Tuesday, July 28, 2009


By Courtney Westlake

Whether it's 30 degrees or 95 degrees outside, staying hydrated is extremely vital to your well-being, and your body can become dehydrated during any time of the year, not just during the hot summer months.

"Hydration is more than just water; it's your fluid intake, meaning different beverages like soda, juice, tea, fluid replacement drinks like Gatorade," said Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at TRAC. "You get your fluid intake from food as well. Food adds up to 20 percent of your daily fluid intake, and you should get about 80 percent of your intake from beverages."

Hydration affects the daily function of your body - your cells, your brain, your muscles, your heart, your temperature regulation and more, Jillson said. Your body is constantly losing water throughout the day, and the beverages and food that you consume are your body's primary sources of water.

It is recommended that women consume 2.7 liters, or 91 ounces, of water through fluids and food each day, and that men consume 3.7 liters, or 125 ounces, daily.

It's especially important to drink fluids before, during and after exercise for hydration because you release fluids through perspiration, Jillson said. Before working out, you should try to drink between 14 and 20 ounces of water or fluids.

"Your muscles actually get dehydrated during exercise, so it's important to replenish your body with fluids to help with muscle recovery and to get your body back to its normal temperature," Jillson said. "If you're working out for more than 45 minutes at a time, then you need to start to replenish with more than just water. You need to replenish your fluids as well as your sodium, so that's where a fluid replacement drink such as a Powerade or Gatorade - something with electrolytes - helps."

Tips to staying hydrated include:
* have a beverage with every snack or meal
* eat fruits and vegetables, which have high water content
* keep a water bottle with you at all times

According to Jillson, all beverages aren't necessarily created equal, but all will help with hydration on some level.

"They are all fluids so they are all going to help to hydrate your body," she said. "Caffeine is believed to dehydrate the body, but according to a recent research study from the National Academy of Science, they have shown caffeine actually doesn't dehydrate your body. You don't want to get all of your fluids from caffeine, but it is OK to count soda and coffee as fluids in your daily fluid intake."

"But," she added, "when it comes to physical activity, water or fluid replacement drinks are definitely more beneficial than drinking soda or caffeine during exercise."


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