Food Facts: Water and Staying Hydrated

Would you be able to say at this moment that you are drinking the adequate amount of water your body needs in a day? The majority of people most likely would not be able to say yes to this question.  The average suggestion is consuming 8-10 ounce glasses per day. We all know we need water to survive; it is without a doubt one of the most important factors to consider while exercising as well.

In order to give the body the fluids it needs to work properly, it is essential to drink an adequate amount of water before, during, and after workouts. One of the most common ways to monitor hydration levels is by observing your urine color. The very first urination in the morning is the best overall indicator of hydration status. A straw or lemonade color signals appropriate hydration, while a dark hue resembling apple juice indicates dehydration.

It is very important for an individual working out to remember that becoming dehydrated can happen in almost any kind of physical activity situation. This can include in water, during winter conditions, when visible perspiration is not present, etc. Conditions that increase the loss of fluid through sweat include higher temperatures, a  higher workout intensity, being a larger individual or being male, longer workouts, and being more fit.

Here are some early signs of dehydration to look out for:

  • Thirst
  • Flushed skin
  • Premature fatigue
  • Higher body temperature
  • Faster breathing/pulse rate
  • Higher perception of effort
  • Lower exercise capacity

Later signs of dehydration after the initial ones include:

  • Dizziness
  • Increased weakness, labored breathing with exercise

Not to mention, it is definitely a popular thing seen in movies and sports ads to pour water over one’s head during or after a workout. It is important to remember the only way to rehydrate is to drink water to cool your body from the inside out. For athletes doing moderate to high intensity exercises for more than an hour, it is more appropriate to drink sports drinks than water but it is still necessary to rehydrate at the end of the session.

Being college students, we often rely on caffeinated beverages such as coffee to keep us going through those long nights studying or early morning classes. A common myth about drinks with caffeine in them is that they cause dehydration. This is an exaggerated myth. Coffee is known to be a diuretic, meaning it makes you have to urinate frequently. This trait only occurs when consumed in excess, which is about 500-600 mg of caffeine in a day. This equates to about 4-7 cups of coffee. As long as you’re not drinking that much coffee in a single day, it will not have a dehydrating effect on you.

Try and stay focused on constantly drinking water throughout the day in order for your body to function at its best. Always carrying a water bottle with you is a helpful way to remind yourself. Also foods such as lettuce, watermelon, grapefruit, broccoli, and low-fat milk and yogurt have 85% or higher water content in them, so all are excellent sources of getting the necessary water amount in a day.

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References:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Discovery Health

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