Water, one of the basic 6 nutrients, is the medium within which all of our body’s metabolic process occur!
Body temperature regulation, nervous system impulse transmissions (including brain activity), and energy conversion systems all rely on proper body hydration to function effectively!
Further, as the weather heats up, additional fluids are lost during basic daily activities, making proper fluid consumption (hydration) even more critical.
Water is also the body’s primary means of cleansing itself by flushing toxins out the (bottom) door.
Hydration, in short, is a pretty big hammer! Proper hydration:
- Improves digestive efficiency;
- Reduces blood pressure;
- Improves the appearance of skin, nails, and hair;
- Increases muscle and joint flexibility;
- Improves the elasticity of your skin (reducing wrinkles); and
- Helps keep your breath fresh!
Got a slight headache? Maybe you’re dehydrated.
With all of these things dependent upon proper hydration levels, it’s a wonder that any of us become dehydrated at all!
But we do, and we seem to do so with some regularity. A good rule of thumb for monitoring your hydration levels is the color of your urine. Unless you’ve just taken a loaded multivitamin, you should be generally passing clear fluid when you urinate. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you probably are!
We’ve all heard the advise to drink 8 glasses of water each day. You know, that’s a lot of water! And it actually takes a conscious effort to consume that much water positioned butt down at your desk. The easiest way to provoke additional fluids intake, of course, is to exercise!
More on that below, but here are a few basic tips for proper daily hydration:
- Develop the habit of carrying a water bottle with you where ever you go. Sip on it every 15 or 20 minutes.
- Drink unsweetened green iced tea if all that water is just too much water; avoid sugared drinks
- Plan to consume at least 8 ounces of water before and with each meal
- Make extra efforts for additional fluid intake with higher protein diets
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which are technically diuretics with dehydrating effects.
A lot of us simply require an exercise induced thirst to get in enough fluids on a regular basis. Not unlike how increasing your heart rate helps to eventually reduce your resting heart rate, profuse sweating increases your thirst to where you will more effectively hydrate!
Complete a few hot cardio intervals, one of our FT HEAT programs, or a few sets of lunge presses, and you’ll have 20 ounces through your body in no time!
While hydration requirements for aerobic activities (cycling, running, nordic skiing) are slightly different from those required for resistance training, the basic requirements are the same, and fit into 3 basic categories:
- Pre-exercise hydration;
- Exercise hydration; and
- Post-exercise hydration.
Pre-exercise hydration should actually begin 2 to 3 hours before your workout with consumption of 500-600 ml (a bottle) of water, followed by an additional 100 to 200 ml of water (or sports drink) 20 minutes prior to your workout.
Consumption during exercise should approximate sweat rate, though given that most people can only absorb about a liter per hour (the rest is just passed through), extremely vigorous, extended exercise will almost always result in some dehydration. Therefore …
Post exercise hydration is a critical time to make up the difference in fluids lost during exercise …preferably within 90 minutes. Drink a post exercise recovery drink (with nutrients) first, then just plain water at a rate of a liter an hour for the next 2 hours.
Got any other hydration tips? Please leave a comment!