Whenever I venture into the mountains, I constantly hear people telling me to “drink more water!” However, I never understood why one must hydrate more at higher elevations. After doing some research I finally have the answer—one we can all benefit from.
I learned from Livestrong.com that before we dive into how much water we should be drinking and why we get dehydrated easier at high altitudes than low altitudes, we must first define what “high altitude” constitutes as. It turns out that high altitude is between 5,000 and 11,500 feet and very high altitude is between 11,500 and 18,000 feet (International Society for Mountain Medicine). According to this, we should already be drinking more water because Fixt Movement is above 5,000 feet.
So, why exactly do we become dehydrated at high altitudes? Sweat evaporates faster at high altitudes than at low altitudes. Additionally, water is lost through respiration more quickly when one is above 5,000 feet. You may not notice it, but your body loses water at high rates no matter if you are exerting yourself or not. This is increased exponentially at high altitudes.
The effects of dehydration are extreme and will quickly ruin your mountain vacation. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and other problems. Severe dehydration requires hospitalization and could be deadly. To put it simply, you’ll want to drink as much water as you can.
As we’ve seen, staying hydrated is crucial, but how much water should you be drinking? When not at altitude, you should be drinking your body weight in ounces of water. However, at altitude, you should ideally be adding about a liter to 1.5 liters to your daily water intake (Institute for Altitude Medicine). On top of drinking regular water, water with electrolyte supplements or some other form of carbohydrate is great for staying healthy at altitude.
Whether you’re skiing, hiking, mountain biking, or simply enjoying the view, don’t let dehydration ruin your mountain adventures. Follow these guidelines and keep your body healthy and running smoothly at high altitude.
By Fixt Blogger Emma