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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

Timely discussion on topics of health and wellness to encourage action and improvement in personal wellness.

8/13/2012-H2O: the underrated player


The heat wave we have suffered for most of July appears to have finally broken! Hooray! No longer must we unnecessarily sweat from walking to and from our vehicles or from merely checking our mailboxes. Though, perspiration is often the only thing that compels people to consume water...which is a problem. It's unreal how many individuals are dehydrated and don't even know it!
I make it a habit to carry a reusable water bottle with me at all times. Did you know that the feeling of hunger is often just due to a need for water, and you are really just thirsty? Often times our bodies need hydration long before we get the sensation of thirst. Our bodies need water even if not sweating or exerting ourselves. The hot days of summer increase our water needs as well, especially when its as hot as the recent weather we have experienced. This entry is dedicated to emphasizing the crucial role water plays in our health. H2O is your friend-learn to love it, especially in summer!

Did you know the average person drinks about 16,000 gallons of water during a lifetime? Yet, statistics suggest 75% of American's are chronically dehydrated. Lack of proper hydration is an easily avoided complication that can have very serious consequences, especially during the hot months of summer.

We humans are made up mostly of water. Healthy hydration varies by gender, for men ranges from 60 to 70 percent of body weight, while only 50 to 60 percent for women.

Water in the body serves an important role. Water is:

  • More than 90 percent of blood
  • Approximately 75 percent of the brain
  • Up to 75 percent of muscles
  • From 15 to over 20 percent of bones

The average adult loses 10 cups of fluid a day through sweating, exhaling, urinating and bowel movements. In the summer, these loses are even more, due to games, exercise and increased outdoor activities. Consider the following tips to promote good health and hydration:

  • Drink fluid the recommended 30 – 60 minutes before you exercise or participate in an activity. Sip fluid when possible every 10 – 20 minutes. Drink to satisfy thirst afterwards.
  • Consider a sports drink to hydrate for exercise or athletic activities. The electrolytes in these drinks can help stimulate thirst, help the body hold onto fluid, reduce cramping, and even improve performance.
  • Drink plenty of water. Try to avoid carbonated drinks or drinks with caffeine or high in sugar or fructose corn syrup.
  • Start re-hydrating within 20 minutes after an activity or exercise.

Research shows that the first 20 minutes are the most efficient time to start refueling. Try to drink about 20 ounces. Once you start drinking, try to finish the 20 ounces over the next several minutes.

The loss of water in your body can result in dehydration. Signs of dehydration include:

  • Decreased performance
  • Fatigue, groggy or sleepiness
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Dry mouth

 



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