5 Tips for Making Good Hydration Habits Even Better
Have you ever noticed your physical and mental performance deteriorating with each drop of sweat leaving your body? Ever wondered what is the impact of dehydration on your body? The impact of hydration can't be emphasized more than what you would have already heard from your trainer or your doctor. Hydration is important for cooling the body, rejuvenating it, recovering from exhaustion, retaining sodium, increasing blood flow, among several other benefits.
#1 Know how much hydration your body needs
To know how much water your body needs, you need to consider the following factors. The climate, the medical condition, the clothing, the food intake, the kind of exercise and sometimes the stage of life too. If you sweat a lot, you will, of course, need more water than others.
Hotter climate or just a hot room requires water intake regularly. Medical conditions like certain heart diseases may require you to regulate your hydration. Certain sports demand thick or padded clothes. They can dehydrate a person soon. Similarly, eating a lot of meat in your diet demands water accordingly. If your workout is too intense, that demands additional hydration than normal too.
#2 Go beyond water
There are some great alternatives to water for hydration. Some of them include Chia seeds, supplemented water, coconut water and so on.
With Chia seeds, the biggest benefit is that they are full of Omega 3s. In addition, they absorb 9 times their weight in water and help in long-duration hydration. Have it on an empty stomach in the morning for the best results. The Chia drink is very satiating for the appetite as well.
In the case of supplemented water, you can use electrolytes or vitamins added to water. They support additional antioxidation and of course energy boost. Coconut water is a great natural electrolyte to try for hydration too. Especially, if you belong to coastal regions.
#3 Hydrate as per your activity
The 8 glasses a day rule is too generic and may not work for all. It is a good guideline but it definitely needs to be customized based on individual activity. One metric to estimate the water needs is also your weight. Drink 30 to 40 milliliters of water for every kilo of your weight. So, if you are of 50kgs you will need around 1.6 to 2.2 liters of water.
To drink water according to your activity, one way is to hydrate pre-workout (half an hour before) with half a liter water and take sips of water during a workout. Post-workout, feel free to go from half a liter to a liter fo water intake.
#4 Refrain from overhydration
Some people may have a tendency to not excrete water or the body might retain more water in their bodies in general. This leads to a low concentration of sodium in the body fluids. This is called hyponatremia. The symptoms of overhydration include - nausea, gastrointestinal distress, headaches, swelling in hands and feet and restlessness.
Athletes are more at the risk of overhydration than normal people. Because often they have to play with their weight by manipulating hydration. For example, they may want to lose fluid weight from their body during the weigh-in for an event like bodybuilding or weightlifting and then gain some fluid weight back by the time the main event comes. This is very risky and should always be done under expert guidance.
#5 Be prepared, be prehydrated
Many endurance sport athletes, want to start out the event with some pre-hydration. Military operations start out that way as well. The prehydration technique is called hyperhydration. It is different from euhydrated(hydrated enough) or overhydration(too hydrated). To do it efficiently, its good to spread out the fluid intake over two hours. Adding salt helps in decreasing urine production and hence retaining fluid longer in the body.
But a study has shown that prehydration is advisable for endurance athletes (who might try using glycerol) and is not so useful for normal people who do one or two hours of workouts.
Hope this article was useful. Leave your comments below and share your experiments with hydration for daily routine or fitness training.