Keep Hydrated!

BETH SORENSEN

Staff Writer

When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is essential. Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through blood vessels, and to the muscles. This process helps the muscles work efficiently. Dehydration can be a serious condition that may lead to many problems, from throbbing headaches to life threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. However, overhydration can be just as serious as dehydration.

When you do not get enough water, calcium and other minerals build up in your urine and are harder for your body to filter out. According to Mayo Clinic, the recommended amount of water is about eight 8-ounce glasses each day. This also depends on how much you weigh, how tall you are, and on your activity level. Any time you exercise in extreme heat or for more than one hour you should supplement water with a sports drink that contains electrolytes. You can tell if you are hydrated just simply by looking in the toilet. If your urine is clear or very light yellow, then you are well hydrated. The darker the urine, the more dehydrated you are.

When you are not used to the heat you need to stay hydrated. If you do not then there will be many consequences. Water carries heat away from your internal organs before serious damage occurs, which can lead to heat stroke, and even death. The heat travels through your bloodstream to your skin, causing you to sweat. As the sweat evaporates, this allows you to cool off and maintain a safe body temperature. Daily water intake must be balanced with water losses to maintain total body water. Losing body water can adversely affect your functioning and health. Once you start feeling thirsty, you have probably lost about 1 percent of your body water and you are dehydrated. At this point, it is too late, you could experience serious fatigue and cardiovascular impairments. It is important to note that individual fluid needs differ depending on your sweat rate, the temperature, your clothing, humidity and other factors.

“Hydration starts today for tomorrow,” said Cross Country Coach Stehmeier. This means that hydration always starts the night before a workout, not 1 hour before the workout.

Although most people are most concerned about dehydration, overhydration or drinking too much water is also a potentially deadly condition.

“Hydrating in the heat is good, but you also have to be careful of drinking too much water because not many people worry about that,” said Sophomore Megan Plant.

When too much water collects in the body, it can lead to water intoxication or dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood hyponatremia, which dilutes your blood and could also lead to serious impairment and death. Some symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Endurance athletes can reduce the risk of overhydration by weighing themselves before and after a race to determine how much water they have lost and need to replenish. Individuals should avoid drinking more than one liter per hour of fluid. Drinking more fluids before and during a race or an intensive athletic exertion can also help you avoid the need to drink too much water afterwards. Sports beverages that contain the electrolytes sodium and potassium are also recommended, as both are lost in sweat.

Drinking water is definitely not the only way to get water into the body and stay hydrated.

“Besides drinking water, you can also hydrate yourself by eating foods with a high percentage of water in it,” said Freshman Thomas Vadnais.

For most of us, food makes up 20 percent of our total water intake. Fruits are an excellent source for water. Watermelon is 90% water, so it ranks highest on the list. Oranges, grapefruit, and cantaloupe are also strong contenders. Vegetables, though not as full of water as fruit, can also provide a nutrient-rich water source. There are plenty of hidden sources of water in your diet, such as oatmeal and smoothies. Besides guzzling water, milk is a top choice to refuel. Juices and sports drinks are also hydrating, you can lower the sugar content by diluting them with water.

Overall, be careful about how much water you drink and make sure you do not drink too much or too little. If you do not like the plain taste of water, try adding lemon or raspberry to it. Set alarms throughout the day to remind yourself how much water you should be drinking. This is very important especially for people who exercise on a daily basis.

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