You didn’t swallow any cotton and it’s not the drier air. You didn’t go on an apple juice binge. And you’ve been in the mountains long enough to know that you don’t have altitude sickness. So why do you feel like you’re underperforming as you exercise?
You know some of the performance warning signs. You’re an 8:30 am to 4 pm kinda guy on your skis but you’re ready to call it quits at lunch (and no, it’s not a food coma from an Epic Burger and Two Elk bar). Your runs are slow even though you feel fast. You’re huffing and puffing after a hike that you could complete in your sleep. You’re putting pedal to the metal yet your power wattage is low while your heart is racing. What can keep you from crashing? You need to hydrate.
The National Institutes of Health said it best: “Water is the most important, yet overlooked, nutrient for athletes.” Based on personal experience, I’d believe them. I’ve cramped on a run, sweat through all my energy stores on the bike, had a killer headache and cramped during a swim, had so much cotton mouth while skiing that I stopped counting. It’s not pretty. If only I had more sense to do something as simple as drink more water than what I was having, which was probably only enough to moisten my mouth.
But that doesn’t mean you have to falter like I did. Here’s why you want to hydrate especially while exercising and especially in the mountains:
Do you really want your performance to decrease simply because you couldn’t replenish your fluids or you were running on empty? I didn’t think so. Talk about squashing a mountain adventure, and who’d want that?
Photo credit: lululemon athletica