For hikers, cyclists and runners, staying active is one of the keys to living a healthy and fulfilling life. One essential way for athletes to ensure they are performing at their best — and staying safe while doing it — is by drinking water. Hydration is one of the keys to ensuring good health, especially while sweating it out.
Active people who want to drink water on the go can choose from a variety of water containers, from water bottles to disposable cups to water fountains in the park. One of the best ways for athletes to stay properly hydrated is with a hydration pack — a wearable water container that consists of a refillable bladder and a backpack device to hold it. This makes drinking water easier and more convenient than ever before. Here's how a hydration pack can make your cycling, hiking, and running experience better.
1. Hydration Is Essential for Active People
If you spend time hiking, cycling, running or just being generally active, it's important that you stay properly hydrated. Water keeps your joints lubricated while you move, and it helps regulate your body temperature. Water is also essential for transporting nutrients to every part of your body. If you are planning to move around and sweat, the American Council on Exercise recommends the following basic water-drinking guidelines:
• 2-3 hours before exercise: Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water.
• 20-30 minutes before exercising: Drink 8 ounces of water
• Every 10-20 minutes while you exercise: Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water
• 30 minutes after exercise is complete: Drink 8 ounces of water
Using a hydration pack is a simple, convenient way to carry water with you. It ensures you have easy access to water while you sweat it out and encourages you to take drinks while you move. After all, we're more likely to do something when it is easier and more convenient for us.
2. Hydration Packs Are Ergonomically Friendly
Water is relatively heavy and dense. When you wear a hydration pack, you can carry that heavy, dense material somewhere other than in your hands. The exercise you're doing is probably already hard enough, and you don't need to add an additional strain by carrying a water bottle. Hydration packs solve that issue, allowing you to focus only on the physical challenge of what you're doing and not on the added weight and awkwardness of a handheld water bottle. You also may find it hard to stay motivated while participating in a strenuous activity. Some people think short breaks will help them stay fresh, letting them jump back into the race or hit the trail with renewed enthusiasm. For most people, though, taking a break makes it even harder to stay focused.
Hydration packs help you avoid this situation. Since you don't have to stop to take a drink, you keep your mind focused on the task at hand. Just take a sip from your pack and keep moving!
3. Hydration Packs Free Up Your Hands
If you're a cyclist or a hiker, you know the importance of having free hands; they allow you to control your bike, and they help stabilize you while climbing. Hydration packs allow you to keep water with you while you're on the go but still have free hands. This means you can stay hydrated but still have your hands free to help you stay strong and safe.
Less water in your system means fatigue. Which means when you want to run faster, jump higher or cycle quicker — you can’t. What’s worse, these activities can feel more laborious and unpleasant if you’re dehydrated.
4. You Stay Hydrated to Avoid Health Problems
Dehydration isn't something you want to mess around with during endurance sports. As your body loses moisture, you put yourself at risk of serious health problems, including seizures, low blood volume shock, and heatstroke. Drinking water throughout exercise replaces lost fluids so you stay properly hydrated.
Frequent dehydration can also cause long-term health problems. You may not notice them for years, but they will happen if you don't keep yourself hydrated. For instance, if you don't replace lost moisture, there is a good chance you will develop painful kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that kidney stones aren't a serious problem. While most people don't need surgery to remove the stones, they often discover that the mineral deposits can cause severe pain and blood in the urine. Ouch! Just stay hydrated, so you never have to worry about those issues.
Remember: if you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated.
The easiest way to be intentional about your on-the-trail water intake is a hydration pack. This simple solution is non-invasive, and since you don't have to stop to pull a bottle out of a backpack, you can drink more often. Best of all, they hold up to two liters, meaning you can drink more water mid-activity, keeping you hydrated in the short-term and protecting you from long-term conditions down the road.