Hydration, hydration, hydration

Published 5:48 pm Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jody Holton

Did you know the human body is more than 60 percent water. Blood is 92 percent water, the brain and muscles are 75 percent water, and bones are about 22 percent water? Just to maintain those levels, the average person must consume about eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, this varies according to your size. That is just the average person going about their average day. This is the minimum it takes to properly digest your food and keep those kidneys functioning.
Let’s talk about the person that is working out or putting forth higher than normal activity levels. And we are not talking training for a triathlon, we are talking a one-hour workout, a trip to a theme park, a hike, biking, or even aquatic’s exercise. Yes, that right, even if you are in the pool, you need to stop periodically and drink some water.
The first time I went to The Mouse House in Florida, my daughter, who works there, warned me repeatedly to drink, drink, drink. I did not listen. Halfway through the day I got a massive headache, got nauseated, got sick, and it took me about an hour of drinking water to get back to functionality. After that, you better believe I kept a bottle of water with me and kept refilling it.
Let’s talk about the consequences of not drinking enough water. From the very minor increased thirst, on to dry mouth/ swollen tongue, weakness, dizziness, the afore mentioned headache and nausea, to the much worse — palpitations, confusion, fainting, inability to sweat, and decreased urine output. There are many reasons why you can become dehydrated; we are concentrating on increased physical activity.
Listen to your body. It will let you know right away when you need to hydrate. As a precaution, an hour before you hit the gym, grab an extra 20 ounces to hydrate before you dehydrate. It takes about 60 minutes for the liquid to travel from your stomach to your muscles.
In the heat, it’s even more important to take in adequate liquids. Drink again after your workout. A quick measure to see if you are drinking enough, check the color of your urine, it should be pale yellow, or the color of straw. The darker it is, the more concentrated it is and that could be a sign of dehydration. If you are not going to the bathroom once an hour, you are not drinking enough.
How do I get enough liquids in me? The easy answer is to drink water, but you have some great and tasty options. How about watermelon, celery, cucumbers, strawberries, lettuce, milk, or juice? All very good choices to keep you running like a well-oiled machine. Let’s touch on the things that pull the water out of you, coffee, tea, and alcohol. All things in moderation. If you plan on increased exertion, take in the liquids that will work for you, not against you.
Jody Holton is marketing director for the YMCA of Southeast Texas, Port Arthur Branch.

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