Let’s talk water and hydration! Did you know that most Americans are living in a state of constant dehydration?! Not only do caffeinated beverages, including energy drinks and sodas, make up a disproportionate amount of our fluid intake, they are diuretics. Fun (geeky) fact: I always thought that a diuretic just made you urinate more, and therefore made you less hydrated. While this is true, did you know it’s because it slows the reabsorption of water by the kidneys? So essentially, what would normally be moving back into your bloodstream, is instead excreted (via urine). I found that pretty interesting.
PSA on soda – remember when we discussed the role of minerals on the last post, and how proper digestion is critical to proper absorption of minerals? Well, the phosphoric acid in soda impedes the production of stomach acid (HCl) which impacts the absorption of calcium! Therefore, chronic soda drinkers could severely impact their long-term bone health. Time to switch to sparkling water!
SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION
Given that water makes up 55-60% of our total body mass, I’d say its pretty darn important! And a drop of only 2% can cause early signs of dehydration. Early signs include:
- Fatigue (most common symptom)
- Dry Mouth
- Muscle Cramps
- Inability to concentrate
- Dark urine
If this deficiency is chronic, it can lead to a host of health issues like:
- Heart burn
- Joint pain
- Exercise induced asthma
ROLES OF WATER
If you want to feel (and look) your best, water is your BFF! Did you regularly experience aches and pains in your body or just feel tired all of the time? Try increasing your water intake. It really could be just that simple! As related to physical activity, water cushions our bones and joints – its actually like lubricant for your joints, prevents tissues from sticking (dehydration actually makes you less flexible), and even regulates your body temperature. These are all key components to performing at your sport or just generally feeling like a rock star.
There are a number of formulas that can be used to determine your necessary water intake. Many people use the ‘drink ½ your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water’. This is a pretty good quick guide. Keep in mind that many conditions affect your water needs. How much you exercise, age, pregnancy and lactation, and medications consumed. Here is one guideline called Adequate Intake or AI:
For physically active folks, there are some additional guidelines I’d like to cover. The American College of Sports Medicine has guidelines for intake which I have summarized below. These are for males, so keep in mind that females will need slightly less. Intake will also depend on the length and exertion of the activity. For longer activities, or if you have sweated a great deal, you should add electrolytes to your water because water alone cannot fully hydrate you. Alternatively, you could add a more high quality sea salt to your recovery meal.
WHEN AND HOW TO GET IN YOUR WATER
- Start your day with a glass of water.
I like to squeeze ¼ of a lemon and a pinch of sea salt to mine. It’s a great way tostart the day off!
- Drink at the first sign of thirst.
Or if your tired, tense, had a headache or can’t concentrate.
- Drink more if your urine is dark.
You want it to be light yellow or straw colored. Note that vitamins can often darken urine, this does not mean you are dehydrated.
- Drink before, during and after physical activity.
Use the guidelines above as a starting point
Unfortunately, most people are not able to recognize signs of dehydration. Our modern lifestyles are so full of distractions that its easy to forget to drink. Try carrying a nice glass or stainless-steel bottle with you everywhere you go – in the car, in meetings, at your desk. This is a great way to ensure you always have it on hand and it’s a great reminder to sip throughout the day.
For more support in your efforts to improve hydration click here!: Let’s work together!