With summer upon us and the temperature rising, we are reminded that staying properly hydrated is essential to our lives. Here is how water helps us operate at our best
- Regulates body temperature
- Lubricates and cushions joints, spinal cord,and tissues (less pain)
- Aids kidneys in excreting waste (toxins)
- Hydration levels can affect strength, power, & endurance (stronger & faster…yes, please)
- Helps break down food which helps in nutrient absorption (recover better)
How do you know when you are properly hydrated?
Like many things surrounding health and fitness, there is no clear cut answer to recognizing how well you are hydrated. However, we have some general rules that can help keep us well within our ideal hydration range. Many of these idea you have heard before, but it’s important to understand that outside factors can affect their meaning and outcome.
- Drink when you are thirsty
- Yes, drinking when you feel thirsty can keep you hydrated, but many of us our out of touch of what thrist feels like. We often don’t recognize it until we are extremely thirsty.
- We won’t “feel thirsty” because we are drinking other liquids. If you are at the bar having a few beers and cocktails you might not notice that you are becoming dehydrated. The same goes for drinking fruit juice,iced teas, coffee, etc.
- Your urine should be clear
- Clear urine is not normal and it could be a possible sign that you are overhydrated (which is just as dangerous as being dehydrated)
- You also don’t want it to be too dark
- Foods (beets) and vitamins can also change the color
The flip side: Drinking too much water
It is possible to be drinking too much water causing your body to have many of the same side effects as dehydration; headaches, cramping, nausea, confusion. (sidenote: those with kidney or liver disease are more likely affected)
If you are working out, the sweat the leaves you body to help regulate your temperature will take with it sodium (electrolytes) this needs to be replaced in order to maintain the proper fluid balance and keep you within your hydration range.
- Sports drinks can help, but might not be the best answer. There is very limited amount of electrolytes in them compared to the amount of overall liquid.
- A better choice would be to eat foods with potassium, sodium, & calcium (all electrolytes)
- High potassium foods
- Bananas, dates, raisins, potatoes, spinach
- Good foods with sodium
- Canned tuna, beans, pickles, olives
- Calcium rich foods
- Kale, swiss chard, arugula
- High potassium foods
What to do to stay hydrated and healthy
- Start your day with a glass of water
- Drink water throughout the day
- A glass before each meal
- Set goals for different parts of the day. (make it work for your schedule)
10am = 30oz
Noon = 45oz
3pm = 60oz
6pm = 75oz
Bedtime = 90oz
- Eat water rich foods: cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, spinach, etc
- Track your intake to ensure you are getting enough