The Importance of Proper Hydration
One of the first things that I go over with every one of my clients is whether or not they are staying hydrated each and every day. Whether or not they are properly hydrated affected every aspect of their daily lives and heavily influences how well they do during our workout sessions. People spend much of their time dehydrated and can easily become used to the symptoms.
I always tell them to start by keeping a full glass of water by their bed so that when they wake they can take a nice long drink to start the day. This cool glass will kick-start your wakeup process and even more importantly, kick-start your metabolism. Mo’ water mo’ weight loss!
I want to quickly go over those symptoms that many people have come to ignore. The main one is very basic: feeling thirsty. If you have hit that point during your day, you are already dehydrated. Sluggishness, dizziness, heart palpitations, dark urine, weakness, muscle cramps, overheating, headaches, and lightheadedness are all signs that you are dehydrated. So if you regularly end up with a headache, reaching for that cup of coffee will not always suffice. Instead, drink a tall glass of water and then, if need be, indulge in that second latte (or third, or fourth! Yikes, make it a skinny latte!) The most dastardly effect of dehydration is that your skin loses elasticity. Don’t let your skin turn to leather—hydrate!
Now for what having a healthy amount of water in your system can do for you: A hydrated body more efficiently transports oxygen to your brain and to your muscles during a workout. Staying hydrated will help balance your mood due to healthy mind and body regulation. Are you sweating during a workout? Good! Evaporation aids cooling, sweating is evaporation, and hydration allows for this to happen. Your joints, spinal cord, eyes, and brain are all surrounded by fluid and staying hydrated is vital to their wellbeing. Finally, hydration is the very start of breaking down all those healthy foods that you are putting into your mouth. Without saliva (or the dry mouth feeling you get when you are dehydrated) your body now has to play catch up while extracting the vital nutrients from your meals.
How much water is enough? A fixed amount is not really feasible. At minimum, women should have eight glasses every day (the Institute of Medicine recommends a little more, but that’s easier to remember than 1.9 to 2.2 liters). If you exercise (hopefully, that is you!), then drinking more before, during, and after is absolutely necessary. The foods you eat impact your levels as well. High sodium foods (like Mexican, hibachi grills, marinades, or pizza) require more water to counterbalance the higher amounts of sodium in your body. Watermelon, tomatoes, and grapes are water-based foods and count toward your daily water intake and help promote hydration.
So start tomorrow off with that glass of water by your bed and keep a bottle filled and close by your side all day. Keep track of your intake by refilling your bottle as soon as you drink it completely. Making a glass of water easy to access will help make this simple and healthy goal easily achievable. Stay calm and hydrate on!