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It’s HOT out there! This heat wave shows no end in sight. Every day you see stories on the news about how this heat wave is affecting crops, prices at the store, house foundations and all aspects of our daily lives. So I want to make sure I talk to you about above all, the most important heat-related thing: hydration.
I have worked with a handful of clients this week that have been complaining about feeling extra fatigue. I asked few questions and found many of their feelings of exhaustion, headaches and "blah" feelings were all related to the heat and improper hydration. Did you know that improper hydration can cause major fatigue? In this 100+ degree weather I know many of you are working up a sweat while running errands and even walking to your car from the grocery store. Regardless of your activity level, hydration is important and thirst isn't always the best clue that it's time to take a drink. If you are active and working out (which I hope you all are), you need to follow my top hydration tips to keep your body performing well and make sure you’re not feeling undue fatigue.
1. HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD YOU DRINK? You’ve heard the 8 glass per day rule and maybe even my favorite rule of thumb, recommended by many professionals, is to drink half your body weight or more in ounces. So if you weigh 150lbs then you’ll want to get in 75 ounces of water. Up this if you are active or in the heat. Too complicated? Don’t get obsessed with the numbers. Your needs fluctuate from day to day depending on how active you are, what types of foods you’re eating and how often and what the weather is like. So try this method as well…take a quick glance down the next time you’re in the ladies’ room. If you’re hydrating right, your urine should be a lemonade color. If it looks more like apple juice and is a bit pungent, keep sipping.
2. DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU’RE THRISTY! The thirst mechanism usually kicks in when you’re about 1 to 2 percent dehydrated. Actual dehydration happens when you’ve lost at least 2 percent of your body weight, but you will feel the effects like headaches, nausea and dizziness sooner. Keep a water bottle on hand at all times to make sure you keep drinking.
3. SPORTS DRINKS, WATER AND EXERCISE. Heading out for a 30-minute power walk? You probably don’t need to guzzle down a Gatorade. Sports drinks are great if you are exercising intensely for an hour or more, especially if in the heat. Otherwise you probably already have all the carbs and electrolytes you need. Consider this: A brisk 30-minute walk burns about 170 calories; 2 cups of a sports drink has 100 calories. This means that about 60 percent of your workout expenditure just went down your throat. So how much water before, after and during a workout? The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you: