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How dry I am

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A common mistake made by hikers is not drinking enough water. Most people don’t realize its impact on your health and the importance of drinking enough water everyday. There are signs indicating dehydration, the obvious one a dry mouth with feeling of thirst.

A critical question is how much is enough water? General guidelines are often given but aren’t entirely effective for everyone and often do not lead to action.

Here’s a formula based method of determining daily water needs based on body weight. Sixty seven percent of body weight equals the number of ounces of water to drink daily. So for instance a 100-pound person should drink 67 ounces (8 1/2 - 8 oz. glasses) water, 200 pounds would be 134 ounces.

A less noticeable sign of dehydration is lack of energy, restlessness or cranky feeling. An effective indicator of dehydration is low output volume or a dark yellow urine color. Urinating on snow while hiking in winter clearly indicates your degree of hydration.

Three factors affect ones hydration. Climate affects hydration as an increase in temperature, humidity or change in elevation has a direct effect. Second the level of exertion affects the amount of dehydration. Lastly not all people have the same requirements to achieve hydration, greater body weight needs more water.

Now you know how much water to drink you may think drinking over 100 ounces of water daily is an impossible goal. Here are some tips to achieve this goal.

1) Drink an 8-ounce glass of water upon first awakening in the morning and another before you retire for the night.
2) Keep track of your daily intake by using a measured drinking container.
3) Infuse your water with flavoring that you like. There are many drink mixes for lemonade etc may be helpful. A natural solution would be adding a lemon slice or juice to your water. One such example is a product from Kraft foods named MIO.
4) One option for staying hydrated is a sports drink such as Gatorade. In addition to hydration the drink provides electrolytes, vitamins and minerals. Using sports drink meets more than one of the bodies needs.

But carbonated beverages are not the best choice for hydration. Its sugar content is high and not refreshing for ones thirst. And the high concentration of sugar can lead to weight problems.

Gatorade was first developed in 1965 by researchers at University of Florida to find a solution for replacing water, carbohydrates and electrolytes lost in sweat during rigorous competition. This early runner is a leader in this field.

MIO is another option, a Kraft Foods product. It is an artificially colored sweetener of concentrated syrups with 60 mg caffeine per serving. It comes in a small squeeze bottle with a variety of flavors, for adding a few squeezes to give flavor.

Drinking adequate water each day should become a daily habit like breathing to insure one’s best health.

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