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The Outdoor Athlete
Chapter 6: Environmental Issues
Excerpt from The Outdoor Athlete, Schurman & Schurman, Human Kinetics 2009
Fuel and Hydrate to Combat Heat: “A major challenge that outdoor athletes must avoid in all hot environments is dehydration. Signs of dehydration include very yellow or strong smelling urine, extreme thirst that can lead to not wanting to drink, confusion and lack of coordination, and sluggishness. To combat the heat, drink more fluids more often, especially if you sweat profusely. If you do not plan to carry much water for your trip, research your route in advance. Bring a filter or iodine tablets to treat water that you get from streams, lakes, and glacial runoff to replenish your water supply.”
Wear Appropriate Clothing – For Heat: “Proper clothing is one of your first lines of defense against extreme elements. When choosing your clothing, always think in threes: (1) skin or base layer, (2) insulating layer, and (3) outer layer to protect against the elements… Wear light-colored (beige, gray, or white) clothing to repel sunlight. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing, such as mesh or very thin layers of sunblock clothing, to prevent sunburn and stay as cool as possible. Include a wide-brimmed hat or visor to keep the sun off your face… Wear a bandanna around your neck that you can dip in cool streams and use to swab your neck and face.”
Fuel and Hydrate to Combat Cold: “Eating regularly and staying hydrated are two strategies that stoke the metabolic furnace and keep you moving. Consume hot liquids (soup, tea, hot cocoa, cider) to supply carbohydrate, to restore fluids lost through increased exhalations in cold air, and to provide an external source of heat that can warm the fingers, face, and soul. Store snack foods close to your skin to keep them readily accessible and to prevent them from freezing.”
Wear Appropriate Clothing – For Cold: “When embarking on multiday trips in cold environments, make sure each member in your party has at least one lightweight base layer, one dry midweight change of clothing, one warm insulating layer, and one wind- and waterproof outer layer. Store your replacement dry clothing and sleeping bags in a water-resistant protective layer such as a trash compactor bag. Such bags can even double as temporary rain gear if needed.”
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