I recently spent a day with some professional rugby coaches doing a 4×4 and a defensive driving exercise. We were in the sun most of the day but were supplied plenty of water and cold drinks at the lunch as well as at the tracks where we conducted the courses.
With few exceptions they all drank water which is not the norm when we train, fizzy drinks are normally the most popular.
So knowing the “importance” of water especially when we are outdoors in the bush I sat down with one of the coaches and discussed water with him.
We spoke about the “drink eight glasses a day” “ Coffee and Tea will not hydrate you etc. This has a bearing as we do spend time outdoors. Drinking water is also attributed the weight loss what is the feeling from a pro?
Well as he put it the first myth is that you have to drink 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated, but there is not much evidence to support that claim. He did say that water is essential as our bodies are composed of water, it flushes our systems and especially when outdoors cools our bodies as we sweat.
There is a balance, too little water leads to dehydration and too much will cause cells to swell.
So how much should we drink? Well, this depends on, body size, temperature (you are in a desert ) and how much you are exerting yourself. In the last instance, how much you sweat!
As we discussed this I realised that there is no rule as to how much water you should consume other that satisfying your thirst. Do what your body tells you!
This helps you drink enough, neither too much nor too little.
So you need to balance water with salt and this is essential when out in the bush. Sodium is essential for bodily function and regulates the amount of fluid we need to stay hydrated.
We need to pay attention to feeling thirsty, our brains check with our blood checking saline levels. They tell you when you need more water! Then if you drink too much it’s off to the loo.
So just trust your body, it will tell you how much water you need. But watch it when you are outdoors. Temperatures make a difference.
There are exceptions, older folk do have a reduced sensitivity to thirst and should be watched. Water intake can help with many conditions such as kidney disease, infections and uti’s.
I think a big myth that needs to be examined is that of tea and coffee. Are they that bad? they are part of any Adventure.
But the studies never proved anything.
At the end of the day, it’s about a healthy diet, skipping sports drinks and healthy exercise or hiking, your body will replace the necessary in terms of nutrition and water.
The bottom line, your body tells you what you want especially outdoors!
The one thing I can say is that drinking water before a meal does stop you from eating too much and is thus a good idea.