Warmer weather is approaching, and it is important that we keep hydrated. Water is the best way to do that. Did you know that drinking water at specific times during your day can contribute to your health in ways other than hydration? For example, drinking two glasses after waking up can activate your internal organs, one glass thirty minutes before a meal can aide in digestion, and one glass before going to bed can help minimize the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Experts say that you need the equivalency of 8-10 glasses of water per day. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you must drink that much water, because there is water in most beverages and foods. Some great examples of foods with 85% or higher water content include watermelon, grapefruit, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, celery, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and low-fat milk and yogurt.
Some early signs of dehydration include thirst, faster breathing rate and pulse rate, increased body temperature, and decreased exercise capacity including premature fatigue. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately drink water or a sports drink to replenish fluid loss, before worse symptoms develop, such as increasing weakness, labored breathing, and dizziness.
While not commonly heard of, it is possible to overhydrate, which can lead to hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels), and is most often associated with athletes. The body can only absorb and excrete approximately 20 fluid ounces per hour, so it is recommended that one should consume about 4 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes while exercising. Greater quantities can potentially lead to overhydration. Replenishing with electrolytes is recommended after an hour or more of intense exercise. As long as you know your limits and are careful during your activities, you will be just fine!