CHEERS! IT’S SUMMER AT LAST!
No – I don’t mean have another glass of alcohol! I would like you to think about how much water you drink now compared to in the cooler months because it really IS important for your body to be properly hydrated and even more so if you exercise.
If you do exercise regularly, you need to think more about how much fluid you should be taking in in different circumstances as you need more fluid than usual when you are carrying more weight than you should, or if you are training for an event are you sweating a lot of salt or do you have to travel to compete or do you train for more than an hour in warm environments.
It is not so simple as just drinking more because you have read it is good for you.
You can make the mistake of drinking too much or the wrong type of drink and both can be as detrimental to the body and brain as not drinking enough. You need to individualise your drinking as no two people are alike in their needs.
How do you know you are not drinking enough?
It is easy to ‘think’ you are doing so but if you suffer from:
Light headedness when you get up
Feeling more tired than usual
You feel you are ‘flagging’ half way through the day
You are getting headaches
Your mood changes to feeling less motivated, more anxious than usual.
Then you could be suffering from lack of fluid.
The trouble is that the older we get, the less we actually FEEL thirsty and so we can more easily become dehydrated.
How do you know you ARE drinking enough?
You will pass urine five times per day
Your urine will be pale and you will passing a good volume
What if you exercise a lot?
You know you are dehydrated if you weigh 125 lbs and are female and after a race or exercise, you lose 2.5 lbs or if you weigh 200 lbs and you lose 4 lbs.
If you are racing and you drink close to the race it is too late to prevent dehydration! You need to drink over 2 hours prior to a race and even in the days before the race, you need to take on more fluids in preparation.
130 lb athlete needs 70 fluid ounces per day
Take your body weight in lbs and divide by 2 and that is the amount in fluid ounces that you should be drinking per day.
BEFORE A RACE
2 hours before take on 14 – 22 fluid ounces
15 minutes before take on 4 – 16 fluid ounces
AFTER A RACE
Take on 16 – 24 fluid ounces for every lb you have lost.
HOW TO INDIVIDUALISE YOU FLUID REQUIREMENTS
Warm up for 10 minutes of your typical intensity
Exercise for 30 minutes and weigh yourself again
Do this a couple of times and see what is the average weight loss.
For every lb lost, drink a pint of fluid. Easy!
WHAT SHOULD YOU DRINK?
Water is not always the perfect fluid.
It doesn’t replace carbohydrates lost
It doesn’t replace electrolytes lost
It is not absorbed very fast
You lose sense of thirst during exercise
You may drink less overall
You may drink too much and create hypernatremia
SO WHAT SHOULD I DRINK INSTEAD?
Something with good osmotic concentration such as grape juice or lemonade
Something containing 4 – 8% carbohydrates – this level helps to get the fluid into the blood stream from your gut
With a mix of sugars
A sodium content of 120 – 170 mg/8oz not more though – you can have too much of a good thing! But sodium reduces your urine output, helps activate your thirst mechanism and improves the taste of the drink thus it is easier to drink more unlike plain water.
Potassium content of 20 – 50 mg/8 oz not more though
No weird ingredients – always look at the label though.
SIMPLE WAYS TO AVOID DEHYDRATION
Line up bottles of water so you can see what you have actually drunk.
Set an alarm on your phone.
Think about what exercise you are going to be doing and when and plan accordingly.
Just be more aware of the need for the right amount of fluid and that a lack of fluid can affect not just the body but the brain .. we are not only “what we eat” but “how much we drink”.
CHEERS! And have a great summer!