replenish the sodium that sweat releases. In extreme cases, drinking only plain water during long endurance exercise can lead to hyponatremia, a serious condition.

The exact amount of water and electrolytes needed is determined by body size, level of intensity, duration, temperature and humidity levels, personal sweat response and if there is weight loss between the beginning and end of exercise duration. The average sweat rate for athletes is 0.5 – 2.0 liters an hour. To offset the fluid loss and prevent dehydration you need to ingest 0.5 – 2.0 liters/hour of fluid. A rough guideline is to ingest 6-8oz of cold water (with or without electrolytes depending on need) every 5-15 minutes of exercise. If any weight is lost between beginning and end of exercise, you need to consume 3 cups of water for every pound lost.

So remember, when you are outside training this summer in hot, humid weather, or at high altitudes on a glacier, HYDRATION can be major component to your success.

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