Don't Forget to Hydrate!
It's about to get HOT out there. I went for a trail run in the middle of the day yesterday, and temps were already sitting around 80 degrees. I'm a sweater as it is. You know, that type that literally looks like she showered after even a light workout, yea that's me. I typically change my clothes about 3 times a day in the summer. Thanks for that, Dad!
As it gets warmer outside, and perspiration increases, we need to make sure we are taking care to replace those lost fluids. Duh, right? I'm not talking just water, though. We lose electrolytes when we sweat, too. Electrolytes (think sodium and potassium) are important, because they are the electrically charged minerals that help balance the amount of water in the body. Did you know we are made up of around 60% water? Even small fluid losses of around 2% of bodyweight can cause issues including impaired circulatory functions and decreased performance levels.
The general recommendation of the Dietary Reference Intake is 91 ounces for women and 125 ounces for men. This recommendation does not take activity levels or climate into account. That means, if you are working out, and/or if you live in warmer clients, you should be drinking even more than this. You should increase your fluid intake by 4-8 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise (drink on the upper end of that if you are exercising in a warmer environment). NOTE: that this number is referring to TOTAL fluid intake throughout the day. That's not just water. We take in fluid from other sources like coffee, tea, sports drinks, and even from food sources like our fruits and vegetables.
How do I know if I am getting dehydrated?
Dehydration signs include decreased performance, headaches, irritability, inability to focus, and slowed reaction times. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, try drinking a glass of water with some electrolytes, and see if a change occurs. Also, let's talk about your pee! You can assess your hydration status by checking out your pee. Your urine should be "light like lemonade," not "dark like apple juice." The darker your pee, the more dehydrated you are. You don't want clear urine either! This means that your body is lacking in electrolytes. If this is happening, make sure you salt your food at your next meal, or pop an electrolyte tablet into your next glass of water.
I'm not a huge water fan, so what can I do to stay more hydrated?
Honestly, I don't always LOVE water either. I like some flavor in my life. I have to spice up my drinking routine in order to stay hydrated; otherwise, I just won't drink enough. Here are some of my favorite go-tos for fluids throughout the day:
1. Ice water with lemon: I have found that I can crush some water when I simply squeeze a lemon slice into it. It adds just enough flavor to make it more tasty and refreshing to me than just plain water. This is a great option at restaurants.
2. La Croix or other unsweetened sparkling water brands. I'm super basic and like the grapefruit and orange flavors, but there are TONS of flavors to choose from. If you are a soda person, it may be a tough switch at first, but the longer you spend away from it, th more you start to notice the subtle flavors of the water.
3. BCAAs. I use the Xtend brand that also contains electrolytes. I drink this during and after exercise. It helps me stay hydrated during my workouts and cools me down when I get done. Plus, it tastes great!
4. Nuun electrolyte tablets. I order a 4 pack of these tubes every month with a variety of flavors. They are all super tasty. All you do is dissolve 1-2 tablets in a glass of water, add some ice, and drink. My favorite flavors are the tri-berry and the tropical.
5. Fruit infused water. If you aren't a fan of the sparkling water, but like the idea of fruit flavored waters, try making your own! I have this infuser bottle that makes it super easy! Just cut up some fruit or veggies, place them in the infuser, fill the bottle with water, and enjoy. Sometimes I will do this the night before so the flavors have a chance to soak in over the night, and it tastes even better the next morning. You can get super creative with this one...cucumber + mint is a GREAT one.
6. Eat more fruits and veggies!! These foods are high in water content. Eating them on their own will help promote good hydration levels.
7. Tea sweetened with Truvia. Truvia is a natural, calorie-free sweetener that I really like. It is derived from the stevia leaf. Sometimes I will brew black tea, chill it, and drink iced tea during the day.
8. Simply drink more water. Sometimes we just forget. I'm guilty of this all the time. To help myself remember, I will buy a new fancy water bottle, fill it up, and keep it with me all day long. If it's always on you, you can't forget!
All-in-all, keep drinking SOMETHING (obvi not alcoholic) throughout the day, drink more if you exercise or are active during warmer weather, and, as always, eat your fruits and veggies! Monitor your pee to make sure it's "light like lemonade," and if it's not, make the necessary changes. Aren't you glad to hear that coffee contributes to your daily fluid intake?? Heck yes.
Drink on my peeps. Have a beautiful hump day!