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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

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

1/11/2013- Winiter Hydration-what came first: dehydration or the flu?

How has your New Years been so far? Sticking to your goals/resolutions?
Update on mine: I "resolved" to DO SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY. This breaks down to one new experience per day, whether it be a new personal record in the gym, making a recipe I've never tried, or walking backwards around the grocery store. ANYTHING makes the cut. So far I have: done a 1 armed handstand, bought a $20 lotto ticket (not a winner), tried okra, and changed my own windshield wiper blades.
My Fiance's resolution is what inspired me for this entry topic. He is attempting to drink more water regularly. Like most Americans, he struggles to consume the recommended daily intake, and he not until he's about to die from thirst does he realize he needs to drink.

Hydration is one of THE most important factors in not only nutrition, but overall health, especially during this time of year: cold and flu season. Eighty percent of our bodies are made up of water, so it is vital to pretty much every system we have-digestive, circulatory, you name it. When your immune system is working hard to fight off a bacterial or viral infection, metabolism increases and your body goes into hyperdrive. You're like a car with the pedal to the metal, engine racing, and water is your Premium Unleaded. You need more of it to keep going.

Meanwhile, you're losing the very resource your body so desperately requires. If you have a fever, your body sweats to cool itself down, depleting your fluid supply. If you're coughing and sneezing, you're wasting water by literally spewing it out of your mouth and nose. Diarrhea and vomiting expel liquid in their own special ways.

And on top of all that, appetite often decreases when you're feeling under the weather, so you're taking in less water than normal from food.

It all adds up to an empty tank, whether you realize it or not. When you're sick, don't wait until you feel thirsty. You could be dehydrated and not even know it.

You can get along without food for a couple of days if you're not feeling well, but you must drink, even if you don't want to! It doesn't have to be plain water. Tea and broth are great. Juice with vitamin C will help your immune system, but you should dilute it to cut down on the high sugar content, which can actually hinder immunity. Gatorade isn't the best choice-it's also super sugary-but Pedialyte is one way to get the fluids and electrolytes your body craves. If you're really nauseous and drinking a lot is difficult, take a teaspoon of liquid every minute or so. You can absorb water through the tissues of your mouth, even if it doesn't get all the way down to your stomach.

*THE DAILY RECOMMENDATION: half of your weight in ounces at MINIMUM. So, a 200 lb man would need 100 oz of water daily; not including replacing what he sweats. So, whether you are healthy, feeling under the weather, or have a full on case of the flu, be sure to drink your fluids!

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