Hydration And Health

Water. Juice. Coffee. Milk. Sports Drinks.

Liquid… endless things that can offer hydration to our bodies but by far water is the best thing to keep them well hydrated.

Although, I’m pretty sure  black iced coffee is a good second 😉

Summer is heavy upon us here in the states and with that comes not only work to be done outside but also for many of us, the outdoors is our “gym” and with hard workouts come high sweat rates.

Of course we also lose fluids through elimination, natural sweating, and even certain foods or drinks can draw precious fluids from us.

Therefore you should make it a daily, intentional act to constantly hydrate and replenish fluid losses.

Water is of course, the best source for rehydrating, yet I’m shocked at how many people don’t drink it or have minimal consumption of it in their day.

Consider this:

the human body is made up of a high percentage of water.  Babies and children have the highest amounts, the average adult is 50-65%. Body composition varies according to gender and fitness level because fatty tissue contains less water than lean tissue. The average adult male is about 60% water. The average adult woman is about 55% water because women naturally have more fatty tissue than men. Overweight men and women have less water, as a percent than their leaner counterparts.

The percent of water depends on your hydration level. People feel thirsty when they have already lost around 2-3% of their body’s water! Mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired before thirst kicks in, typically around 1% dehydration.

Since your brain is about 85% water, even mild dehydration can bring on changes in your mood and a decline in your concentration and alertness.

You know days you can feel tired or foggy? Have a headache? You could need a good dose of water and suffering from mild dehydration.

Want to know a really gross kind of way to know how hydrated you are? The color of your urine. If it’s light/clear or pale lemonade colored, you are well hydrated. Any darker, you need to get some fluids.

Again, waiting till you feel thirsty means you are already in some type of dehydrated mode. Avoid that by making fluid intake an intentional, purposeful part of your day.

How much water DO you need in a day?

New recommendations are the “8 by 8” rule.  Drink 8 ounces of fluid, 8 times a day.  Of course there are many variables to that. Where you live, how healthy you are, and how active you are all play into how much fluid you need so it comes down to a more personalized level.

I carry water with me all the time. It ensures I’m constantly drinking on it. Make it a part of your daily life and it will soon become routine for you and you’ll see it’s not so hard to get your water in 🙂

Let’s address hydration on an athletic level.

Loss of fluid volume can greatly affect your athletic performance. I’ve learned the hard way when I haven’t taken enough fluid in before, during, or after.

It’s key to understand your “sweat rate” so you can get adequate fluid back in you as soon as possible.

There are all sorts of formulas but the best one is fairly simple.

Weigh in before a workout, no clothes is best. Weigh in after you’re done in the same manner.

Know how much fluid you take in during your workout, let’s hypothetically say,  I took in 32 oz.  ( this would be 2 lbs.)

My sweat losses on heavy workouts can be anywhere from 2-3lbs.  I’ll just use 2 lbs for easy math.

My total fluid loss would be around 4 lbs.

The goal then is to begin to replace those losses as quickly as possible and no, I don’t count it as “weight loss”.  I would multiple 4 lbs. lost x 16oz (1 lb liquid) meaning I would need to work at replacing that fluid (64 oz) before I continued drinking for ongoing hydration.

This would also involve learning to drink if I might not necessarily “feel” like it to replace those losses. And thirst is not a reliable indicator of dehydration. If you wait to drink until you are thirsty and stop drinking when your thirst is satisfied, you’ll remain 25% to 50% dehydrated.

Using a balanced sports drink to replace electrolytes and other vital minerals lost is a good way to begin rehydrating properly.

I recently came across one that I like, and my tummy likes too. I’ve been using it on my long cycling session and after I finish my workouts. It’s called Body Armor. It comes in lots of crisp flavors and it’s not overly sweet. It also comes in at only 70 calories a bottle as well which is a big win.

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I’ve done Gatorade but it really reminds me of bottled sweat 😛

It’s important to find what works for you during training and train with it. Keeping your fluid level stable during your workout will make it easier to properly rehydrate after you finish.

No matter what you do in your day, from the time you wake up, until bed you should be intentional about your fluid intake. Again, if athletic activities are in your day, your fluid should even be more focused to maintain your performance and recovery. Being properly hydrated before hand is crucial and makes it easier to stay hydrated during those long sessions.

Tips on drinking water:

I get it, well, I don’t sometimes. It amazes me that people say they don’t “like” water. And if you’re used to consuming primarily liquids that have flavor it will be a challenge to you. You can learn though and in time, you will develop your “natural” thirst for it again.

Try adding fresh citrus ( lime or lemon) squeezed into your water. There are also several flavored waters on the market that have zero or low calorie to ease you into the process. Work then to gradually wean yourself to regular water.

Drink a glass first thing when you get up. As much as I love my morning coffee, a large glass of water is the first thing I take in.

Take it with you everywhere. I honestly run back in the house if I realize I left it when I head out.

With time and a little practice you will be getting all your water in and it will seem perfectly natural to you.

Do you have any water drinking tips? Anything that helped you to get in the “habit”?

 

 

 

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