We've heard the rule time and time again: our bodies need at least eight glasses of water each day to stay healthy and hydrated. For some of us, however, eight glasses might seem nearly impossible. For others, it's not nearly enough. The truth is that each of our bodies is different and has different maintenance needs. However, when traveling in Breckenridge, Colorado, or any high altitude area, sufficient hydration is a must. While it might seem like drinking water is straight-forward, you might be surprised at how much there really is to know.
- What's all the fuss about? In a high-altitude town like Breckenridge, the lower air pressure can lead to evaporating moisture from your skin and your lungs. As a result, if you don't take care of yourself, dehydration and altitude sickness can creep up on you, which will not only leave you feeling nauseous and light headed, but can become dangerous as your alertness is affected. Proper hydration, however, leads to health benefits for your immune system, skin, digestion system, mood, and even aids in weight loss. Since you'll likely take advantage of the many outdoor activities that Breckenridge offers, proper hydration will also increase your energy level.
- How much is enough? Following the eight-glasses-a-day rule can get complicated, especially when one person's water glass is a different size than another's. Plus, each of us has a different body type and size, so we need something a bit more specialized to us as individualized. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, you'll need 80 ounces a day to keep yourself properly hydrated.
- What about caffeine and alcohol? Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks work in the exact reverse of water by dehydrating our bodies. Still, there are some great coffee shops in Breckenridge as well as a host of pubs with tasty microbrews on tap. It's okay to have caffeine and alcohol (in moderation), but you'll need to drink an extra eight ounces of water for each caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you drink each day. And although it's tempting to enjoy a hot cup of coffee while admiring the view from your Breckenridge condo, avoid making coffee or another form of caffeine the very first thing you drink in the morning. By starting your day with a tall glass of water, you'll refresh what you've lost through the night and avoid early-morning dehydration. Also consider steering clear of both alcohol and caffeine during the first day or so that you are acclimating to the altitude.
- How can I make this easy? If you're finding it hard to fit all of this water drinking into your daily routine, try to make water an accessory. Carry a stainless steel water bottle (such as a SIGG) with you at all times, taking sips throughout the day. Keep a bottle in your backpack when hiking, skiing, boarding, or cruising the town of Breckenridge. Keep one handy at your work desk and another nearby when you're at home. Remember that stainless steel or glass bottles are much safer storage methods than plastic, which leaches into your water as the bottle wears down. (Plastic water bottles that have a 1 or 2 symbol on the bottom are okay to drink from once, but you should recycle them rather than reuse them.)
- How does this translate in the mountains? At 6,000 feet above sea level, you'll perspire and exhale twice the moisture as you're used to at sea level. Considering that Breckenridge has a base altitude of 9,600 feet, you'll need even more than your daily dose of water. Additionally, participating in any athletic activities will also lead you to sweat out more moisture. Your best bet is to spend a day acclimating to the altitude. Drink water throughout the day and pay attention to your body. If you begin to feel dizzy or light headed, be sure to rest and keep your body functioning with more water.
Keeping yourself hydrated is a lifestyle. When visiting Breckenridge, it's more of a necessity than ever. So slow down and keep that water bottle nearby. Your body will be thanking you for it in no time!