If you are someone that enjoys exercising you must stay Hydrated. Drink fluids (water) all day long. Try drinking 8-10 ounces of fluids every 2-3 ½ hours daily. Water helps flush the fat and toxins out of your body, while keeping the skin (largest organ in the body) looking great. Despite the popular trendiness of drinking electrolyte sports drinks, you probably don’t need them. As the name implies electrolytes are substances in the body that act like electrically conductive mediums for muscle contraction and nerve conduction.
The problem is sodium (an electrolyte) concentration in sweat ranges from 0.46 to 2.3 g/L. The average American takes in about 4 to 6 g daily. Well enough to replace what would have been depleted during exercise. Potassium, magnesium and calcium (the other important electrolytes) do get lost in sweat, but at such a slow rate, it has no effect on the average person who trains for only 30-60 min daily. Electrolyte imbalances due occur if:
· Intense continuous exercise is employed for over 5 hrs.
· Exercise has begun in a dehydrated state
· Vomiting and diarrhea has transpired.
Here are some simple tips: drink at least 1pt of fluids, 2 hrs. before any activity that causes sweat to occur. During the activity try taking big gulps of very cold fluids. Studies show that gulping colder fluids actually increases absorption. A very simple way to determine whether or not you have enough fluids in your system is to check your urine. Don’t worry! I’m not going to suggest drinking your own urine like some people do. I can’t even imagine! A well hydrated person will have a clear, light yellow color in their urine. A dehydrated person will have a very dark, brown color in their urine. The dark color means your kidneys are working over time to flush out wastes from your system.
You might ask what all the fuss is about. A dehydrated person might experience the following:
Reduced blood and plasma levels= the heart works harder to supply muscles with nutrients (read The Greenies article to find out why plasma levels are so important)
Increase blood lactate levels(high lactate levels causes muscle’s to fatigue and subsequently forces people to stop exercising)
Reduced muscle blood flow= effects high power muscle movement in sports
Poor muscle contractions during physical activities
Water as a cell Volumizer…
Studies show the contractile proteins actin and myosin are only able to fully contract when muscle cells are well hydrated and actually display weaker contractions by not being optimally aligned when dehydrated. Water acts as the perfect cell volumizer.
Antioxidants Supplements may be harmful….
Antioxidants Sports drinks?
Exercise causes an increase in oxidative stress along with free radicals (molecules with an unpaired electron that can damage DNA and normal cell production). There is also a defense mechanism in the body that increases antioxidants naturally. If antioxidants are supplemented in the form of sports drinks after a hard workout, the body has no need to manufacture it’s own. Leading to a decrease in normal antioxidant levels in the body. NO YOU DON’T NEED IT, SAVE YOUR MONEY!
Again, water is the best fluid out there and it’s free!!! I choose the brand name that has lasted for years in my house, good old fashioned tap water. Tap water goes through more stringent testing than the fancy bottled water people pay $2.00 a pop for. Here’s to your health!
“Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them.”
– Constance Newman
First published in 2008