By Jeni Tackett, RD, Rock Valley Physical Therapy
I learned the importance of hydration first hand. I hiked down the Grand Canyon with my family last summer and the temperature at Phantom Ranch was 110 degrees in the shade. The thermometer stopped at 140 degrees in the sun!
In extreme heat situations such as this, staying ahead of dehydration is especially important.
Benefits of hydration:
- Helps you regulate your body temperature
- Enhances recovery after exercise
- Prevents muscle cramps
- Improves mental function (so that you make good decisions)
Signs of dehydration:
- Lack of concentration
- Early fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Elevated heart rate (above normal exercise heart rate level)
Tips to stay hydrated:
- Drink before, during, and after exercise. Start a workout or race well hydrated and have water handy during exercise. Drink approximately 16 ounces of water 2 hours before exercising and 8 ounces of water 15 minutes before exercising.
- Drink regardless of whether you feel thirsty or not. Practice exercising and drinking water. Dehydration can result in water sloshing in the stomach. This can affect performance (and is downright annoying).
- After you work out or exercise, make sure to rehydrate. If your weight is down 1 pound, you need to drink approximately 2-3 cups (16-24 ounces) of water to replace the pound lost from sweating.
- Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables helps keep you hydrated. Fruits and veggies have a high water content. Make sure you have fruits or veggies at all of your meals and snacks.
- Add in beverages like smoothies at breakfast, ice tea, herbal tea, or chocolate milk. They are all ways to increase fluids in the diet.
You can tell if you are dehydrated if your urine is concentrated.
Strive to have clear or light straw-colored urine.
Staying hydrated can improve your athletic performance, keep you safe, and make you feel great!
Download these Hydration Tips from the US Olympic Committee by clicking on the image below:
|Meet Jeni Tackett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger. Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Rock Valley Health. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition. You can read Jeni’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.|