Hydration: A Good Way Not to Die!

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Hydration: A Good Way Not to Die!

August 7, 2011

Dara Duff-Bergeron is a veteran personal trainer and respected fitness expert.  In this post she is sharing with us the importance of Hydration during these summer months.

Summertime and the living’s easy…

It’s everyone’s favourite time of year!  It’s the season for outdoor workouts, playdates at the park and long walks with our little ones.  Sunshine, rising temperatures and humidity… we look forward to it all year ‘round and when it arrives we love nothing better than to bitch about how sunny, hot and muggy it is!

So, whether you are a beach bum or spend most of your summer diving for shade while your little ones scamper around the playground, you need to hydrate.  I mean: You. Need. To. Hydrate.

It’s sooooooooo important.  75% of the human body is made up of water, and it affects all bodily functions and processes.  In fact, you’ll die of dehydration before you die of starvation.  Water is that important.

So how do you know if you’re getting enough?  Chances are, you’re not.  I hate to break it to you, but only about 25% of us routinely consume enough water.  So, if you’ve got any of the following symptoms, you might be dehydrated! Dehydration causes:

  • Thirst
  • Decreased urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle cramps
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea/malaise

Severe dehydration will cause confusion, heart palpitations, weakness and, finally, organ failure and death.

Yikes!

You don’t need to wait until organ failure to know whether you’re getting enough water.  Here’s a yucky but effective way to monitor your hydration: Look at your pee. Keep it in the toilet, please, but look at it!  If your pee is yellow or smelly, you’re probably dehydrated (although medicines, foods and certain conditions can affect the colour & odour of urine as well). When you’re properly hydrated, your pee will be straw coloured and virtually odourless.  Unless it smells like asparagus.  Then you are well hydrated and you probably ate asparagus for dinner.

It takes approximately 2-3 litres of water per day to replenish the body water you lose in routine functions such as breathing, sweating and urinating, among others.  Nursing mothers can add an extra litre to that daily quota in order to maintain an optimal milk supply.  In extreme heat or when exercising, you need even more.  For every 15 minutes of exercise, aim to consume about ½ cup (125 mL) water.  If you’re exercising in extreme heat or for a long period of time, you can weigh yourself before and after your workout and drink an extra 2 cups (500 mL) for every pound of water weight lost.

And do you need to worry about overhydrating?  Clients who have a difficult time remembering to drink their water have – believe it or not – offered the risk of death by overhydration as an excuse for not drinking more water when I ask them to…

Really?  Do I look that stupid?

While the media loves to hype up a strange death like one by “water intoxication,” you’d have to consume around 5-20 L of water in a short period of time to severely overhydrate and risk death.  Drinking up to 1-1.5 L of water per hour of heavy sweating (such as during exercise or in extreme heat) is safe.

So fill up your stainless bottle and get drinking.  And, while you’re at it, get your ass moving and earn that water!

You can find Dara at www.fitfamily.ca (personal training/blog) or www.bellybootcamp.ca (prenatal & postnatal fitness for modern mommies).  Dara is a mommy of two & lives in Toronto with her own little fit family.

 

 

 

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