161 hours part 3: Hydration

LIFE OUTSIDE THE GYM: PART 3

by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

During your approximate 7 hours a week in the gym, it’s rather easy to remember to drink water and hydrate because you tend to feel more thirsty with all of the sweat and water your body is losing during exercise. However, during the roughly 161 hours you spend outside of the gym, hydration is something that is often ignored. Do you ever think about how much water you drink throughout your day? Let’s talk about why you should.


First and foremost, I think it’s worth mentioning that every single cell, tissue, and organ throughout your body is dependent upon having water to work properly. Similar to eating, different people have different hydration needs. The easiest way to tell if you are adequately hydrated is by monitoring your urine. If it is lighter, or even colorless, you are hydrating well enough. On the other hand, if it is a darker color, chances are you need more fluids.


What is the best way to hydrate? Well, the simple answer here is to drink water. Other food and liquid sources can help hydrate you as well, but water is only that…water. There are no other calories, sugar content, caffeine, sodium, or any other nutrients. It gives you the most bang for your buck, and won’t include the extra calories and nutrients that fruits, vegetables, soda, sports drinks, or coffee might have.


Staying hydrated is a relatively simple task if you put yourself in the right position and form the right habits to do so. Do you bring a water bottle to work with you every day? If not, you should! Also try to make it a reusable bottle so you can continue to refill it throughout the day as well. But if you aren’t bringing a water bottle with you to work every day, it’s easy to get dehydrated throughout a long work day. You may hydrate with your lunch, but that could be it for the entire day. What if you have to work through your lunch? Then you may miss out on an entire work day of drinking water and staying hydrated outside of the potential water fountain stop.


Just like healthy eating, staying hydrated does require a little bit of planning. The difference is, planning to stay hydrated is exponentially simpler. Always bring a water bottle with you if you can! Thirsty? Drink water. Hungry? Drink water. About to work out, currently working out, or just finish your workout? Drink water. Eating out at a restaurant? Order water! Not a big fan of water? Try water with lemon or other fruit infused options. 


If you are dehydrated, it can also have a tremendous effect on your time in the gym as well. If you are not adequately hydrated, other than dry mouth and extreme thirst, it can also cause sleepiness or fatigue; something that makes it significantly more difficult to get a good workout in. This is also something that can definitely avoided by drinking water regularly throughout the day (as well as getting adequate sleep and other nutrients as well). Lack of hydration can also cause dizziness or lightheadedness, which can be more easily induced by working out and quickly bring a workout to a screeching halt. At that point, your hour of workout time could be as good as wasted.

 

Do yourself a favor and make hydration a priority! Doing so hardly consumes any of your time, but the time spent hydrating is a very important part of your day. Especially if you are working out regularly, you should be making sure you are keeping your water consumption up due to the fluids that you will lose during your workout. Otherwise you are also going to be at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated.


Remember that water is your friend! Stay hydrated and make your day a productive one!

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