As the weather heats up this summer, you might be wondering what drink will keep you hydrated. The answer is obvious, it’s water. Water allows you to stay hydrated and doesn’t contain unnecessary calories6 or additives. It doesn’t have to be scorching hot to know that water is your best choice year-round. It plays a key role in many of our body’s functions including bringing nutrients to cells and preventing muscle cramps, maintaining body temp, and protecting joints and organs. You can never go wrong with choosing water as your go to beverage.
During physical activity, it’s important to drink water before, during, and after exercise to replenish lost fluids. Sip water throughout your workout to maintain hydration. In hot weather or intense exercise, you may need to increase your fluid intake.
The amount of water you should drink varies depending on your activity level. It’s recommended that men drink about 4 liters of water or a gallon a day and women about 3 liters. All this depends on the activity level, age, weight, etc. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables that are full of water helps with this daily water intake as well. Some examples would be cucumber, oranges, watermelon! As always, any fruit is good, but these are higher in water content just to name a few.
Water acts as a channel to transport important nutrients, such as glucose and amino acids, to your working muscles. Hydration supports the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. Drinking fluids that contain electrolytes can help replenish these essential minerals and reduce the likelihood of muscle cramps. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium help maintain proper muscle function. Adequate hydration supports optimal nutrient delivery, enabling the body to perform vital functions, repair tissues, and sustain overall health and well-being. It also aids in the removal of waste products like lactic acid in our muscles. In layman’s terms- “water helps the flow and gets things where they need to go.
Sports drinks are for events that require intense exercise to replace lost nutrients that we’ve exerted during workout. Typically, these types of workouts are longer than an hour, high intensity workouts, or generally when you’ve lost a lot of sweat. For non-athletes it’s a different story as these could be another “another sugary drink.” For someone who isn’t doing as intensely as a workout, they should drink water. Overall, water is your best bet to stay hydrated. It’s caffeine-free, calorie-free, and readily available for most people.
Most people are familiar with what dehydration is and how it happens. But is it possible to over hydrate? Overhydrating happens when someone drinks large amounts of water, which can alter the levels of electrolytes in the body. Not drinking enough fluid (dehydration) can lead to symptoms like thirst, flushing, fatigue, and fast breathing. In contrast, drinking too much fluid (overhydration) can cause nausea, headaches, cramps, weakness, and confusion.
You have many drink choices out there. At the end of the day, water is the first-choice beverage for best hydration. Drinking the right amount of water for your personal health and activity level is important. Try healthy add-ins like fresh mint, sliced cucumber, or lemon wedges to add flavor and variety to your water. Remember, there’s nothing that can replace high quality H2O.
– Michael Tapia