By: Bentz Tozer, Jr., BS, CPT
Approximately 60 percent of your body weight is water. Staying hydrated is the key to many aspects of health. Most people take water for granted. We don’t usually think about it until the warmer months when we are sweating buckets.
However, warm weather or increased activity are not the only reasons to look at hydration.
Your body is constantly losing water: through your breath as you exhale, through your skin as perspiration and through urination. This water must be replaced to maintain good health. Dehydration is the cause of many headaches. It has been said that it wasn’t the two pain-relieving tablets that made your headache go away; it was the 12 ounces of water you drank when you took them.
The best fruits to stay hydrated are in the melon family or apples and oranges. Melons are, by far, the best and can be eaten all day long.
Staying hydrated is important to our health and well-being. As little as a one- to two-percent decrease in fluids can lead to difficulty concentrating.
Sweat is the way in which your body cools itself. If you dehydrate and stop perspiring, you are in danger of overheating.
Water also plays a huge role in the proper function of our digestive system. From the saliva in your mouth to the softening of your stool, water plays an important role throughout the entire digestive tract. Cells utilize water to transport nutrients in and waste out.
When it comes to hydration and your skin, water is the key to the reduction of wrinkles and looking younger. Our skin is like a plum. When it is well hydrated, it’s smooth and supple; when it’s not, you have a wrinkled-up prune.
The importance of water and staying hydrated must not be overlooked year-round.
In addition to hydrating, we also need to look at electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium and chloride, that are important in maintaining the body’s fluid balance. Since electrolytes are lost through sweat, it is important that you replace them regularly. Whether you choose sports drinks, juices or get them through fruits and veggies, it doesn’t matter – just get them.
So, how much water should you consume?
The minimum amount of water consumed each day should be half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, a 150-pound person would consume a minimum of 75 ounces of water per day. This is a guideline and can be modified to your specific needs or health.
Keep in mind, a person who is more active and perspires more will require larger amounts due to the loss of fluids.
Time-released water – yes, you read that right. How? Simple – eat fruit. The best fruits to stay hydrated are in the melon family or apples and oranges. Melons are, by far, the best and can be eaten all day long.
When it comes to hydration, we are able to get water from our foods and many other sources. However, drinking water is still the best way to re-hydrate.
The summer heat doesn’t have to be harmful if you stay hydrated with the proper mix of fruits, flavored beverages and plain water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty or fatigued. Drinking fluids throughout the day is the best way to stay ahead. If you have to, force yourself to drink.
Here are some other recommendations on how to avoid getting dehydrated this summer:
– Flavor your water if you need to.
– Avoid salty foods.
– Eat more fruits and vegetables.
– Drink before, during and after any physical activity.
– Avoid beverages that are high in sugar, caffeine or alcohol.