Thursday, October 18, 2012

Health Care and Hydration

If you are an athlete, participate in any type of personal exercise program, or work in any kind of job that requires a lot of manual labor such as construction or physical exertion of any type, you need to stay hydrated--especially if you work outside. Making sure that you replenish liquids that you lose from sweating is key to maintaining a healthy body and mind. Drinking water or drinks that have various mineral supplements and electrolytes to replace what your body loses during physical activities are key to helping you survive.

According to Active.com, life is full of daily challenges. Staying hydrated shouldn't be one of them. If you struggle to make sense of the seemingly ever-changing advice on what, when and how much to drink, especially while on the run, join the club. But it's not impossible to sort the facts from fiction. Base your hydration habits on research-based guidelines--not these four common hydration myths as found on their website—and you'll stay fueled and stay strong. You can find that great information here: http://www.active.com/women/Articles/4-Common-Hydration-Myths.htm .

No matter what type of exercise or fitness program you are following, there is one important element you cannot forget: water! Your body lose a great deal of water due to perspiration. Staying hydrated during a workout will help you stay focused and more energized. Dehydration could result in serious consequences. Dizziness and nausea can both be symptoms of dehydration, according to www.MyDailyMoment.com .

Sports drinks are another good option for rehydrating. However, if you're watching your sodium intake, check the label first. Should you opt for water or a sports drink during your workout? It depends on your needs. For most people who work out for fitness regularly indoors, water is just fine for hydration. For athletes who work out at a high intensity for more than 60 minutes at a time, like marathoners and triathlon competitors, an electrolyte-replacing sports drink might be best. More details can be found at this website: http://www.mydailymoment.com/diet_and_fitness/all_diet_tips/hydration_counts_we_ve_got_the_proof.php .

The answer to successful and safe hydration is balance, according to Active.com by Jenny Hadfield, co-author of "Marathoning for Mortals" (Rodale, 2003.) She can also be found at www.jennyhadfield.com . Keep in mind, dehydration is still one of the biggest risks in endurance exercise, but the key to performing at your best is drinking smart, not gulping liquids. The best way to avoid drinking too much or too little is to take in about the same amount of fluid as you sweat out. Here's how to figure out your sweat rate:

1. Weigh yourself without shoes or clothes, and record it in your log, noting temperature and humidity.
2. Work out for one hour.
3. Dry off and weigh yourself, noting the weight lost. Also note any fluids you may have taken while running.
4. Use the following formula to determine your hydration needs: One pound lost = 16 oz. of fluid.

So, if you lost two pounds in that hour, you should replenish 32 ounces of fluid (about 8 ounces every 15 minutes) in the same temperature and humidity level, according to Jenny Hadfield. Do this test a few times in different conditions to get a sense of how your hydration needs change in varying temperatures and humidity levels, and intensity levels. Here are some good tips for smart hydration:

• Set your watch alarm to remind you when to drink.
• Aim to replenish 80 to 100 percent of fluids lost.
• Avoid gaining weight (a sign of over hydrating).
• Consume a sports drink with electrolytes (sodium, potassium, etc.) during your training sessions and in races longer than 60 minutes. Plain water is fine for workouts shorter than 60 minutes, but longer sessions require a sports drink to replenish electrolytes and energy.
• Flavor your meals with salt right before long workouts and races to boost electrolyte levels.
• Avoid drinking more than usual during race week. This will dilute your blood sodium levels, putting you at higher risk of developing hyponatremia. Your fluid needs drop during this taper week. So, drink normal amounts of fluid and use the urine test to determine if you've had enough: If it runs pale yellow, you're well hydrated and ready to race.

There are many more articles related to this subject that can be found at this website: http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/Hydration_101.htm .

Don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to act. It can be hard to recognize when you’re dehydrated, especially as you age. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Symptoms of dehydration include:

• Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
• Dry mouth
• Sleepiness or fatigue
• Extreme thirst
• Headache
• Confusion
• Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
• No tears when crying

According to www.FamilyDoctor.org, there are different recommendations for water intake each day. Most people have been told they should be drinking 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is a reasonable goal. However, different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses each day. Some people are at higher risk of dehydration, including those who get a lot of exercise, have certain medical conditions, are sick, or are not able to get enough fluids during the course of the day. Older adults are also at higher risk. As you age, your brain may be unable to sense dehydration and send the signals for thirst.If you are concerned that you may not be drinking enough water, check your urine. If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated. Much more information can also be found at this site: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/food-nutrition/nutrients/hydration-why-its-so-important.html .

Staying hydrated for anyone regardless of age, sex, or job description and activity level is always a smart idea. If you are more physically active, make sure you maintain a level of hydration that compensates for your activities. Check with your doctor if you suspect you may be dehydrated. Losing sweat can be a good thing, but not if you lose too much.

Until next time.

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