By the time you feel the delayed sensation of thirst, you are already approaching dehydration. Whether hard at it at the gym or working hard at your desk, keeping a water bottle handy will help you rehydrate throughout your day.
Tips to stay hydrated.
1. Drink small amounts, often, to maintain hydration 24/7.
2. If you tire of plain water, try diluted sports drinks, coconut water, or weak teas.
3. Increasing your fruit intake will also help maintain hydration levels.
4. Always drink before you are thirsty, especially if it is hot.
5. Check your urine, it should be clear or only slightly yellow.
6. Pinch yourself to check your skin hydration. Properly hydrated skin should “snap back” quickly and not stay “tented” when pinched.
When should you hydrate?
In addition to the frequent sips of fluid throughout the day, you should drink a minimum of 8 to 16 ounces of water about 2 hours before you exercise. Drink another 6 to 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up. Sip another 8 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during intense exercise or during high temperatures. And to maintain your hydration, drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise.
How to recognize when you’re dehydrated.
1. Dry or sticky mouth.
2. Low blood pressure, headaches, and dizziness. The headaches are from decreased blood volume and oxygen to the brain and may be followed by dizziness and unconsciousness.
3. Sweating, followed by dry, cool skin.
- Feeling listless, lethargic and irritable.
5. Dark urine followed by little or no urine.
- Thirst. You body’s signal that you need to hydrate.
Benefits of staying hydrated:
• More energy due to increased blood volume and oxygen flow.
• Promotes weight loss, drinking water helps you feel more full, sooner.
• Flushes toxins from every part of your body.
• Improves skin tone and elasticity.
• Maintains regularity and elimination.
• Natural headache cure from increased oxygen carried to the brain.
Why is hydration important?
Your kidneys need a constant supply of water to filter waste from the blood and excrete it in your urine. Keeping hydrated also prevents urinary tract infections and reduces your risk for kidney stones. If you become severely dehydrated, your kidneys may stop working completely.
Water and blood volume regulate your body temperature and lubricates your joints. Healthy, hydrated blood transports nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not hydrated you may feel tired, suffer muscle cramps, dizziness, or other serious symptoms.
Drink water. Drink relatively slowly to avoid stomach upset, drinking too much, too quickly may cause your body to expel a significant amount of it as urine, which will slow the rehydration process. After intense exercise, drink a rehydration (sports) drink, to quickly replace fluids, electrolytes and minerals. You should drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of liquid a day to replace lost fluids.
Water should be your first choice, but alternatives include:
- Skim milk for hydration and an excellent source of calcium.
- Smoothies with fruit, ice cubes and your choice of milk or milk substitute.
- Sports drinks. Avoid those that contain too much added sugar and sodium, you can also dilute your sports drinks with an equal amount of water to reduce calories.
- Coconut water.
- 1:1 Diluted fruits drinks or juices are much healthier than straight bottled juices.
- Coffee or tea, but only as a last resort as caffeine is a powerful diuretic.