July 28


How to Stay Hydrated When It’s Hot | Practical Tips for FIFO Workers

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FIFO mine sites can be hot, sweaty and dusty places. Similarly, offshore platforms get hot and humid. To the point, it feels like you've been smothered in a wet blanket if you train outside. Likewise, even if we're at home and the weather is unseasonably hot, we run the risk of dehydration. It's helpful to know how to keep well hydrated. That's whether we train outdoors in summer or just spend much of our time under the air conditioning.

It makes sense that hotter weather means a bigger risk of us suffering the effects of dehydration.

Our bodies are trying to keep everything cool. It loses fluid in doing so.

And that's just when we're going about our day to day activities.

Throw in some exercise and a hard training session or two and we really run the risk of becoming dehydrated.

Dehydration has a variety of symptoms and can be mild to severe

Surprisingly, just dropping 2% of our body weight through water loss can have a massive effect.

For example, for me being 73kg, would equate to just under 1.5 litres of fluid loss. Not that unrealistic when you think of how much you can sweat from an extended exercise session in the heat. Don't forget, you'll be breathing heavier too, and there's moisture expelled with every breath.

Effects of fluid loss on performance and bone health include:

  • Lapses in concentration
  • Harder to perform and acquire skills
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Impaired reaction times
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps

Using urine colour to monitor your hydration level

Perhaps the easiest way to check how hydrated we are is to look at the colour of our urine.

Basically, the darker it is, the more dehydrated we are.

Additionally, you might notice you aren't going to the toilet as much as usual. This can be another indicator that your body needs more fluid.

Check the chart below and use it to gauge your hydration status.

Urine Colour Chart - How the colour of your pee can tell you about how hydrated you are

Checking the colour of your urine is one of the simplest ways to monitor your hydration levels

A proactive approach to maintaining optimal hydration

Like many things, consistency is key.

If we want to look, feel and perform our best we want to remain consistently well hydrated.

We don't want to wait until we are dehydrated before we then take action to fix it. The best strategy is to avoid becoming dehydrated in the first place.

Healthy hydration habits

We can set up cues in our daily activities to remind us to drink. The more we are reminded, the more likely we are to take action.

Consequently, the more likely we are to form a habit of drinking more water.

Keep a water bottle in your bag. Get in the habit of checking your work bag to make sure it's there. When you grab your bag, you'll have your bottle.

Consider obtaining a CamelBak or other hydration backpack. These make it really easy for you to sip away while you work, and can even operate hands-free.

When you have breakfast, smoko, lunch or dinner - have it with a glass of water. As you collect your food, grab a cup and fill it up.

Keep a drink bottle in your room, next to your bed. You can sip away at it while you watch your Netflix series or Skype the family.

If you feel like a change, give soda water a go every now and then. You can even flavour it. Grab some fresh lemon, lime, mint or cucumber from the crib section and add it to your drinking bottle. Your water will infuse with flavours and fresh tastes.

Consider drinking tea too but look for varieties with little to no caffeine. For example, peppermint or camomile are good choices. Each cup still counts towards your daily fluid intake.

Customising your fluid intake

Everybody is different and our fluid needs will indeed be individual. Depending on your activities, health, weather conditions and fitness levels you'll require varying levels of fluid each and every day.

Remember, your needs will vary day-to-day.

So keep on top of things, adopt some new hydration habits and you'll always be good to go.

Paul Stokes Perth Personal Trainer Sports Nutritionist Group Fitness Instructor Massage Therapist

About the author

Paul Stokes

Paul Stokes BSc (Hons) is a Certified Personal Trainer, Accredited Sports Nutritionist, qualified Exercise to Music Instructor, Precision Nutrition coach, Massage Therapist and teaches 8 of the Les Mills Group Exercise programs.

He currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as a Wellness Coach, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to improve the quality of life of several hundred offshore workers.

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