BY RACHAEL KAY, MSPT, CSCS – Time is flying by and spring will be here before we know it. From gardening to sporting activities, spring brings many reasons to go outdoors. It also puts us at the mercy of the Montana elements. Whether you are participating in an activity or just enjoying watching others, it is always important to stay hydrated and wear appropriate clothing.
Montana air is dry which makes it extremely important to stay hydrated when doing any sort of outdoor activity. The dry cool air and wind can cause your skin to lose moisture. Days during the early months of the season can start out very cold in the mornings, but warm up throughout the day. It is very important to stay hydrated throughout the entire day as the temperature rises.
Getting enough water may seem difficult, but don’t worry, it doesn’t all have to come from just drinking water. If you eat healthy, about 20% of your water intake can come from food. Also, drinking coffee, tea, milk or juice can help you with water intake (although, milk and juice should be limited if you’re counting calories). How much water does the average person need to consume in a day? The Institute of Medicine recommends about 104 oz. (3 liters) for men and 72 oz. (2.2 liters) for women. These amounts are just averages, though. There are many factors that can influence the amount of water you lose each day which affects your daily needed amount. These factors include, but are not limited to, exercise, environment, sickness, pregnancy and breast feeding.
If you’re not getting enough water, your body will let you know. Some of the most common signs of dehydration are: bad breath, extra yellow urine, headaches, fatigue, no tears when crying, loss of elasticity in the skin, overheated body, muscle cramps and spasms, constipation, and lightheadedness.
Choosing the right clothing for your outdoor activities is important to staying safe. Layering plays a significant role in keeping you warm, dry and safe, and each layer has its own important function. The base layer (the layer against your skin) helps to manage moisture by wicking it away from your skin. Choose garments made out of wool, synthetic fibers and silk. Cotton is not a good choice of fabric as it will hold water and make you feel clammy and wet.
The middle layer insulates and protects you from the cold. This layer should be made of material that will trap air close to your body. Natural fibers such as wool and goose down are very good insulators. Fleece is also a great choice.
The outer layer serves as a shell to protect you from the wind, rain and snow. This layer should be windproof and waterproof (or at least water repellent).
Remember these tips as the snow starts melting and the sun starts to shine more often. Proper hydration and appropriate clothing will help make your spring fun and safe.
Get back out there no matter what the season! Call NRPT today at (406) 543-0617 to schedule an appointment. We have nine physical therapists and two convenient locations in Missoula to serve all of your physical therapy needs.