Let’s talk hydration!
Staying hydrated is one of the first steps to creating balance and optimal wellness in your daily routine! One of the first habits I have clients practice is to simply drink more water, or at least aiming to drink a glass of water first thing when they wake up. Seems too easy right? Once I have clients increase attention to their hydration habits, they come to realize that they are not drinking nearly enough water. This simple habit comes with a list of benefits and can act as a gateway for someone to develop a lifetime of health habits.
Practice makes progress!
Practice: First thing in the morning & right before you go to bed
Let’s start talking about how water is used within the body. Our bodies are made up of water and the amount may differ between males and females. Water makes up 50-60% of males' weight and about 45-50% for females. You might be wondering where all this water is stored within the body? Well... water can be found in our cells which makes up about ⅔ of the water weight. Water helps to keep the body at equilibrium or aka BALANCED! It also acts as a passage and medium for nutrients and metabolic reactions that exist in the body.
Throughout the day, water is lost, excreted, and/or sweated out. It is also lost during human growth periods! During gestation and early childhood body water weight is decreased. As we age, if we do not restore the body with adequate amounts of water, the body will produce imbalances as a result of dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include feeling thirsty, dry skin, dry mouth and nose, muscle cramping, headaches, nausea, and dark urine. In severe cases symptoms include vomiting, muscle spasms, problems with vision, kidney and liver problems. Crazy right?!?!
There are other ways of determining dehydration levels on your own. One common way is by looking at the color of your urine. Darker urine indicates water loss (less hydrated) and the lighter/clearer urine indicates more hydration. So needless to say, your urine should be on the lighter side. Another fun water is to look at your skin elasticity. If you pinch your skin and it returns to its original position quickly then dehydration is not an issue, but if your skin takes a longer time to return to normal then dehydration could be the culprit! Lastly, if you have been sick with vomiting or diarrhea, you will need to rehydrate because of the loss of fluids. Oh and I can’t forget drinking alcohol is also a good way to know that you’ll need to rehydrate. Hahahaha Ever notice that you go to the bathroom more frequently when drinking? Well... alcohol is a diuretic which cause water loss within the body. Mind blown!
You might wonder, how much water should you be drinking? A good place to start is to drink a minimum of half of your body weight in ounces. Water intake can be upwards to 128 ounces for men and 88 ounces for women. You can also help stay hydrated through your foods (fruits and veggies). Of course, an individual's specific bodyweight will indicate their recommended amount. Other factors that need to be considered are activity levels and environment.
During exercise our body will need more water! This is due to the increased metabolic rate from the muscle contraction. This process requires more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the muscles, thus utilizing water during these reactions. As a consequence, there is more heat expelled from the body during exercise. Therefore, returning to homeostasis (balance) is key. Water can help provide just that! If you are not staying properly hydrated, dehydrated can negatively affect training performance.
Here are some general guidelines for staying hydrated pre, during, and post exercise.
1-2 hours pre exercise: 17-20 oz.
Right before exercise: 7-10 oz.
During exercise/about every 15 minutes: 7-10 oz.
Post exercise: 16-20 oz for every pound lost. Also, consuming nutrient dense foods/drinks can help with rehydrating post exercise.
So we’ve talked a lot about staying hydrated and dehydration, but there is also a concern for overhydration. This is typically less common than dehydration, but is still something to be aware of. This is known as hyponatremia, which is an electrolyte disorder. The sodium levels become too low and an assortment of negative health effects occur. Just wanted to bring it up because we tend to only talk about dehydration and sometimes not enough about overhydration!
I have a challenge for you!
Your challenge is to either drink a glass of water before going to bed or first thing when you wake up. Like I mentioned earlier, this is one of the first habits I have clients work on. If you can do that for one week, then treat yourself with your favorite self care methods! If you can do both, give yourself even more time for self care! Thank yourself for developing a new health habit! Once you master a week, keep adding it into your daily routine!
Pay attention to your hydration, stay healthy, and hydrated my friends!
Have questions about proper hydration or wellness?