The hottest time of summer is coming up and staying properly hydrated is becoming not only important but, vital our overall health and wellness!
Why is hydration so important?
Well, without water, life as we know it simply would not exist. We need water to survive and we need to stay hydrated in order for our bodies to function properly and efficiently. Without the proper amount of fluid in our bodies, we can never physically be at our best! Hydration affects everything from our moods to our energies levels, weight loss and much more!
The America Heart Association says, “Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently.”
How do we become dehydrated?
On a regular basis, your body is losing water. It happens when you use the restroom, when you sweat and even when you breathe. The loss of your body’s fluid becomes even greater when you have a fever, during physical activities and hotter weather.
Even sitting in the hot sun or on a humid day without physical exertion will cause your body to lose fluids and require more than usual to function properly. Dehydration can actually be a very serious issue. Symptoms can be as small and insignificant as swollen feet or a headache or as life threatening as heat stroke and heart problems!
Look for these dehydration warning signs!
- Little or no urine or urine that is darker than usual
- Dry mouth
- Sleepiness, fatigue or weakness
- Extreme thirst
- Dizziness or light headed feeling
- No tears when crying
- Vomiting or diarrhea
How do we keep hydrated?
- Drink enough water to prevent thirst
- Monitor the color of your urine
- Drink water before, during and after physically exhausting exercises or activities
- In extreme heat for long durations, drink water and a recovery drink filled with electrolytes
- Avoid alcohol before or the day of exercising
- Eating fruits or vegetables
- Consume appropriate amounts of sodium with meals
- Tea, coffee, juices milk and soup can be considered fluids but not alcohol
Water is key!
Water is the best option whenever you need to hydrate. John Batson, M.D, a sports medicine physician with Lowcountry Spine & Sport in Hilton Head Island, S.C., and an American Heart Association volunteer says, “It’s healthier to drink water while you’re exercising, and then when you’re done, eat a healthy snack like orange slices, bananas or a small handful of unsalted nuts.”
By constantly drinking water, your body and your organs never have to try and play hydration catch up, causing them strain and to work even harder!
So how much water is best for hydration?
Generally, it’s recommended to drink eight glasses of water a day which is enough to keep the average person hydrated. However, this does not factor in age, weight, height or exercise levels. And of course, as a martial artist you are anything but average!
A simple rule of thumb is, the smaller you are, the less water you need. While the bigger you are, the more you need. The less active you are, the less you need and the more active you are, the more you need.
Most athletes need to ingest much higher amounts of water to hydrate because of their physical activity levels and the amount they sweat. An athlete or heavy exerciser can lose up to 6 liters of water per day from sweating and extreme training conditions.
Stay on top of your fluid intake!
Being aware of how your body feels, what you are putting into it and how much will go a long way in staying hydrated. Knowing your body’s needs and following the tips laid out above should make staying hydrated no problem!
So, this summer be safe by drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated!