Are You Properly Hydrated?
Written by Dana Yarn, RDLD
Water is by far the most essential nutrient that the body needs to function properly and maintain a healthy weight and energy level. The human body can only survive a short period of time without water and an athlete’s performance can suffer dramatically with even the slightest hint of dehydration. Symptoms can include headaches and dizzy spells – which can make for a pretty miserable experience whether you’re playing golf, tennis, or just outdoors. So no matter what your activity or level of exertion, you should always have a water bottle close by.
I have personally found that water also keeps the “munch monster” away. The first sign of thirst can actually be mistaken for hunger. The next time you feel a craving coming on, drink 16 ounces of water instead of giving in and grabbing a sugary snack. The extra water will send a false signal to your brain that your stomach is somewhat full, which in turn will help you control your hunger. Drinking a large glass of water as soon as you sit down to the table at a restaurant is a great weight loss strategy; the water will make you feel full and help you avoid eating too much bread, or chips and salsa!
Here are a few tips to help keep you hydrated, especially during the hot summer months:
• Aim to drink approximately half of your body weight in ounces. For example, a 150 lb person should be drinking about 75 oz per day.
• Drink about 8-16 oz of fluid 2 hours prior to an outdoor event or workout.
• Drink about 4-8 oz of fluid 15 minutes pre-exercise to maximize absorption without urination.
• About 4-8 oz of fluid is needed every 15-20 minutes during intense exercise.
• Drink at least 16 oz of fluid following exercise. You will need even more in hot weather.
• Try drinking at least 8 oz at each meal and between each meal. Remember: thirst is not a reliable indicator of hydration status.
• Sports drinks containing carbohydrates have been associated with enhanced performance and delayed fatigue in exercise events lasting 1 ½ hour or more, such as an intense tennis match or long training run or ride.
• If you have to have your caffeine, such as coffee or tea in the morning, make sure to rehydrate with water too.
• Remember that air travel will increase your hydration needs.
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