20 May Why Is Hydration So Important?
Water. It is a requirement for human life and makes up roughly 60% of an adult human body. We can only live about a week without water depending on our health status and body composition. But why is hydration so important for our health?
Water’s Function in the Body
Water is vital to creating balance in our cells and our overall health. It helps to regulate our body temperature, moves nutrients and waste around (including the bowels), lubricates our tissues and joints, carries oxygen through the body, helps the kidneys and liver to excrete waste and helps protect our organs and tissues.
How Much Water Do I Need?
Getting enough water can be challenging for some people. A simple rule is to consume about half of your body weight in ounces of water. Activity, exercise, sweat, certain medications, the temperature and humidity of the environment you live and work in regularly, what foods you eat, etc. can also increase your fluid needs.
How to Stay Hydrated
The body is actually pretty dehydrated when you wake up. This makes sense considering you have gone a few hours without any food or hydration. I personally drink a huge mug of hot lemon water every morning in addition to my decaf coffee or tea. I find this helps me perk up.
Beyond my mass bolus of liquid in the waking hour, I always recommend that people try to drink small amounts throughout the day. To do this, it is helpful to keep a big water bottle with you as much as possible. In addition to drinking water, you can eat fruits and vegetables, which have good water and electrolyte content. Also, consuming Himalayan salt (pink salt) provides more minerals like sodium and potassium to help you hydrate. And finally, exercise can actually help you stay hydrated by increasing circulation and allowing more nutrients into the cells. Caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate you, so be cautious consuming those beverages.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Hydration can affect your physical and mental well being. Even just slight dehydration has been shown to cause a decline in cognitive function. Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dark urine
- Small Amount of Urine
- Decreased Sweat
- Muscle Cramps
- Increased Heart Rate
Exercise and Hydration
Fluid is vital during exercise because it is used to cool the body. It is important to make sure you are hydrated 24 hours before events for optimal performance. Also, hydrate throughout the day and exercise/event with small frequent amounts. Too much water while exercising can cause you to feel sick. Make certain you drink until your thirst is quenched after exercise. Remember you can be dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty, so listen to your body. If you sweat a lot or were out in high heat, be cautious and hydrate heartily with some electrolyte replenishment from fruit, vegetables and pink salt.
I am often asked about sports drinks. They were designed for high performance athletes who exercise continuously more than 60 minutes in high heat & humidity. Although they can be beneficial in some situations, I don’t find them necessary for most athletes or gym members. Sports drinks do contain some electrolytes, but a lot of sugar, or worse – artificial sweeteners go along with them. I only recommend sports drinks when playing in multiple game tournaments, or outdoor activities in high heat/humidity when exercising greater than an hour.
A natural alternative to sports drinks is fruit. In my opinion, watermelon and coconut water are nature’s sports drink. They have a high water content, electrolytes and less sugar.
Schedule a free explore call with Beth today to discuss how you can reach your peak health and performance.