Hydration Tips for Hiking and Outdoor Activities

Date:  June 29, 2016


Hydration Tips for Hiking and Outdoor Activities

iStock_71518707_webCanada has no shortage of beautiful hiking trails. Hiking is a type of activity that has a number of benefits to your physical and mental health, and is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. That being said, whether you are a beginner or an experienced hiker, you should make sure you are prepared for your hike: take into consideration the duration, terrain and level of difficulty.

The amount of water needed when hiking outdoors can vary depending on the season and climate. When planning your adventure, be sure to research the location to learn more about the distance you will be travelling and identify any available water sources.

Dehydration can be a serious threat to your health, as it can cause headaches, confusion, and disorientation, which can quickly lead to a hiker getting lost and can increase one’s risk of injury.

Here are some tips to help keep you hydrated on your next hike1: 

  • When the weather is hot and a person sweats heavily, simply drinking water may not be enough since the body is also sweating salts.
    • Eating salty snacks can help maintain a greater balance between the body’s salt and water content.
    • You may want to consider sports drinks for longer hikes, as these contain salts, potassium, and electrolytes. Drink in moderation as they often contain large amounts of sugar.
  • When hiking with children, be mindful to check their water bottles periodically to ensure that they are taking the time to consume enough water.
  • Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages before a long hike—they act as diuretics, causing you to urinate more often.
  • Both in the winter and in drier climates, the body can dehydrate faster. For example, cold and dry air (which dries out your skin) can lead to dehydration faster than in warm humid air (which holds moisture). Given this, it is important not to ignore hydration in the winter or colder temperatures.

While on your hike, you can also avoid dehydration by paying attention to the signals your body is giving you. Remember: once you are thirsty, your body has already begun to dehydrate—make sure to drink adequate water before, during, and after physical activity. It is also suggested to drink one litre of water for every hour of heavy exercise.1 After losing two litres of water, your body can start holding you back, operating up to twenty percent less efficiently.2

Hiking can be a strenuous activity, so it is important to be prepared before long journeys. Review our Fit Tips or talk your chiropractor to ensure you can minimize the risk of injuries and have a great outdoor experience.

Keep your water bottle full and on hand and enjoy the amazing environment Canada has to offer!



1 American Hiking Society, Avoid Dehydration: drink enough water to stay safe outside,” http://www.americanhiking.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Avoiding-Dehydration-fact-sheet.pdf

2 Eastern Maintain Sports, “Staying hydrated on a warm weather hike,” https://www.ems.com/ea-staying-hydrated-on-a-warm-weather-hike.html