Breaking a Sweat? Break Open the Beverages!
Now that you’ve been motivated to get on the exercise train to better health, there are some important points to cover regarding hydration – it goes hand in hand with exercise and activity!
Did you know that the human body is 50-65% water? Our bodies need fluid! We need it before, during and after exercise… even throughout the day regardless of whether we are exercising that day or not. Staying properly hydrated is important for anyone, but especially for those who are participating in activities and experience fluid loss. Proper hydration regulates body temperature, transports nutrients and oxygen, and it even helps keep joints and organs properly cushioned. On the other hand, dehydration is a major cause of fatigue, poor performance, decreased coordination and muscle cramping. Talk about important!
No matter whether you are a super sweater or a glowing glistener, staying hydrated is a must! Different people require different amounts of fluid intake each day, depending upon activity level, age and even genetics! The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recently updated their recommendations for fluid intake. They offer the following hydration advice for adults:
Women 19+ years: 9 cups (2.2 L)
Men 19+ years: 13 cups (3 L)
Getting enough fluids is vital all the time, but especially when taking into account the following important points:
As your activity level increases, so should your fluid intake.
Whether you are increasing the duration (total time) or the intensity of your exercise session, you will generally experience additional fluid loss.
As temperatures rise, fluid loss increases and so should your fluid intake!
Although you will lose fluid during exercise at any time of year, fluid loss increases in the heat and humidity of summer months. And remember, even if you aren’t drenched in sweat after an activity, you may still lose fluid. If you live in a very dry climate, or are exercising on a mild day, the fluid you lose (your sweat) may quickly evaporate from your skin and clothing.
As you sweat, you lose water and nutrients.
This affects how your body functions, so you must replace what is lost. A loss of as little as 2% of one's body weight due to sweating can lead to a drop in blood volume, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. This makes the heart work harder in order to move blood through the bloodstream. Hydration is vital to maintaining cardiovascular health, proper body temperature and muscle function.
Water can provide all the hydration you need, but consuming other beverages (even those containing caffeine, according to the NAS) can aid hydration as well. Just remember that calories count even in liquid form, so watch out for calories associated with your fluid intake! Choose water and low/no-calorie beverages, such as lite lemonade, reduced-calorie juices, low-fat or skim milk and diet soda to help control calories. Choosing other full-calorie beverages will also help hydration, just be sure to account for the calories in your daily total.
Now’s the time to get sippin!