At the risk of sounding like a broken record to those who've ever read a word about hydration: once you are thirsty you are already experiencing a level of dehydration. And if you're someone who "needs" their lip balm or hand cream regularly chances are you need a glass of water too. I also loathe to break it to you: not juice, iced tea, or (goodness forbid!) soda or coffee. Yes, some of these things will offer a level of hydration your body isn't really saying "please hydrate me, and feel free to add a solid shot of sugar and/or caffeine and/or colour and flavour with that", it's just telling you it wants water. We survived a very long time without those others and our bodies never need them, despite the fact that our love and addiction to sugar and caffeine might tell us we do.
So when and how much water does your body crave on a daily basis? Well, starting your morning with a glass of water and then another as soon as you can handle it is a very good time to rehydrate after a long night of not drinking anything (or maybe the few sips you grabbed off of the bedside at 3:00, but that's because you were so dehydrated your body woke you to tell you to drink, in this case you definitely need it!). Also important timing is during exercise, aim for a glass every 15 minutes or so. This is of course somewhat dependent on your size, gender, level of exertion, and whether you sweat heavily or lightly relatively speaking. Women tend to sweat less than men, and if you notice during a workout that you are drenched relative to your workout compadres you'll want to drink more than the suggested guidelines, use your best judgment here. It's also important to hydrate pre and post exercise. Don't hit the gym or the road with what feels like a turbulent body of water in your tummy as you move, lest you feel sick, but a few glasses leading up to and another one or two after exercise are sure to keep you hydrated. If you will be exercising more than an hour at a medium to high intensity consider electrolyte replacement or a pinch of salt and an orange juiced into your drink (this sounds gross, but you won't taste the salt). As for how much outside of your exercise routine: your weight in kg as the number of ounces to drink daily is ideal, if you only know your weight in pounds divide by 2 for a good approximation (i.e. 150 lbs divided by 2 is 75, so 75 oz. daily). To clarify this is in addition to your workout water, not including.
For many this will seem like a lot, and if you find yourself hitting the bathroom what seems like a comical/irritating/"again?!" number of times work your way up to your ideal. Our bodies are the most amazing adaptation machines, your body will love you for it, and the rest of your mechanisms (particularly mind and bladder) will adapt. Happy hydrating!
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© Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.