Thirsty on South Boulder Peak
As the weather warms up, staying hydrated becomes more and more important. Water is the quintessential thirst quencher and no other liquid will alleviate dehydrate as effectively and as naturally without adding calories to your waistline. Over the years, bottled water has become a manufactured necessity distracting us from how fortunate we are to having potable water flowing from our taps.
I had a pretty scary experience while in Denver Colorado last year. I decided to go for a hike up South Boulder Peak. I got up early to beat the heat and packed my bags filled my water bladder for my backpack and off I went. I’m not sure how I did it, but somehow I managed to forget my water bladder at home and only had my 1 litre water bottle with me and it didn’t even realize I had forgotten it until I was halfway up the trail. I wasn’t about to quit the hike (I can be stubborn like that) so I did my best to ration the water I had to last the rest of the hike.
The hike was rated hard, and it sure was! A lot of stair like rocks to climb and it was a warm day! But i managed to make it to the summit and was rewarded with a beautiful view. However; I was also down to minimal water and had at least a 2 hour hike down which was not ideal for my hydration levels. There were a couple times I crossed tiny creeks and I stopped to stick my hands in and splash some water on me, that’s how badly I wanted water! When I finally got to the bottom again there was a river and I basically jumped in!
Happily there was a gas station only a few minutes drive from the trail head and I was able to stock up on water, but when you are that dehydrated you can’t just go chugging water down, or you’ll make yourself sick! It was quite the day to say the least. I want to chat a little about the importance of water in our life and then give you a couple tips on what to do if you ever find yourself like I did, completely dehydrated.
The average person excretes about 2.5 litres of water per day. Breaking a sweat obviously increases that loss. To replace that water loss and maintain proper cell function, we need to drink about two litres of fluid. Eating foods with a high water content will take care of the remaining half litre or so.
There are so many basic functions our body does that require water. I’ll cover a couple of them here. I love talking digestion and this is where our water journey begins. The saliva in our mouth has enzymes to help us digest our food, but it is primarily made up of water. A small sip of water with your food helps wash your food down and continue the process of digestion.
Once water has left your mouth it travels down into your stomach and is then absorbed by your small intestine. The water absorbed here is then transported through your body in blood, so drinking water helps you keep you in a healthy blood supply. Water also helps move waste through your intestines so it can be easily eliminated.
Our sweat is also composed of water along with electrolytes, minerals and other things that your body wants to eliminate. Proper hydration with water gives your body the ability to sweat the junk right out.
Speaking of dehydration, water can improve your mood and even being slightly dehydrated has been shown to negatively impact your state of mind. It helps energize us. So next time you are feeling a bit like a zombie, have a glass of water because feeling tired is one of the first signs of dehydration.
Sore joints anyone?? Water helps keep the cartilage around our joints hydrated and supple, it keeps our joints lubricated so everything can keep moving smoothly.
There are so many benefits of drinking enough water I could go on for days, but I wont!
I do however want to share a few tips I learned after my dehydration experience that I hope will help you should you ever have a similar brain fart and leave all your water at home.
Drink plenty of fluids! You need to get more fluids into you at this point, so have some water, herbal tea, even a smoothie, but like I said before don’t go guzzling it down, you need to sip at it. And beware of fluids like coffee and alcohol that will actually dehydrate you.
Find yourself some coconut water, it is nature's Gatorade (and a heck of a lot better for you!) sip on this to help replenish your electrolytes.
Eat some high-water foods like leafy greens, berries or celery you will absorb a lot of water from them that will help to re-hydrate you.
You may even need a little sugar, listen to your body and see what it needs. I went into Boulder Colorado after my hike and was searching for a smoothie, when I couldn’t find one, I stopped at this amazing Popsicle spot where they make gourmet popsicles with real food ingredients and it was exactly what I needed!
Keep these tips in mind if ever you need them, but obviously your first line of defense against dehydration is to be prepared and double check your backpack for your water before you leave the house. Stay fresh friends. Xo