Did you know that we lose about 10cups of water a day by just living, i.e. breathing, urinating, sweating, etc.? And by the color and frequencies of our urine, we can get an idea of how well hydrated we are. Try taking this very informative hydration quiz to find out more interesting facts about human hydration.
A human body has water in every organ, tissue, and cell. To name a few amazing things water does to our bodies: water facilitates the movement of nutrients as well as removal of toxins and waste in our bodies. It also helps keep our skin moisturized, regulates our body temperature, heart rate as well as blood pressure, and it helps cushion and lubricate our joints. Without proper daily hydration, we will see fatigue, crankiness, headaches, weaker immune system, a decrease in athletic performance and mental sharpness, etc.
Athletes should make sure they are constantly hydrated as exercising and sweating cause the body to lose lots of water. According to a study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, consuming a bit of extra salt before your next workout may actually help avoid dehydration. When male cyclists had chicken noodle soup (with almost 1,400 mg of sodium) 45 minutes before exercising in the heat, they drank, as well as retained more water during their ride than cyclists who pre-fueled with water alone. “Sodium may help encourage you to drink more,” says Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University, especially if you’re exercising for more than an hour or at a high intensity in the heat. Try invigorating your workout by pre-fueling with a handful of saltine crackers or a cup of soup or sports drink with sodium, aka electrolytes. It is recommended that one should drink 16 ounces of water an hour prior to exercise, 4-8 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise, and another 16 ounces an hour after exercise. Of course, the amount varies according to weather, your health condition, age, weight, and the intensity level of the exercise. It is not easy to overdose on water, but it can happen and can be dangerous, so drink moderately.
Replenishing fluids after a workout is equally important, as it is also essential for muscle recovery and helps our body recover faster. Besides chugging water, there are other ways to stay hydrated. Any beverages other than alcoholic ones, are pretty much hydrating. Even coffee, tea, and caffeinated sodas can be hydrating because of their water content despite their diuretic properties. Most fruits and veggies are packed with water, especially watermelons, grapefruits, honeydews, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
For those of you who are always busy and tend to forget to stay hydrated, there are free apps out there that sends pop-up water reminders to your smart phone or devices throughout the day. Whatever works best for you, let’s drink up and keep our body hydrated!