With the upcoming heat, talks about proper hydration are inevitable. I always seem to have the same conversations every year. So, I figured I would get ahead of the conversation and start the hydration talk now.
The importance of hydration for good health and a properly functioning body system cannot be overstated, especially in the heat. Proper hydration will lead to:
Quicker recover from training sessions.
A body that functions more efficiently (especially in the heat).
Less grogginess and more alertness.
Improved blood circulation.
Improved cooling of the core body temperature.
Contrary to popular belief, proper hydration starts well before you feel “thirsty.” When the thirst mechanism is activated, it is usually a sign that the body is already under hydrated (and possibly headed towards dehydration).
So, How Much Water Should You Drink?
A good rule of thumb is that a person should drink 1L of water for every 50lbs of body weight they have (in pounds). 1L of water is 2 normal bottles of water (16.9 oz)
Just to give you some perspective, 200 lbs man needs to drink 4L of water per day (8 normal bottles of water).
However, there are a few factors that will lead to one having to increase their water consumption:
Heat - when it’s hot outside our body has to work extra hard to cool itself down. Increasing water consumption will help the process.
Coffee - black coffee is not the bad guy everyone makes it out to be. Black coffee is ok for you, and in some instances it is extremely beneficial. However, black coffee is a diuretic. I tell our athletes, drink an extra cup of water for every cup of coffee that they consume.
Sickness - when someone is sick, they become dehydrated because of a loss of fluids (I don’t think I need to expand on this :-p). Drinking water is also tough when one is sick because water for the most part isn’t comforting. When we aren’t feeling well we usually towards things that make us feel better.
Tricks to improving water consumption:
Get a bottle big enough to hold every ounce you need to drink.
Drink a big glass of water right when you wake up.
Drink water at every meal.
Drink water during your training session (seems obvious, but you would be surprised)
Add fresh fruit to your water if you need a little extra taste.
As the temperature continues to rise, make sure you are hydrating your body properly. And remember, “only drinking when you are thirsty,” is far too late. You must stay ahead of your hydration by drinking plenty of water, well in advance.
Dedicated To Your Success,
Andrew Hamel MS, CSCS
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