Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Paddle boaters need good hydration for optimum paddling performance.

Kayakers, IKers, rafters, canoers and innertubers need to hydrate to maintain power and endurance while boating.

After realizing that I am letting myself get very dehydrated on river trips I did some research and here is the best of what I found online.

Hydration = Balance - Ke Nalu Stand Up Paddle Surfing e-magazine 11may2009.
"Dehydration slows muscle response and detunes the fine muscle control that is critical to maintaining balance. There are other reasons too – physical performance, both intensity and endurance, falls quickly as athletes become dehydrated. In the longer term, operating in a dehydrated state is bad for your immune system, hard on your kidneys, and bad for your heart and lungs."

Why Don't Athletes Drink Enough During Exercise - Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
"Most athletes lose substantially more body fluids through sweat than they replace by drinking during exercise. This so-called 'voluntary dehydration' can have serious implications for health and performance."

RoguePaddler - Paddle Comfortably: 9 Tips for Paddling Comfort.
"Prehydration means taking a drink before you actually feel thirsty. If you wait until you feel thirsty to drink, you're already letting yourself begin to feel dehydrated: Thirst is the first symptom. If you want to get the best out of your muscles, with less soreness and fatigue, it's important to prehydrate. That means taking regular sips of water throughout the day—usually, every ten to fifteen minutes. In fact, exercise scientists generally recommend that you drink 8 fluid ounces (one cup) of water for every 20 minutes of exercise."

Drinking during exercise - Sports Hydration - Powerade.
"Dehydration results in increased body temperature, increased heart rate, increased ratings of effort, reduced physical performance, and reduced mental performance. Hence, drinking during exercise can help minimise detrimental effects, especially during more prolonged and/or higher intensities of exercise."

Sports nutrition for young adults: hydration - Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
"The body can lose up to half a gallon of water a day through normal perspiration, respiration, and excretion processes. During prolonged physical activity, water losses increase due to increased breathing and sweating. In fact, during heavy exercise, an athlete can lose between 2 and 4 quarts of sweat (6 to 8 pounds of body weight) in just one hour! The body's digestive system can only absorb about 1 quart of fluid per hour, so an athlete must consume fluids before, during, and after exercise to replace fluid losses and minimize dehydration."

Sports Medicine Advisor 2009.1: Fluids and Hydration.
"Fluid replacement is probably the most important nutritional concern for athletes. ... When you are dehydrated ... your exercising muscles do not receive enough oxygen from your blood. Soon exhaustion sets in and your athletic performance suffers. ... The best way to prevent dehydration is to maintain body fluid levels by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after a workout ..."

Keeping Well Hydrated During Football - Virginia Tech Sports Medicine.
"Probably the single most important action that athletes can take is to be proactive about hydration. Just as not training prevents an athlete from improving, dehydration can actually hinder athletic performance. The body starts recognizing thirst when the athlete is 2% dehydrated; athlete's performance begins to decrease dramatically with as little as 1% dehydration."

TopKayaker.Net: Kayaker's Guide to Understanding Hydration.
"Salty snacks + hydration fluids = good stamina / clear thinking / A great time on the water"

HydraCoach - Education, A Few Facts About Hydration.
"The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends drinking about 17 ounces of liquid 2 hours before exercise and drinking early and at regular intervals during exercise (5-8 oz every 15-20 minutes)."

Hydration Calculator for improved sports performance - HydraCoach.
The Hydration Calculator makes custom hydration suggestions based on your weight, activity level and exercise intensity. Try it out! Are you drinking anywhere near the recommended amount of liquid per hour on whitewater boating trips?

Improving my hydration during whitewater paddleboating trips.

How can you determine when you are dehydrated? Weighing yourself before, during & after exercise works at home, but not on the river. Noticing the color of your pee is useful, but may not work so well when peeing on sand or gravel in a river canyon. One thing for sure is that if you don't need to pee multiple times during an all-day boating trip you are almost certainly dehydrated. If you don't need to pee even once during an all-day trip, then you are very severely dehydrated! Now that you know that all of you are dehydrated while boating and that your muscle performance is reduced as a result lets take some action to improve our hydration so we all can have more fun and better muscle performance on river boating trips!!

I've definitely got to work on increasing my fluid intake before, during and after boating. I need to be more consistent about bringing something to drink while driving to the river. I've been bringing two bottles of liquid in my kayak on all trips lately, but I rarely finish them while boating. I need to finish the first bottle at lunch if not before and be sure to finish the second bottle at takeout if not before. Whenever I see another boater drinking that is a good time for me to drink also, because I'm probably dehydrated even though I never feel thirsty while boating. Getting into the habit of taking a quick small drink while waiting in line at a surfing spot also seems like a good idea. I'll start packing an extra bottle of rehydration liquid and a small cooler to have waiting at take-out for the ride home.

Dehydration of your body can carry over from one day to the next. As your activities are finishing up at the end of the day it is important that the color of your pee should be clear. You want to ensure that you have fully rehydrated to replace the fluids lost in that day's activities. If you didn't fully rehydrate after your activities of the previous day, then you will be starting the next day in a dehydrated state. Since your body can absorb only one quart of fluid per hour (see above) you can't suddenly drink massive amounts of fluid to ensure that you start today's activities in a fully hydrated state. So remember to start drinking more yesterday if you want to make sure that you are fully hydrated today for maximum muscle performance.

More about: Food & Drink for Outdoor Activities - BRT Insights.

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