Everything you need to know to boost your hill hydration this summer.
Dehydration can knobble you all year round, but it's in the
summer when it can become a real problem for most of us. High
temperatures and hard work mean it's all too easy to lose fluid and
that's bad news - tests show that just 5 per-cent dehydration
can cause a 30 per-cent decline in performance.
As you dehydrate, your pulse rate gets higher to maintain the same
level of performance, but more worryingly, eventually dehydration can
also cause more serious consequences like headaches, cramps, fatigue,
vomiting, coma and death...
How Do You Know
Unfortunately your thirst reflex lags behind, so by the time you
feel thirsty and reach for the bottle, you're already on the slippery
slope - by the time you're gagging for fluid, it's already too
Another tip is to keep an eye on the colour of your urine. It
should be clear or pale yellow, the darker and more concentrated it
is, the more dessicated you're becoming.
Top Tip If you're thirsty, it's too late, you're
already becoming dehydrated.
Fill Up In Advance
First tip is to drink steadily before you hit the hill. It takes a
while to reach full hydration, so you need to give your body a
fighting chance. Next, fluid is absorbed more efficiently from an
already filled gut, so by starting off well watered, you make it more
likely that you'll be able to keep taking liquid on board.
Top Tip Start hydrated and you're more likely to
How Much To Drink
Working hard, particularly in hot conditions, you can use
between 500 ml and 1600ml of fluid per hour and ideally
you want to replace as much of that as possible.
The most efficient way of taking on water is to drink little and
often and the easiest way of doing that is to use a hydration
system which you can sip from as you walk. The downside is that
it's harder to know how much fluid you've used.
You should allow an absolute minimum of 500ml per hour and if
possible, one litre per hour - more in very hot conditons - is a good
Top Tip Look for opportunities to top up your
water supplies during the day.
What To Drink
Water is a good start, but using powdered sports
drinks of the right concentration can actually speed up gastic
emptying over water alone. In addition, some drinks will contain
vital electrolytes and minerals which you need to maintain optimum
performance. The electrolytes replace those you sweat out and help
your overall performance.
In very hot weather, mix the drinks at a lower
concentration than recommended to speed up absorption. Don't
over-concentrate the drink or you'll actually slow down the speed you
Generally try to avoid diuretics like alcohol and caffeine.
Alcohol is particularly bad either in advance or while on the hill.
Tea and coffee are also diuretic, but recent research suggests that
they have minimal effect while you're actually moving.
However, they're not ideal beverages for pre-hydrating, so don't
overdo the tea before heading out.
Top Tip Save the beer for the end of the day -
your body will thank you.
There's a wealth of hill fitness information in our Health
and Fitness section.
Decide on a hydration system using our Hydration System Buyer's
See relevant site and user reviews in our Review
Finally, scroll down for more related articles.