The best defense against dehydration is a good offense -- drink often - at least 1 litre per hr. for moderate activity in moderate conditions. It's also better to drink continuously - 6-8 oz. every 15-20 minutes is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine. Remember that thirst is a delayed response, and by the time you're thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So pre-hydrating is vital before taking part in any summer exercise. The ACSM also recommends drinking between 14-20 oz. of fluids two hours before exercising.
The night before your planned activity, fill your reservoir about halfway with water and lay it flat in the freezer (make sure to lay it flat so the water freezes evenly and not in big lump at the bottom of the reservoir). The next day, before starting out, fill the rest of the reservoir with water. The huge chunk of ice will melt much slower than if strictly ice cubes were used. You'll have cold water for a much longer peroid of time throughout the day. This tip isn't just for the "refreshing factor", although that's nice. It's been proven that your body absorbs cooler water more rapidly than warm water.
If you hate that first warm sip of water from your hydration pack, this tip can help you. This is something we've always recommended for our winter hydration packs, but it works well in summer too. When finished drinking, blow the water back through the tube into the reservoir. This will prevent the water from warming up in the drinking tube.
You don't have to be in a marathon or on a century ride for your body to thirst for electrolytes. In the summer heat, think of how often you bring a sports drink to a ballgame, BBQ, or to the lake. CamelBak's Elixir is sugar-free, highly portable and can easily be split in half and added to a small bottle of water or used with the CamelBak Better Bottle. It contains a healthy amount of sodium, which allows your body to absorb water and rehydrate faster, and can help prevent the onset of hyponatremia (when sodium levels in the body reach a dangerously low level).
Don't forget that swimming, wakeboarding, and rafting are all water sports that dehydrate you just as much as exercises on land. Plus, your're probably going to be in the sun's glare for the duration of the activity. The CamelBak Better Bottle is a great rafting companion - just use a carabiner to clip it to your life jacket. Or clip it inside your raft and let it sit in some cool river water to stay cold. Make sure you keep plenty of water in the boat during a wakeboarding session.
Dehydration can set in sooner than you think. You can easily lose 2 liters/hour on a hard ride or a run on a hot day. In a recent position statement of the National Athletic Trainers Association, as little as a 1 to 2 percent loss of fluids could negatively affect function and performance. A 1 to 2 percent loss of fluids can occur after a little more than one hour of moderate activity in cool weather. At 3 percent, the risk of potential heat illness increases exponentially.
Water is usually expensive and often neglected at concerts, amusement parks, baseball games and other events. Bring a recyclable plastic bottle of water or even a hydration pack into the venue.
|Dehydration Levels||% of Body Weight Lost||Fluid Loss in LBS and Liters||About How Soon This Can Happen||Effects and Symptoms|
|Minor||1%|| 1.5 lbs
|1 hour||Decreased athletic performance, decreased muscular endurance|
|Initial Stage||2%|| 3.0 lbs
|2-3 hours||Muscle cramps, loss of strength, fatigue|
|Performance Loss||3%|| 4.5 lbs
|3-4 hours||Dizziness, serious fatigue, nausea, high temperature|
|Heat Stroke||7+%|| 11+ lbs
|7+ hours||Collapse, loss of consciousness|