Back to Basics: Water

Being active and staying hydrated go hand in hand.

If you do not drink enough water, your performance and recovery will decrease. Most people think that they are drinking enough water, but they are not even close to meeting their basic requirements.

Most of our bodies, around 60%, are made up of water. We expel water through urine, sweat, and breathing. Being properly hydrated has been shown to help medical issues, such as cancer, acne, constipation, and kidney stones. Also, studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces of water, in one sitting, can give a temporary boost to your metabolism, and that drinking 68 ounces, in a day, can slightly increase the amount of calories you burn.

It is always important to drink when you are thirsty. The body is telling you that it needs to increase its hydration levels. You don’t only have to drink water in order to increase hydration. Many foods, such as nuts, meats, fruits, and vegetables, contain water. Also, caffeinated beverages, like tea and coffee, count towards water intake, which many people hear the opposite.

Some basic rules, recommended by the American Council of Exercise, to follow for optimal hydration during exercise are:

  • 17-20 ounces around 2-3 hours before a workout.

  • 8 ounces 20-30 minutes before your warmup.

  • 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes during your workout.

  • 8 ounces within 30 minutes post-workout.

In fact, there’s a common saying in the medical world – “your dumb kidneys are far smarter than any doctor.”

Since the kidneys filter our blood and remove excess water from that in order to produce urine, use your urine output as a guide to your hydration status. If you’re urinating 6-8 times daily, and that urine is clear and colorless, you are likely well hydrated. If not, you can always add more fluids, fruits and other water-heavy foods!

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