One of the most important health tips that anyone can follow each day is stay hydrated, yet so many struggle with it. With summer still in full effect, high temperatures easily contribute to dehydration and dramatically increase when we perform strenuous activities. It’s crucial to know how and why dehydration levels lower our performance during exercise to prevent drying out throughout the day.
Why do we Sweat?
Exercise causes the body’s internal temperature to rise, and in order to cool down, the body produces sweat. While it may cool us down internally, we still lose fluids and electrolytes including sodium and chloride. Dr. Sara Filmalter, a Mayo Clinic family physician, states that "the purpose of rehydrating is using water or, even better, those electrolyte-containing beverages to pull fluid back into our system and rehydrate.” For instance, DrinkLyte’s products contain an ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution), which is used to treat dehydration symptoms. Therefore, DrinkLyte is a great way to replenish electrolytes either after a workout or as a daily hydration boost.
What is the Recommended Daily Intake?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends women drink approximately 11.5 cups of water per day and for men, 15.5 cups. These amounts are calculated from an average person’s daily food and liquid intake. It’s also important to note that those who participate in physical activity need to consume more water than the amounts mentioned. While these are standard recommendations, not everyone’s intake will be the same. Factors including age, gender, weight, and length and intensity of workouts all impact our hydration levels, making everyone’s fluid intake different.
Without enough fluids in the system, the body cannot function properly. Dehydration can cause issues as small as migraines or fatigue and grow into more life-threatening risks, such as rapid heartbeat, seizures, and even strokes. Just as someone can become dehydrated, they can also over-hydrate. This occurs when the body holds onto more liquid than the kidneys can remove. Although it’s much less common, it still happens and can be deadly.
Hydration and Muscle Recovery
Believe it or not, hydration for the muscles is just as important. When building muscle from exercise, this causes them to break down and rebuild using muscle protein synthesis. For muscles to recover, they need to stay hydrated too, requiring those who exercise to maintain their fluid levels. Dehydration can affect injuries as well. The more dehydrated one is, the longer it takes for the body to heal.
Some tips to stay hydrated throughout the day:
- Bring a reusable water bottle with you to continuously fill up during the day.
- Eat nutritious foods that have a high water content (e.g., Watermelon, Broccoli, Strawberries, Celery, Cucumber).
- Drink water before, during, and after your workout. You continue to lose fluid even after your session!
- Avoid diuretics close to your workout (e.g., alcohol, caffeine, energy drinks).
The best thing to stay properly hydrated is to listen to the body. Many follow the statement, “drink to thirst” which simply means to drink when thirsty. Some may find this conflicted with facts about already being at dehydrated levels when thirsty. However, it’s important to consistently sip on water throughout the day, which can easily be done by keeping a bottle close by. Consuming water-rich foods and healthy electrolyte-replenishing fluids will keep the body happy throughout the day and, even happier, during those rigorous workouts.
Author : Jennifer Dutton, Blog Writer, DrinkLyte Co. "Helping Grow CPG Brands Beyond Their Potential"