I’d like to talk about something clean and wonderful. Something that will boost your energy, improve your negative attitude, heighten your alertness, reduce your headaches, help with constipation…and even soften your skin?
And, what’s this miracle?
Water! Today I’d like to chat with you about the importance of staying hydrated during these upcoming hot summer months…or if you’ve got the stomach bug.
Did you know that just 1-2% dehydration can negatively affect your energy, alertness, mood, and bring on headaches? I know…1-2% doesn’t sound like much, but since the body is 60% water, just being slightly dehydrated can do all that, plus increase your risks for constipation and rough, dry skin. If you want to read a medical article, here’s a great review that just came out this year.
How do you know if you’re dehydrated? You’ve probably heard you should drink 8-10 cups of water. That’s a fairly good estimate, but it’s just that…an estimate. Some people sweat more than others – and need more. If you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, the fluid within the food counts, too, so maybe you don’t have to drink as much. And, what about coffee? Does that count? Find out here.
The easiest way to check your hydration level is to check the color of your pee…it should be clear or perhaps straw-colored. If it looks more like apple juice, you’re probably dehydrated. If it’s bright yellow, it might be the medication or supplements that you’re taking – check with your medical professional or pharmacist.
I find the easiest way to stay hydrated is to always have a bottle of water nearby. It’s way easier to sip when your throat gets dry, than to try to guzzle when you’re really thirsty.
What Does 1% Dehydration Look Like?
Write down your weight with a decimal point after the number. Such as “150. pounds” Now, move the decimal point to the left two spaces. For this example, 1% of 150 would be, “1.50 pounds”. That means, if you lose 1.5 pounds on the scale, you would be 1% dehydrated. And, of course, if you lost 3 pounds, that would represent 2% dehydration.
What does that look like? To translate that into water, remember that two cups of fluid (16oz) weighs a pound. So, if you’ve lost 3 pounds, you’d need 6 cups of fluid to rehydrate completely.
When you’re dehydrated, you simply won’t be able to lift as much or work out as hard. That’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated while running, biking, swimming, or whatever it is that you do. Most of us sweat more than we think we do. I’m guessing many of you get overly dehydrated when working out.
Try this on your next exercise day. Weigh yourself (naked) before exercise. Do your exercise…oh, put your clothes back on first, please. And, then, right after exercising, strip off all those wet soggy clothes and step on the scale again. Did you lose weight? For each pound you lose, drink 16oz of water to return your hydration level to pre-exercise levels. Is that more than you would have guessed?
Don’t Like the Taste of Water?
I get it. I’ve always loved water but then we moved about 9 months ago and I hated the taste of the new water. Even when it was run through the refrigerator filter. I complained to everyone who would listen to me. Even bought bottled water – and drank more tea to cover up the taste. And, to be honest, maybe more diet coke. And, guess what? As I’m writing this I realized that at some point I stopped complaining. I stopped covering up the taste and buying bottled water. I don’t know when…but eventually, I got used to the taste. And, you can, too. Give it time.
Think about some of the other habits you have (cigarettes? alcohol? coffee?). Did you like any of them the first time you tried them? Probably not…but you got used to them so much that you love them now, right. So, give water a chance!
Sure, you can add pieces of fresh fruit or herbs. But, if you like something even sweeter…read on. If the beverage is sugar-sweetened, those calories can really add up. If it’s artificially-sweetened, I’m less concerned about the (potential) health risks than I am with the fact that you’re changing your taste buds. When you drink sweet things all day long, apples don’t seem sweet…you crave apple pie instead.
It’s best to drink water as your primary beverage. Our body is 60% water…why not give the body back what it lost?