HYDRATION – THE MASTER KEY TO GOOD HEALTH
You’ve probably heard those narrators on the National Geographic specials say things like "Water gives life" or "Without water there could be no life." They’re overly dramatic, but they’re right. We humans are more than 70% water. Taking enough fluids is the basis for keeping your body working at its best. We begin to get dehydrated and our performance drops off with just so much as a 2% water loss. What can cause a 2% water loss? It doesn’t take much. It can happen to an athlete who’s competing, to someone who’s in bed with the flu or diarrhea, in the very hot weather, or even to someone who just doesn’t drink enough. Water is continuously lost from the body partly in urine and stools (approx 1.5litres), partly in sweat and partly as water vapor in respiration. Even mild dehydration of 1% of the body, which would represent approximately 0.75 to 1 liter of water (1% of 75 Kg = 750 ml.) can create a reduction in muscle performance and start to show dehydration symptoms. Early symptoms are headaches, dry eyes (ask any contact lens wearer what happens after a couple of glasses of wine), drowsiness, loss of concentration, irritability. If you don’t meet your fluid needs, you can also experience frequent muscle gramps.
Since all these things are worsened by dehydration it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that water and keeping hydrated is important for you. The more you weigh, the greater your fluid needs. Dehydration can begin a negative impact in your daily activities. By drinking adequate fluids in daily routine, you will decrease the chances of getting injuries.
WAYS TO MONITOR YOUR FLUID STATUS
You can do quick things to keep an eye on your hydration status. Every person perspires at different rates depending on their biological make-up.
Monitor your urine output: If you are hydrated, you should go to bathroom frequently. If you don’t produce much urine or if it is very dark in colour, chances are you are dehydrated. Ideally urine should be pale or colourless. Remember some of the medicines, vitamins and dietary supplements may also change the colour of your urine.
Within 2hours of a workout or competition, aim to get back to your pre-exercise weight: Weigh yourself before and after workouts to ensure you are not losing too much fluid. Remember losing weight by losing fluid or becoming dehydrated is not the way to get the pounds off.
If you are heavy sweater, make sure to use beverage containing sodium during
workouts. Eat and drink foods and fluids with sodium after your workout to replenish the sodium lost in sweat.
TO STAY HYDRATED
Drink atleast 2 glasses of water when you get up in the morning.
Drink 2 glasses of water 1-11/2 hour before your workout.
Keep sipping fluid after every 10-15mins during workout.
Don't wait until you are thirsty to decide to drink. Your thirst sensation runs quite a bit slower than your body’s need for water. By the time you realize that you’re feeling thirsty, your body will already be suffering from drought. Most experts suggest that you drink before you get thirsty. Even if you’re just pushing a long distance – drink water before, during, and after.
People involved in intense or long duration workouts are prone to heavy, repeated sweating, thus losing high amount of electrolytes(sodium, potassium, magnesium).These people can replenish the body by having salty fluids and foods like energy/sports drinks, tomato juice, orange juice, grape juice, milk, potato, bananas, spinach, canned soups and beans.
You can include other fluids like juices, tang, lemonade, milk, buttermilk and coconut water in your mid-meals.
Cool water is the best fluid for keeping hydrated when it’s warm outside. Cool water is absorbed much more quickly than warm fluids and may help to cool off your overheated body. If you’re going to be away from home or outdoors, make sure you keep a bottle of water close by.
Make a habit of keeping water or other non-caffeinated beverages with you all day long. . Keep a large bottle of water next to your bed so you can sip it throughout the day without having to get up. One should drink at least 10 – 12 glasses of fluid everyday.
Keep a bottle of water at work space, in your backpack or in the car as easy to access.
There are foods you eat that can contribute fluid to your diet. Some foods contain 80%or more of their weight in water. So you can eat more of these foods to stay hydrated if you just don’t like water.
Foods with at least 80% water are like tomatoes, papaya, peaches, pear, yogurt and oranges. Cucumber and watermelon contain 90-95% (highest) of their weight in water.
You should drink 2glasses of water for every alcoholic drink as this helps the body to stay hydrated. Drinking beer or alcoholic beverages is not the right way to rehydrate yourself. Alcoholic beverages contain little carbohydrates and the alcohol can actually work against you by causing your body lose fluid and get dehydrated more quickly.
Caffeine based beverages like tea, coffee or colas are a diuretic. Therefore when you are having these kinds of beverages be sure to stay well-hydrated.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
How do you know if you are not getting enough water? Check off the questions that you can answer "yes" to:
____Is your skin dry? If you wrinkle it or pinch it, does it take awhile to "bounce "back"
____Is your urine dark? (It should be a light yellow in color)
____Are you frequently constipated?
____Do you get groggy or headachy part way through the day?
____Do you have a lot of trouble staying cool – or keeping warm?
A "yes" to any one of these questions can mean you’re not getting enough water. Any of them could be lessened by taking in more fluids. However, don’t kid yourself – every one of these problems or complaints can also be caused by something other than dehydration – sometimes by something very serious. Till then you can feel safe prescribing "extra water" for yourself and get your body to perform at its best.