The In’s and Out’s of Staying Hydrated!

I hope everyone is adjusting well to the time change! I still feel as if my internal clock is off.  I keep waking up a bit earlier than normal and am not loving the 5pm darkness. It’s really cramping my running style. I do however enjoy that the sun is shining and I now get to wake up in daylight. Nothing beats those long summer days!

Yesterday I spoke a bit about how Michael and I need to adjust some of our eating and working out habits to make ourselves feel healthier.  We are over our marathon recovery and it’s time to get back into the swing of healthy eating and regular workouts.  I also mentioned that I am going to give up coffee.  I’m not sure I can give this up for good and never have it again but I definitely need to make it an occasional beverage rather than an everyday occurrence.  I think coffee will be a once a week thing for me.  I have since thought about what I would replace my usual morning coffee with, for now I am going to start with a smoothie.  All this beverage talk got me thinking about my hydration as a whole.

We all know that drinking enough water is important but why? Is my water bottle on my desk that I fill once a day is enough?

Some fun facts for starters:

  • Water makes up 55 to 75% of the human body.  This can be even higher if you are lean.  Why? Your muscles hold more water than fat does.
  • Our lungs expel two to four cups of water a day! This does not include your run or workout either.  And this could be more if it is cold out!
  • If you sweat, not from exercise, that is about two cups of water.
  • If your feet sweat, that is another cup!
  • And just think about all the times you go to the bathroom!

According to the article Benefits of Water on Shapefit.com there are three main ways to replenish your water.

  • Replacement approach. The average urine output for adults is 1.5 liters a day. You lose close to an additional liter of water a day through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Food usually accounts for 20 percent of your fluid intake, so you if you consume 2 liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than 8 cups), along with your normal diet, you can replace the lost fluids.
  • Eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Another approach to water intake is the “8 x 8 rule” – drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (about 1.9 liters). The rule could also be stated, “drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day,” as all fluids count toward the daily total. Though this approach isn’t supported by scientific evidence, many people use this basic rule as a guideline for how much water and other fluids to drink.
  • Dietary recommendations. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. These guidelines are based on national food surveys that assessed people’s average fluid intakes.

Any of these work well but you should definitely aim to have colorless to slightly yellow colored urine and a normal amount.  If you don’t go regularly or your urine is dark yellow, you should look to hydrate more.

So what other factors can affect your hydration?

Exercise.

Most of you know this, hydrate when you exercise.  Drink water before, during and especially after.  You need to replace the fluids you sweat out and then also maintain your regular hydration.  If your running a marathon or half-marathon the intricacy of hydration gets more detailed and that’s a whole other post.  But I will say if your workout is intense and you sweat A LOT you may need sports drink to help replace the sodium you sweat out.

The Weather.

We all know to drink more water and stay hydrated when it is hot and humid out.  Your sweating more than normal and the water will help to keep your body temperature lower.  But this is just as important when it is cold out! You go grocery shopping or to the mall and you still have your parka on. It’s hot in the store and inevitably you sweat a little.  You need to replace that fluid.  Running the furnace can dry out the air, which dries out your skin and lungs.  Drinking more water helps to keep your skin moisturized.

Illness.

It’s cold and flu season.  Drinking extra water helps to wash out toxins and bacteria and keep you feeling healthy!

Can I get water from other sources?

You sure can! The food you consumes provides about 20% of the daily water you need.  The remaining amount comes from fluids you drink.  You can definitely get water from oranges, apples, peaches, cucumbers and other foods.  Beverages like milk and juice and coffee also contain water. Things like grains and nuts, and bread contain less water.  Alcohol also contains some water too.  Keep in mind though that coffee, some teas, soda and alcohol can be diuretic to some people and can actually cause you to lose fluids.  Going one for one is a good suggestion, one alcoholic or caffeinated beverage followed by one water.

And some other information I felt worth sharing!

  • If you feel hungry and it’s not time for a regularly scheduled meal, try having a glass of water.  A few minutes after your water determine if you were truly hungry or if you feel satisfied.  Often our bodies confuse hunger with thirst! It’s a great way to keep yourself from consuming added calories!

The most common culprits are sodas and fruit juices. An average can of soda alone can have up to 60 grams of sugar–that’s the same amount of sugar in four pieces of bread. That said, you’ll want to curtail sodas and fruit juices and learn to enjoy drinking water instead.

  • And my favorite tip! Fill a pitcher with water and add fruits, vegetables or herbs to give it a naturally delicious flavor! Lemon, Lime, Cantaloupe, Muskmelon, Grapefruits, Oranges, and Grapes are all great fruits to use!  Cucumbers are also delicious in water.  I love to add fresh mint, basil, or thyme to water to help flavor it! My gym does this and I have been doing it at home for ages. 


Neglecting your hydration can leave you feel dehydrated.  Losing as little as 1 to 2% of your body weight will potential leave you feeling symptoms like headaches, decreased mental sharpness, tiredness, dry mouth, dizziness, lightheadedness or thirst.  So next time you go for a mid-afternoon soda or coffee think instead and reach for a water.  It may just be the afternoon pick me up you need to make you feel fresh, clear and energized!

I hope everyone learned something! I’m already cutting out the coffee and tend to stay away from soda but will certainly be sure to read my tea labels and choose beverages that are best for my body!

How much water do you drink? Is caffeine something you shy away from? Do you make a conscious effort to drink enough water throughout the day and make smart beverage choices? Do you drink enough water post workout?

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