— Starkey Stories —
WHILE AT ALTITUDE
When you travel from sea level to higher altitude, friendly locals will give you the good advice to drink tons of water while you’re there. It’s absolutely true that we need to drink much more water at higher elevations to stay hydrated and healthy than we do at sea level. But when it comes to why and how much, those same well-intentioned locals might not have the best information.
There are a lot of myths about water and high altitude. For instance, it’s commonly believed that drinking extra water when you’re up at elevation prevents altitude sickness. Nope! Drinking extra water prevents dehydration, and though the symptoms of dehydration are somewhat similar to those of altitude sickness (headaches, fatigue, insomnia), the two conditions are caused by different factors. However, being dehydrated can exacerbate the effects of altitude sickness.
At Starkey Spring Water, we encourage you to drink water, especially our delicious, lightly mineralized pH water. Staying hydrated helps you be at the top of your game, even when you’re at the top of the world. We’ve assembled these five crucial why/how/when questions about proper hydration at altitude, along with their respective and useful answers. So, grab yourself a cool bottle of Starkey Spring Water, take a long sip and read on!
1. Why do I need water in the first place? What does it do for me?
Water is the most important thing your body needs, next to oxygen. Water is essential for breathing, as it helps our red blood cells collect oxygen from the lungs. It also purges toxins from our bodies (through urination, sweat, bowel movements and breath) and breaks down nutrients so you can metabolize vitamins and minerals. Additionally, water regulates body temperature to protect you from both overheating and freezing — two conditions that can send your body into a fast and dangerous nosedive, especially at high altitude.
2. What exactly is ‘altitude?’
According to the International Society for Mountain Medicine, “high altitude” means elevations of 5,000 to 11,500 feet; “very high altitude” is elevations between 11,500 and 18,000 feet, and “extreme altitude” is anything higher than that. Knowing what the elevation is where you are is important, because the higher up you go, the more you’ll feel the effects of dehydration (headache, dizziness, lightheadedness). As you gain altitude, you’ll need to consume more water to stay properly hydrated.
3. Why do you get dehydrated faster at high altitude?
First of all, because humidity decreases at higher altitude, the air is drier. Even if you’re not hiking, skiing, running or riding a bike, just sitting and breathing normally causes you to lose water twice as fast at altitude than it does at sea level. Your body has to work harder at these heights, with more rapid respirations. On top of this, the cooler temperatures and drier air make your sweat evaporate more quickly, so you don’t realize as easily how much moisture you’re losing. You also feel less thirsty than you feel at hotter, more humid sea levels, and you might not have the natural impulse to reach for a bottle of refreshing Starkey Spring Water to replenish yourself. Additionally, high altitude conditions can cause you to need to urinate more frequently, and water lost is water that needs to be replaced.
4. How much more water is the right amount?
Water needs vary according to things like temperature, activity level, time spent outside and exposure to direct sunlight. But as a general rule of thumb, you need about an extra 50 ounces of water a day, when you’re at high altitude. It’s also better to keep your body gradually replenished than to gulp it all down at once. So, when you travel, carry a bottle of Starkey Spring Water wherever you go and sip it oftenthroughout the day. Our convenient, BPA-free PET plastic bottles are perfect for popping in your backpack or keeping cool and ready in your hotel mini-fridge.
5. What about at night?
One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is insomnia. Going eight or more hours without hydrating can be debilitating. The air is still dry, and you’re still taking deep breaths even when you’re sleeping. The solution is simple: keep a full bottle of Starkey Spring Water on your bedside table — and when you wake up at 2 a.m. feeling restless, reach over and take a long drink, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Often, that’s all it takes to get yourself settled back to sleep, so you can wake up the next morning feeling rested instead of depleted, and ready for your next fabulous, high-altitude, mountain adventure.