Hydration is the Key to Summer Fitness

Hydration is the key to summer fitness due to increased sweat loss.

Not drinking enough water before a morning run, sweating it out at the gym or walking the golf course is a surefire way to put you on a path to dehydration doom. Hydration is the key to summer fitness due to increased sweat loss.  Here are five reasons you need to maintain proper fluid intake:

1.  Heart Health – Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles remove waste so that they can work efficiently.

2.  Brain Power – according to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, drinking water when you feel thirsty can help you think and act. The participants who drank water before performing a series of cognitive tasks reacted faster than those who did not.

3.  Balanced Body – More than half of your body is composed of water that helps with critical functions like maintaining body temperature, cushioning and protecting vital organs and aiding in digestion.  When it’s hot, your body loses water through increased sweating, so you need to compensate by drinking more water.

4.  Appetite Control – Often times when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty.  That’s because our thirst mechanism isn’t very good.  Water may not magically help you lose weight overnight, but if you replace higher calorie drinks with water, you can reduce your caloric intake as well.  Burning calories also requires an adequate amount of water.

5.  Mental Health – Lack of sleep isn’t the only cause of headaches, irritability and fatigue. Studies suggest that increasing your daily amount of water intake can reduce the duration and intensity of headaches.  According to the NIH, if you’re experiencing dizziness, it can be a sign of dehydration.

How much water should you drink?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that women consume 2.7 liters and men consume 3.7 liters of water daily.  However, climatic conditions, clothing and exercise intensity can alter that.  A person who perspires heavily will need to drink more water than someone who doesn’t.  Certain medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease may require more water to avoid over-taxing the heart.

How do you know if you’re dehydrated?

According to the American Heart Association, thirst is not a good indicator.  If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.  It’s best to pay attention to the color of your urine.  Pale and clear means you’re well hydrated. If it’s dark, drink more fluids.  Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.  So make it a habit this summer to have water with you at all times and drink it throughout the day.

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