How hydrated do I need to be?
Ever got into a workout, and halfway through felt that dry mouth feeling? What about when you have to chase the kids around all morning and forget to take onboard any fluids? Being a Dark Horse doesn’t just mean crushing workouts, it also means doing the little things on a regular basis that empowers us and those around us.
So, rather than the question ‘how hydrated do I need to be?’ a more accurate way of looking at this might be, ‘how do I ensure I have an adequate supply of fluid to maintain hydration and promote optimal health/performance’. #BeADarkHorse.
Firstly let’s look at the idea of dehydration and what that looks/feels like.
Feelings of thirst generally begin at less than 1% dehydration, by 3% the mouth becomes dry and by only 4% dehydration a 20-30% reduction in work capacity is experienced. This is huge if like a lot of us, you try and beat the midday sun to get your workouts in. Or if you have a full time job that required you to be on it from early in the morning and have to throw a session in late in the evenings.
Key point here is, knowing the importance of hydration and successfully achieving an optimal level of cellular hydration are two entirely different things.
So here are the Dark Horse top 5 ways for staying hydrated:
Volume of fluid
The Foods Standards Agency advises an average intake of between 6-8 glasses (1.2 litres) of fluids per day. However, the World Health Organization sets fluid intake at double the level for adults to a range between 2.2 to 2.5 litres per day.
Sugar content has a significant impact on the hydrating capacity of a fluid. In general terms if the fluid has a higher sugar solution than the bloodstream it has the potential to draw fluids out of the cells and dehydrate them. If the sugar solution is kept lower than the concentration of blood it has the potential to help move fluids into the cells and hydrate them.
Electrolytes are most commonly derived from the mineral content of a drink. Minerals such as sodium chloride or magnesium chloride dissolve into solution and can have a significant impact on the movement of fluid in and out of the cells of the body.
Alcohol and caffeine
Both alcoholic and caffeinated beverages have gained a reputation as drinks that dehydrate the body. Up to date research suggests that tea and coffee without added sugar does not increase the level of excretion any higher than the same volume of water would induce.
Contribution of food
The consumption of certain foods will also contribute to the total fluid intake of the body. Fruits and vegetables do contain varying amounts of fluid and often a good balance of minerals. These both aid and contribute to overall hydration.
Hydration is essential to performance. When you do not consume enough liquid or fresh fruits and vegetables to stay properly hydrated, you risk lightheadedness, fatigue of your muscles, reduction in your coordination and muscle cramps. While rowing the number one issue is ensuring you have enough fluids onboard before you start training to avoid dehydration and compromise the body’s ability to cool itself through sweating. Remember this isn’t just a thing for when working out. Throughout the day your body will lose water through respiration, sweating and daily bodily functions. Always ensure you keep those fluid levels topped up and stay hydrated no matter what your day hold.
Follow the guidance outlined and ensure you are hydrated enough to workout and maintain balance in your daily routine. Remember being a Dark Horse means doing what you need to do on a daily basis and leading the way to those who look up to us.
Any tips or tricks you use to stay hydrated? Let us know on social media. @Darkhorserowing.
Yours in training, education and staying hydrated.