Dehydration is a condition when the loss of body fluids, usually water, exceeds the amount taken in. Too often we rely on thirst to determine when we need to hydrate. That is not an accurate measure, as when thirst begins so has dehydration. When participating in any sport, activity or training, hydration is one of the most important factors. Dehydration can slow you down. Even the most advanced athlete can be stopped dead in their tracks when dehydration begins. Sometimes a lack of energy can be overlooked as a sign of dehydration.
In the hotter months, hydration is a must. Excess sweating from the heat causes for an extra loss of fluids, creating a higher demand for fluids. So what are the best ways to stay hydrated? I will share with you some of the more traditional ways, but also share what I have gathered and learned throughout the years.
For Every Well Known Tip, I Will Share a “Diane” Tip:
- Drink a glass 20 minutes before each meal or snack.
- Drink 17 ounces of water 2-3 hours before exercise.
- Drink about 8-10 ounces of water every 15 minutes or so during your workout. Sipping water throughout your workout works as well.
- Continue drinking water after your workout to replace any fluids lost.
- Stay away from sugary juices and sodas, which can dehydrate the body.
Diane’s Tips For Staying Hydrated:
- Carry a water bottle around with you like it’s an accessory. I tell all my clients, just like a purse or jacket, you should have a water bottle. Let it become your security blanket.
- Look into chia seeds, and adding them into your water. Aside from the many health benefits, they have the ability to swell up with water 12 times their original size. You swallow these little seeds and you are full of extra hydration and ready for a long run!
- Drink distilled water, like Smart Water. Smart Water is distilled water with added electrolytes and is formulated for rapid hydration without adding calories or sodium.
- If you have not learned how to enjoy your water, add fresh sliced fruit or green tea extracts to flavor it up and make it easier to chug it down.
- If you are choosing to hydrate yourself with soda, change to sparkling water, then make the change to regular water.
Aside from keeping our cooling systems running smoothly when we are exercising or in hot weather, water aids in so many other things. It helps to keep our skin hydrated, smooth, and slow down the wrinkling process. Water is the most important nutrient for life. It helps to keep our joints lubricated (especially during times of intense play, exercise and sporting events). It also helps in transporting nutrients and waste throughout the body.
As a final note, professionally I would feel wrong if I did not mention our young athletes. Their cooling and heating systems are so immature. As adults, we need to anticipate and almost bet they will dehydrate. They can’t tell when they are headed for dehydration until it is too late. It is best to make sure they get a consistent amount of fluids.