468x60 Static

Monday, July 23, 2012

How about that heat?

It should go without saying that when the mercury rises we should always remember to hydrate before, during, and after any outdoor activity.  Aside from the cliche phrase that Camelbak has coined (Hydrate or die), you need to keep in mind how to dress.  I prefer to wear pants and long sleeves all year, even when you can cook an egg on the pavement.  Sounds crazy, right?  Well for one it's what I'm used to and I don't always wear long sleeves, but it does offer protection from the sun.  If you choose to wear long sleeves and pants in extreme heat be sure that what you wear is designed for the climate and season that you're in.  Light colored clothes will reflect more heat than it will absorb so it is a good idea to wear light moisture wicking clothing during the warmer seasons.  Additionally there are a few companies that have made gear specifically with this in mind and added in fibers to offer up to SPF 30 protection.

For me, the number one rule of thumb concerning dehydration is that if you feel thirsty you're already dehyrdated and need to stop, drink water, and rest in the shade while drinking more water.  Also, the darker that your urine the more dehydrated you are.  You want to keep your urine as clear as possible, but that is not everything you need to do to prevent dehyrdation.  Typically people loose equal parts water and electrolytes (such as salt).  Our bodies need both of these to be able to function properly.  If you choose to drink sugary sports drinks keep it at a ratio of 4:1.  4 bottles of water to every 1 bottle of equivelant volume of sports drink.

Even if you are properly hyrdated and continue to hyrdate while you exercise or outside in the heat if at any time you stop sweating get to a cool area and drink water immediately.  This is a sure sign that you are dangerously dehydrated, and I know from personal experience having misjudged the amount of water I would need for one of my first hikes.  It is not a fun feeling having your body shut down on you and knowing that the nearest first responder is at least 2hrs away.