August is really hot in the South. It’s the miserable kind of hot that makes you break a sweat just going to the mailbox. Blame it on my genes, but I am one of those people who just sweats – a lot. I don’t do the glisten or get rosy kind of thing. I break out in an all out, soaked clothes and dripping hair kind of sweat. I know when I sweat that my body is losing water. Losing water is not a good thing. Our bodies are comprised of over half water and we use water for just about everything to keep our system running smoothly. When we lose water from our system we get dehydrated and end up feeling pretty yucky, fatigued, dizzy, cranky. It can also cause headaches and muscle cramps. So, if you are wondering why you’ve been feeling off lately, chances are you haven’t been hydrating enough.
I yell a lot of directions to my boys throughout the day. These days, they are fighting the heat at daily football practices. Therefore, I’ve added, “Hydrate!” to them as they walk out the door. Of course, drinking water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated, but there are other ways to make sure we keep enough water in our bodies daily. Here are some great ways to make sure you stay hydrated and rarely get thirsty. Did you know if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated?
Eat Your Fluids. What does that mean? It means eat foods that are full of water. In fact, we should all be getting 20 percent of our daily water intake from foods. Here are some great foods to add to your hydration:
4. Oranges, tangerines, clementines
8. Soups . . . Yes! Choose hot or cold to help add to your hydration
Other fluids besides water count toward hydrating your body.
9. Fat free or skim milk, chocolate milk, coconut or almond milk. (My First Son used to rush into the house all hot and sweaty and reach for a glass of milk. It made my stomach turn, but research shows milk, especially chocolate milk, is better for rehydration and recovery after exercise than a sports drink.
10. Smoothies – whip up a smoothie from fruits and vegetables you have on hand.
11. Sports drinks . The sports drinks on the market include sugar, sodium, electrolytes and protein that help balance your body quicker after a long workout. Just remember, if it was a short workout you may not need the extra carbs and sugar.
12. Coconut water. This is a great low carb, rich in potassium way to hydrate after a workout. Again, think about the duration and intensity of your workout. If you’ve had a long workout over 90 minutes, you may need more replenishment.
13. Coffee. Yes, you read that correctly. Coffee actually does add to your water needs, and can also boost athletic endurance and had some other heart healthy benefits.
14. Pedialyte. This is not just for sick infants! Workouts during the heat this time of year are especially grueling. Pedialyte helps the body regain its balance really quickly without some of the added sugars of some sports drinks.
As you are fighting this heat and working up a sweat, just remember to make sure you get enough water and stay hydrated with any or all of these ways. Most women need about eleven cups of water a day and men require about 15 cups, with 20 percent coming from food. Also, remember to hydrate BEFORE you exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 16 to 20 ounces at least four hours before exercise and three to eight ounces every 15 minutes during exercise (especially in hot temperatures).” If you feel yourself getting thirsty during the middle of your run it’s because you are already dehydrated. Not good.
If you are wondering whether you are well hydrated there are a couple of things you can do. You can weigh yourself before and after a workout. For every pound you have lost from exercise you should drink 20-24 ounces to replenish. Furthermore, you can check your urine. (I know, I know, but we all have it!) If it’s bright yellow that’s not good. If you are hydrated it should look pale yellow and if you aren’t getting up to go to the bathroom, that’s not good either. That’s a sign you need to drink up.
Enjoy Your Day!