Approximately 60% of the human body is made up of water. This means that hydration is integral to keeping you alive. How much water you require varies from person to person, the standard amount is 8 cups a day. If you drink coffee and/or do any physical activity, you should drink more on top of the standard 8 cups. This is because both can be dehydrating – coffee is a diuretic, making you go to the bathroom frequently and release water consumed, and fluids are lost in activity through sweat. The harder you work, the more you sweat and therefore need to continually replenish your body with fluids.
There are some dangers to not hydrating and therefore putting your body in a dehydrated state. These dangers can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness and confusion, not to mention a decrease in your ability to exercise. A preventative measure to dehydration is to make sure you drink water before, during and after your workouts. Try to drink 350ml of water an hour before your workout, followed by 150-350ml every 15-20 minutes during your workout. Following your activity, you should consume another 350ml.
While water is good to have before your workout to maintain hydration, you can incorporate electrolyte drinks during and after your activities which provide carbohydrates to fuel your body and regulate body fluids. There are 4 electrolytes that are important in hydration: sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium. If you’ve ever done a long distance run and noticed dry white flakes on your face, that is the sodium being released from your body and is a sign you need to replenish your electrolytes. Community Natural Foods carries Vega Sport which has a few products that include electrolytes, including the Electrolyte Hydrator, Endurance Gel and the Recovery Accelerator for your post-workout drink to replenish your electrolytes. There are also ways to naturally add electrolytes to your drinks. One being to drink coconut water as it contains all the electrolyte nutrients. You can also add sea salt to your water to provide sodium, or you can try our Watermelon Electrolyte recipe.
- Fill a 2L jug with water and make marks on it for every few hours to ensure you have your goals set to finish that portion of the water by a certain time.
- First thing in the morning, drink two cups of water – you only have 6 more to go throughout the day!
- Add fruit to your water to spruce it up. Try lemon, watermelon (a natural electrolyte), berries, cucumber or mint.
- Trick your mind into thinking you’re drinking something else and drink your water out of a wine glass or pint glass. This is also an easy way to measure how much water you're taking in. A 9oz wine glass equals 1.125 cups of water so you’ll need to consume at least 7 cups. A 16oz pint glass has 2 cups in it so you would need to fill it up 4 times.
- Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to drink water. There are also tons of apps that help you track how much water you’ve had.
While the majority of your hydration comes from fluids, don’t forget that fruits and vegetables are also high in water content. In addition to drinking water, also ensure that your diet is well balanced with fruits and vegetables like strawberries, celery, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, oranges, cucumbers, spinach and green peppers.