Hydration 101 - By Kristy Titus
Kristy Titus is part of the Elk Hunter & Western Hunter editorial staff. She writes her column "Hunters Nutrition" in every issue. Subscribe to the magazine to read all of her columns.
Hydration for Hunters
Climbing mountains in the most severe conditions, pushing your mind and body to the limit on a daily basis – yes, hunting season is just around the corner. The only true test of our individual performance level and overall toughness comes courtesy of Mother Nature.
The road to hunting season is oftentimes paved with the good intentions of getting our body properly conditioned; being human, we often get off course with the hustle and bustle of life, and conditioning can often times go by the wayside.
Pushing your body in the backcountry in less than ideal physical condition is hard; pushing a poorly conditioned, dehydrated body is downright dangerous due to increased risk of heart attack and hyperthermia.
You can lose as much as 4% of your entire body weight in the form of sweat, causing your blood to become less fluid due to water loss, subsequently causing the blood to become thicker and increasing the workload of the heart, which could potentially result in a heart attack. Proper hydration is critical before, during and after your next trip into the backcountry to ensure that your body will have what it needs for optimal in field performance.
What to Consider Before Going Afield
Temperature: The higher the thermometer climbs, the more your body is going to sweat in order to keep cool, causing higher levels of water loss within the body.
Relative Humidity: When the air is saturated with moisture, the body loses its ability to naturally cool itself off by evaporating sweat efficiently, therefore causing the body’s internal temperatures to potentially reach dangerous levels that can cause hyperthermia. Water intake is critical in humid environments.
Hydration Level: If you enter the field in an already dehydrated state, you’re in great danger of suffering from severe dehydration, hyperthermia, and even heart attack. Before your next trip into the field, drink a minimum of 96 ounces or three quarts of water per inactive day and during days of high activity, double that amount - an equivalent of 192 ounces or six quarts of water per day. In the morning, be sure to consume at least 2-3 cups of water to boost your hydration level.
Did you know…
- If you’re thirsty, your body is already in a state of dehydration.
- Thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Mild to moderate dehydration can cause sugar and food cravings, especially in the evening, so before you pick up a snack, drink a large glass of water.
- Mild dehydration may slow your metabolic rate by as much as 3-5%.
- 80% of people suffering from dehydration have increased back & joint pain.
- Dehydration can cause daytime fatigue and decreased motor skills, concentration, and memory retention.
- Dehydration can be attributed to an increased risk of colon, breast, and bladder cancer.
- If there is water in the area, don’t weigh yourself down carrying excessive amount water. Instead, I carry an ultraviolet water purifier with me, like a SteriPen. These are lightweight and work fast, treating 16 oz. of water in only 48 seconds.
- By adding Wilderness Athlete Hydrate & Recover to your infield hydration system, you’re not only replenishing fluid loss, but also necessary electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucosamine, antioxidants, and metabolic cofactors that power their way into the cells of the body, providing a precisely balanced mineral and electrolyte composition to replenish these vital elements and maintain peak muscle physiology.