Lattice Blog

Hydration for Climbers: Don’t Get Dehydrated at the Crag!

Hydration is incredibly important for both performance and health.

Summer is here!

But, with the warm weather and long days comes a risk of dehydration!

We lose fluids through urination and sweating. We become dehydrated when we lose more fluids than we drink.

As athletes trying hard at the crag or training in the heat, we especially need to be mindful of hydration.

Sweat rates (and therefore fluid needs) are very individual, and will depend on the intensity and duration of exercise, as well as the environmental temperature.

Why is hydration important?

Hydration is essential for a number of functions and processes in the body, including:

  • Immunity
  • Soft tissue function and protection (injury prevention and healing, and performance)
  • Cognitive function and perceived effort (how hard something feels)

In contrast, dehydration has been shown to:

  • Negatively impact performance
  • Raise heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increase core temperature during exercise
  • Increase rate of perceived exertion

Hydration in Older Climbers

Hormones that regulate thirst and fluid regulation respond to both:

  1. Osmotic levels; and
  2. volume levels in the body.

As we age, we maintain thirst sensitivity to the osmotic changes but lose some thirst sensitivity to changes in fluid volume.

As a result, we may be more at risk of dehydration because we may replenish fluids at a slower rate if relying on thirst alone as a motivator. 

So, how do you manage hydration, without relying solely on thirst?

How to stay hydrated when training:

  1. Start your sessions hydrated. 
  1. Check your urine, aiming to have a consistently pale straw colour. 
  1. Invest in a reusable bottle and try to develop a habit of having regular sips during a session or after each climb, as well as during your day generally.
  1. Be mindful that on high load training days/weeks and in hotter temperatures your needs will increase.
  2. Electrolytes in sweat include: sodium, potassium, chloride and some small amounts of magnesium and calcium. Therefore, if you sweat a lot, plain water is not always best for rehydration due to the decrease in these, particularly in plasma sodium. Consider adding some electrolytes to your drink if you are undertaking an activity that causes you to sweat a lot.

Read more on nutrition.

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