If you know me from Adam, you know your girl lovesssss her water! Ever since I was wee little, I remember the inquiry as to how much water I had drank in a day always being the first question my mom would ask me, regardless of what it was that ailed me. Even when I was older and off at college, if I would call and explain I had developed a cold, a cough, had been feeling sluggish, or lazy, or even if I mentioned I was feeling really hungry (!), “how much water have you drank today?” followed by a suggestion of drinking more (usually regardless of my answer), was always her go-to response.
Naturally, this was one lesson that stuck with me. Being my curious self, I’ve logged a lot of hours of research regarding water consumption, and not surprisingly, mother knows best!
The truth is, whether you’re a serious athlete, exercise here and there, really are not all that active at all, in great health, or poor – it’s so so important to stay hydrated! Think about it? Our bodies are made up of about 55-60% of water. It serves as a vital nutrient to keep your body functioning properly, regulates our internal body temperature, and metabolizes the carbohydrates and proteins our bodies use as fuel. Just as well, water assists in flushing your body of wastes and toxins, acts as a form of shock absorption for your neural system, and helps to lubricate your joints.
You can learn more about all of these specific functions of water in your body by visiting the Water Science School.
I’ve been specifically interested in the role of water in my body recently for a number of different reasons. While the focus of my research recently has been primarily on the anatomy of the human body, I’ve been supplementing that information with proper treatment of the body during exercise.
Pre-Workout Hydration: Hydration is major key to developing a healthy work-out routine. As mentioned, water serves as a lubricant to your joints, i.e. drinking enough can help prevent soreness, and ensure you are developing your muscles in a healthy way!
To encourage a healthy digestive system, as well as to prepare myself for a long workout, I have been drinking at least 8oz of water every morning (sometimes a full 17oz bottle), AS SOON as I get out of bed. This fires up my body’s metabolism, immediately replaces any hydration lost over night, fuels my brain so that I actually do feel awake, and halts any potential immediate morning hunger.
During Workout Hydration: Now, just to be clear, everyone has different hydration needs! While drinking plenty of fluids is important to anyone, the amount of hydration needed to optimize your workout routine will likely vary from mine, even if we are similar in height, weight, and activity.
I started estimating the volume of hydration needed for myself a few months ago when I was training for a half-marathon. As an example, I feel as if I spend a bit more time in the gym than the average person (usually 1.5-2 hours). I try to drink 17oz (my full Sip Swell bottle) for every 20 minutes of exercise. This usually ends up being 3-4 bottles completely finished before I leave the gym.
So if you’re keeping track, I should have already drank 85oz of water by about 8am!!
But my day hasn’t even started…
Post Workout (Daily) Hydration: After the gym, I still have a full day ahead of me. And, being summer in New York, it’s probably a hot one. This adds in a couple additional hydrating factors.
I aim to drink about 0.8oz of water per pound minimum each day. That’s 95oz without exercise, i.e. ounces drank at the gym don’t count toward this total. So once I’ve finished a workout, I still know I need to drink at least 5-6 bottles of water throughout the rest of my day. However, this doesn’t factor in the heat of summer.
Summer can be conducive for bacterial infections, and New York is always conducive for germs! For this reason, I usually up this intake goal in the heat to at least 1 x my body weight, which adds an additional 23oz, or about 2 more bottles. No problem right?
Drinking water can be tough if you are drinking other fluids throughout the day. So after all of this, I want to leave you with some alternative options to work into your snacks and lunches! Don’t get me wrong – I still encourage you to drink as much water throughout your day as you can! But if you find you are struggling, try some of my favorite hydrating foods to quench your thirst, and replace the electrolytes your body needs to thrive!
Celery: 96% water, good source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc
Watermelon: 95% water, and rich in vitamin C
Bell Peppers: 92% water, also rich in vitamin C
Cucumbers: 95% water, plus provide calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium
Strawberries: I can’t eat these due to an allergy, but they are 92% water and rich in potassium!
Cantaloupe: 90% water, and also rich in potassium
As a final note, make sure you’re remaining aware of the volume of sugar you’re drinking/consuming! Sugary sports drinks, for example, can be counterproductive to proper/necessary hydration.
Finally, please note I am not a doctor. There is such thing as over-hydration, so if you’re unsure, you should consult with your physician to learn more specifically about your body’s necessary water intake.
Happy summer, and happy hydrating! 💦