Wellness Encyclopedia: How to Support Hydration

Springing into a new routine isn’t quite as simple as grabbing your water bottle and booking it out the door. As much as we all need water to stay hydrated out in the sun and while we sweat (and well, to live), that water you’re sipping on may not be as hydrating as you might expect.

In just a couple of weeks we’ll finally welcome spring with open arms. Of course, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you may already be listening to birdsong and seeing buds on the trees (you lucky thing, you) – regardless of where you live, though, this is the time of year to celebrate, so no one’s gonna judge you for pulling a Sound of Music and twirling through an open field if that’s what moves you. One of the best ways to take advantage of the warmer weather is by getting out of the gym and bringing your workout routine outdoors. But springing into a new routine isn’t quite as simple as grabbing your water bottle and booking it out the door. As much as we all need water to stay hydrated out in the sun and while we sweat (and well, to live), that water you’re sipping on may not be as hydrating as you might expect. Crazy, right? To learn why that bottled water may be short-changing you — and how to actually stay hydrated — read on.

Why we need hydration.

We’ve all heard the percentages – the average adult human is made up of between 57-60% water. We begin to feel thirst after we’ve lost only about 2-3% of that hydration. While that number may sound small, what’s even more surprising is how quickly we can begin to experience the effects of dehydration. After only losing about 1% of our body’s water (that is, before we even begin to actually feel thirsty), our physical performance and mental clarity can be impaired. But we don’t just need water to think clearly and run in a straight line – water in the body serves a multitude of purposes, from building cells to regulating temperature. It’s easy to see why not getting enough H2O could cause some serious issues. Things like coffee and caffeinated beverages can further deplete the water in the body by acting as diuretics, and cold weather could even play a hand in dehydrating us – we’re less likely to notice dehydration in cold weather, and less likely to notice sweat, which usually would alert us when it’s time to drink some water.

So what’s the deal with water?

Ever feel thirsty even after you’ve sipped water all day long? The minimum amount of water we should be drinking is at least six 8 oz glasses of water per day, but believe it or not, depending on the type of water you’re sipping, those six (and ideally more) glasses could be falling short. Staying hydrated isn’t always as easy as drinking a glass of water – sometimes you need additional support. In a perfect world, we’d all be drinking fresh spring water from a dug well, the kind of water naturally filled with minerals and electrolytes. Unfortunately, due to soil depletion and modern filtering, our water all too often falls short. So if you sip and sip and still feel thirsty, you may not be getting enough electrolytes (especially after a sweat session).

Foods to support hydration.

We don’t just lose water when we sweat… we lose vital minerals, too. While drinking water is important, adding electrolytes when needed can make water that much more effective. A pinch of Himalayan salt may do the trick; or, on especially hot days when you’re exerting yourself and sweating, try adding electrolyte-rich coconut water to your bottle of water. Additionally, lemon and pineapple can assist in hydration while adding vitamin C and detoxifying enzymes. Just another reason to sip lemon water first thing in the morning! Other hydrating, whole foods are cucumber, celery, grapefruit, and watermelon.

 

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