Water is one of the most essential components of the human body. Water regulates the body’s temperature, cushions and protects vital organs, and aids the digestive system. Water not only comprises 75 percent of all muscle tissue and about 10 percent of fatty tissue, it also acts within each cell to transport nutrients and dispel waste.
Staying on top of our hydration during the summer heat is critical to our health, especially while exercising. During exercise, muscles generate more heat than when at rest, but the body needs to maintain it’s core temperature within a narrow range. In order to achieve a stable core body temperature the body produces sweat, which leads to subsequent fluid evaporation, cooling of the skin, the blood, and finally the inner body.
In one hour of exercise the body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on exercise intensity and the air temperature. If there is not enough water for the body to cool itself through perspiration, the body enters a state of dehydration.
If dehydration occurs, blood volume decreases and the various functions of the circulatory system are compromised. Oxygen and nutrition transport to muscle and other tissues is affected, as is the removal of waste products, such as lactic acid. Dehydration increases overall physiologic strain, revealed by increased body core temperature, increased heart rate and increased perception of fatigue. At this point, exercise performance suffers.
Fatigue / Lethargy
Dark yellow urine or decreased urine output
Sticky or dry mouth
Loss of skin elasticity
Calculate your sweat volume through weight loss:
Weight Prior to Exercise – Weight After Exercise = Amount of Fluid Lost
*Ideally you should account for fluid intake and output during the specific time frame as well.
Check the color and quantity of urine produced. Decreased urine output and dark yellow urine are key signs of dehydration.
Monitor for signs and symptoms of dehydration.
In addition to the common signs and symptoms of dehydration, monitor for other effects such as reduced skin elasticity, muscle cramps and trouble concentrating.
It is important to drink even before signs of thirst appear. Thirst is a signal that your body is already on the way to dehydration. It is important to drink more than thirst demands and to continue to drink throughout the day.
During exercise, water is the best fluid replenisher for most individuals, although electrolyte beverages help replace lost stores through high-intensity exercise exceeding 45 to 60 minutes. Individuals who sweat profusely during exercise and whose sweat contains high amounts of sodium (you many notice salt stains/rings on your clothing or a “gritty” coating on your skin) you may benefit from an electrolyte enhanced beverage.
Contrary to popular belief, scientific evidence suggests that moderate caffeine intake does not compromise exercise performance or hydration status.
Drink 17-20 ounces of water two to three hours before the start of exercise.
Drink 8 ounces of fluid 20 to 30 minutes prior to exercise or during warm-up.
Drink 7-10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
Drink an additional 8 ounces of fluid within 30 minutes after exercising.
Drink 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.
If you’re looking for strategies to increase your water consumption, try our new Profile drink enhancers in Raspberry Lemonade or Pomegranate Green Tea available at all locations 6/13. Both flavors contain added electrolytes and are fortified with vitamins and minerals. A refreshing and nutritious replenishment option for summer fun and activities!