Tips for Staying Hydrated While Snowboarding
Board? Check. Snowboarding pants and jacket? Check. Goggles? Check.
You’ve got all your gear and you’re ready to hit the mountain, right? Not so fast. Don’t forget about your hydration!
Proper hydration is essential if you want to be safe and have a great run. Here are some tips to help you make it a priority so you can feel great while boarding.
What Happens When You’re Dehydrated?
When most people think of dehydration, they think about not drinking enough water.
Of course, your fluid intake plays a big role in keeping your body properly hydrated. If you’re taking in less fluid than what your body needs, you could end up dehydrated.
It’s not just about drinking more water, though. You also need to think about your electrolyte balance.
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals. They carry out a variety of bodily processes, including the following :
- Controlling fluid balance
- Regulating blood pressure
- Regulating muscle contractions
- Maintaining proper blood pH
This first process is especially important when it comes to hydration.
Without proper electrolyte levels, you’ll have a harder time maintaining proper fluid balance and will be more prone to dehydration. This can happen even if you’re technically drinking “enough” water throughout the day.
Some electrolytes that are most important for hydration include sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
Signs of Dehydration
If you’re dehydrated while you’re out snowboarding, you may experience a wide range of symptoms. The following are some of the most common symptoms associated with dehydration and snowboarding:
You know the “3 ‘o clock bonk?” That major dip in energy that hits in the afternoon when you’re out on the mountain?
If you’re dehydrated, your body has to work harder to pump blood to your brain and the rest of your body . This extra work means you’re going to get tired faster. And while snowboarding is lots of fun, it can be exhausting.
The solution to this problem isn’t to pound a bunch of caffeine or sugar. Instead, it’s just as likely that you’re dehydrated, and one thing to help with energy levels is rehydrating to keep you energized and alert for the second half of your runs.
Dizziness and Confusion
If you’re not getting a sufficient amount of blood and oxygen delivered to your brain, you could find yourself feeling dizzy and lightheaded. You might even feel confused or have trouble with your decision-making, too. Once again, this is a common symptom people experience when dehydrated. It’s important to pause, regroup, and rehydrate to help you continue to perform your best. Snowboarding, like all winter sports, requires great focus and starting with proper hydration is a great foundation to build on.
Muscle Weakness and Muscle Cramps
Dehydration has a serious impact on your muscles. Remember, muscles are about 79 percent water . If you’re not taking in enough fluids and electrolytes, the blood flow to your muscles slows down. This, in turn, can cause excessive muscle contractions and spasms, which can lead to cramping and discomfort, especially when you’re doing something as physically demanding as snowboarding.
Reduced blood flow to the muscles can lead to feelings of weakness, too. If you’re feeling weak while you’re out snowboarding, you’re going to have a hard time performing to the best of your abilities. You might even be setting yourself up for a potential injury.
Side stitches are also known as exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP). You can feel this type of pain (which may be cramping, dull, or stabbing) on either side of your abdomen, but the right side is more common.
Dehydration may make you more prone to side stitches, especially when you’re out doing something strenuous like snowboarding.
Remember, dehydration affects blood flow and can cause muscle cramps. It makes sense that a lack of fluids and electrolytes could make side stitches worse or cause them to happen more often.
There’s nothing like a headache to ruin what’s supposed to be a fun snowboarding trip. There are lots of reasons why a headache might pop up when you’re out boarding, but dehydration is probably the most common cause.
Did you know that dehydration actually causes your brain to shrink?
Research shows that after just 90 minutes of sweating, if you aren’t properly replenishing fluids and electrolytes, your brain shrinks as much as it would after a whole year of aging . When your brain shrinks, it triggers the pain receptors that are present around it. This, in turn, leads to headaches. While this is just one study, and more research is always needed, it shows how important hydration is for the body and brain function.
Changes in Urine Color and Output
Finally, don’t forget about changes in your urine.
Most people don’t want to think about their urine, especially when they’re out snowboarding. Your urine can be a key indicator of your hydration status, though.
First of all, urine color changes when you’re dehydrated. It becomes more concentrated when you’re lacking fluids, and the color gets darker as a result. Dehydration causes your urine to turn dark yellow or even brown. It’s a great quick test to quickly understand your hydration (or dehydration) levels and adjust your hydration accordingly.
In addition to changes in color, you’ll also notice changes in your urine output.
When it’s deprived of fluids and suspects it won’t get more, your body responds by holding onto its remaining fluids. This means you’ll urinate less often, which initially may seem like a good thing—no one wants to have to stop after every run to go to the bathroom. However, it’s more likely that you’re dehydrated and could experience other symptoms (headaches, dizziness, etc.) while out shredding up the slopes.
How to Improve Hydration While Snowboarding
Clearly, proper hydration affects your snowboarding performance in a lot of ways. Are some of the symptoms you’ve experienced in the past while snowboarding starting to make a bit more sense?
If you’re diligent about hydration, you can stay safe and have a better overall experience when you’re out on the mountain. Here are some suggested strategies to practice as you’re getting ready for your next big trip:
Be a Proactive Hydrator
When you start to feel thirsty, that’s a sign that you’re already starting to become dehydrated. To ensure proper hydration when snowboarding, be proactive. Drink before you even feel thirsty.
Make sure you’re drinking water leading up to your excursion, too. Start drinking first thing in the morning, and drink plenty of water the night before as well. This will help you set yourself up for success, and you won’t end up playing catch-up later.
Carry Water While on the Mountain
Carry water with you while snowboarding, too. Tuck a water bottle in the pocket of your snowboarding pants. You can also carry a hydration pack with a tube that you can easily pop in your mouth when you need a drink.
Add Electrolytes to Your Water
When you’re filling up your water, pour a packet of an electrolyte drink mix (like Hydrant) in your bottle or hydration pack. Remember, electrolytes are just as important as fluids if your goal is proper hydration.
Drink mixes make it easy for you to get the appropriate amount all at once. They can add flavor to your water, too, which might make it more enjoyable to drink. Plus, we make some with caffeine to keep you hydrated and give extra focus & energy throughout the day.
Set Reminders to Drink
It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re busy boarding. If you find that you wait too long to drink, try setting reminders on your watch or phone to go off every couple of hours or so.
These might be a bit irritating at first. However, you’ll be glad you have them set when you’re hydrated and don’t hit a 3pm slump.
Smartly Consume Alcohol
Ski and snowboarding resorts are known for having plenty of alcohol readily available at all hours. It might be tempting to indulge in a bunch of cocktails or beers during your trip.
Remember, though, that alcohol (without proper fluid and electrolyte replenishment) can increase your chances of being dehydrated.
For every 200 milliliters of alcohol you consume, you lose 320 milliliters of water . If you’re going to drink, keep your rehydration in mind so you can enjoy yourself before and after a round.
Finally, dress appropriately for your snowboarding trip. If you dress too warmly, you’ll sweat more. This means you’ll lose more fluids and electrolytes.
One option may be wearing a 3-in-1 jacket to help you layer and manage getting overheated. You can also buy pants or jackets with vents, too. This allows for extra airflow when you need to cool down, but you don’t have to worry about taking something off altogether.
Stay Hydrated and Board Like a Pro
You could have the best equipment and tons of snowboarding experience. If you’re not properly hydrated, though, you may not be able to perform your best when you’re out on the mountain.
Put the tips listed above to the test today and let us know how they worked out for you! Remember to listen to your body, be mindful of your surroundings on the slopes, and have a great time!