Severe dehydration can be life threatening, but even mild dehydration can cause problems ranging from headaches and irritability to impaired cognition. Being even slightly dehydrated can also affect your workout performance and recovery. Your body is comprised of about 65% water, and it needs to be properly hydrated to function at it’s best. Wether it’s pumping blood
from your heart through your vessels, aiding in the removal of muscle waste or regulating your metabolism, every function of your body relies on it’s water supply. To say that proper hydration is vital to our health would be an understatement!
What Happens When You’re Dehydrated….
- High cholesterol—Your body produces more cholesterol to help prevent your cells from losing water.
- Allergies & Asthma—Airways become restricted to conserve water & the amount of histamine your body produces goes up
- Joint pain—cartilage needs water to remain strong & repair itself
- Digestive problems—waste removal becomes slow & sluggish & can result in constipation
- Weight gain—if it can’t properly eliminate toxins, your body will store them in your fat cells & hold onto the fat until it’s hydrated enough to safely remove the toxins
- Fatigue—tiredness & fatigue set in as every function of the body slows down
- High blood pressure—blood becomes thicker & flows slower causing pressure to build
- Skin issues—toxin elimination becomes impaired making you vulnerable to disorders such as dermatitis & psoriasis or discoloration & premature wrinkles
- Bladder & kidney issues—acid waste accumulates creating an environment for bacteria to thrive & making your body more prone to inflammation & infection
So How Much Is Enough?
When your body’s water content is dipping below what it needs, you will start to feel thirsty. But by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already in the early stages of dehydration. Listening to your body’s cue is very important. Don’t ignore the initial sensations of thirst.
The most common guideline is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but the fact is that water needs vary significantly from person to person, day to day. Fluid loss depends on many factors, including body size and composition, activity levels, breathing rates, environment, age and overall health. In reality, it’s virtually impossible to determine a general guideline that will apply to everyone, all the time. Newer guidelines recommend a much higher average water intake, suggesting women drink about 90 ounces of water per day, and men around 125 ounces. Certain medical conditions—like diabetes or heart disease, require even more water to avoid over-stressing the heart & other organs.
You can determine how much fluid you need when you’re exercising by weighing yourself before & after your workout. It takes a pint of water to replenish every pound of sweat you lose. If you’re not sweating during a vigorous workout, that can be a sign that you’re dehydrated & may be developing heat exhaustion.
Looking at the color of your urine is perhaps one of the best ways to track your individual hydration status from day to day. Ideally, you’ll want to drink enough water to turn your urine a light-colored yellow. Dark-colored urine is a sign that your kidneys are retaining fluids to maintain your bodily functions, and is a good indication that you need more water. Frequency of urination can also be used to judge your water intake. A healthy person urinates on average about seven or eight times a day. If you haven’t urinated in several hours that is an indication that you’re not drinking enough.
Pure, Fresh Water is Where it’s at!
Your body loses water throughout each day, even when you’re not sweating, and you need to constantly replenish this fluid loss. Beverages like soda, coffee, fruit juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks are popular drink choices for many people but they are very poor substitutes for pure water. Soda, coffee and energy drinks, for example, are high in caffeine which acts as a diuretic and will actually dehydrate you. Many people believe that sports drinks are the best way to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes when you’re working up a sweat but that’s simply not true. Most sports drinks contain a lot of sugar, typically in the form of fructose, as well as artificial sweeteners, flavors and food coloring, none of which contribute to optimal health. Avoid this common mistake and drink clean, fresh water. It’s one of the best things you can do for your overall health!
When you’re really working up a sweat, and need to replace lost electrolytes, add a small amount of natural, unprocessed Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt to your water. Unlike processed salt, natural salt contains important minerals that your body needs for optimal function. Another excellent option for electrolyte replacement is coconut water. It’s one of the highest sources of electrolytes known to man. Just make sure the brand you’re buying is pure & doesn’t have any added sugar.
Need some ideas to spice up your water?
Try adding some fruit & herbs to your pitcher of water to change it up a bit. It’ll add a lot of flavor to your water with the bonus of added vitamins & minerals. Here are a few combinations to try:
Research has shown that drinking watermelon juice just before exercise reduces athletes’ heart rate and guards against muscle soreness the next day. For a hydrating muscle recovery drink, try this combo:
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- ½ cup of sliced watermelon
- handful of fresh chopped mint leaves
Simply add everything to your pitcher of water & enjoy immediately or let it chill overnight for maximum flavor.
Ginger is a safe, natural remedy for nausea and the vitamin C in the lemons will give your immune system a boost.
- 6 cups water
- 2 lemons
- peeled ginger root
Put the water, lemon & ginger in a saucepan on your stove. Bring it to a boil, cover and lower the heat, allowing it to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drink it hot or chilled. To add a little sweetness, replace one lemon with an orange or add a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
- 1 sliced lemon
- 10 thin slices of cucumber
- Handful of mint
- 2-3 sprigs of rosemary
Cucumbers and lemons are a delicious combination on their own. Throw in some rosemary & mint, to boost the flavor of your water as well as the nutrient content. Rosemary adds iron, calcium, and potassium, while mint is a rich source of vitamin C and magnesium.
Give these a shot and let us know how you like them!