Hydration: Why It’s So Important

July 19, 2016 | Lifestyle, Massage, Nutrition, Sports, Summer

Four Tips for Proper Hydration this Summer

The human body is composed of approximately 70% water. Water is involved in many of our body’s vital functions. It acts as a transporter of minerals, vitamins and glucose to our cells. Water removes waste products. It also helps regulate body temperature by releasing heat through sweating. Water allows us to move freely, it acts as a lubricant for our joints, and as a shock absorber for our eyes, brain, and spinal cord.

Hydration is critical in the proper function of our organs, muscles, joints and other tissues. Our hearts can pump blood easily and our muscles can work efficiently when our body is well hydrated.

Here are four tips to keep your body well hydrated in the summer heat:

1. Monitor your Hydration Status

The easiest way to monitor your hydration status is by checking the colour of your urine. You want to aim for a clear to pale yellow colour. A dark yellow or amber colour means you need to up your fluid intake. A decrease in urine output is also an indication that you’re not getting enough water and that you’ve reached or you’re on your way to dehydration.

2. Hydrate All Day

Did you know that your body is at its most dehydrated first thing in the morning? Your usual morning cup of coffee can further dehydrate you due to its diuretic effect. Every morning should start with a tall glass of water.  You will also sweat more on a hot summer day, so focus on hydration all day, even on your rest days. If you go to workout, and you’re already dehydrated, it’s too late. You and your workout may suffer. Your energy levels will be low, you may feel dizzy or lightheaded and thirst will kick in. Improper hydration increases the chance of your muscles cramping up. Dehydrated muscles are also weaker. Exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight.  On workout or training days, listen to your body and increase your intake accordingly, starting with a tall glass of water first thing in the morning!

3. Know the Symptoms of Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount of water taken in. The most common cause of water loss is excessive sweating. It is therefore important to be able to identify dehydration in ourselves and in others as we enjoy warmer weather this summer. The symptoms of dehydration range from mild to severe and can include:

  • Thirst
  • Headache, and/or dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin, lips, and mouth
  • Muscle cramps
  • Less frequent urination
  • Increased heart rate

If dehydration becomes more severe, seek medical attention immediately.

4. Choose Water

Drinking water is the best way to ensure proper hydration this summer. The amount of water a person needs to stay hydrated depends on the climate, the clothing worn, the level of activity of the individual as well as their body composition. A person who sweats heavily will need to drink more fluids to replace the water lost than someone who doesn’t. There are plenty of ways to consume more water this summer:

  • Add flavour to your water with frozen berries, fresh lemon or lime slices, mint leaves or ginger pieces.
  • Keep your water bottle nearby (on your desk or in your bag) and refill it often.
  • Choose water-rich fruits and vegetables as snacks including melons, citrus fruit, cucumber, and zucchini.

If you and your body aren’t feeling quite right after a run, cycle or workout in the summer heat, start by drinking lots of water and then visit your chiropractor and massage therapist. Our team is here to help you get back to the summer activities that you love. At CURAVITA we know the importance of proper hydration. Our therapists will always offer you a glass of infused water after your massage and will recommend that you continue to hydrate for the rest of the day. A healthy musculoskeletal (MSK) system is our priority.

Wishing you a safe and well-hydrated summer!