Tampa Bay Kids Net II
Make the Most of Summer with Water!!
Summer is just around the corner which means School is almost out! Now is when the real fun begins. There are so many different summer activities to choose from. Sports and summer camp are just two that come to mind. Now we all know that with summer comes the hot temperatures and high humidity. As long as we give water and our bodies the respect they deserve the weather shouldn’t get in the way of our fun.
Water deserves more credit than it is given. Surprising to most water makes up 75 percent of all muscle tissue and 25 percent of all fatty tissue. Water acts as a cushion and protects vital organs, aids the digestive system and regulates the body’s temperature by allowing heat to evaporate from the body in the form of sweat. We could not continue to live for more than a week if we deny our bodies water.
On an average the body can lose one quart of water in one hour of exercise. This of course will vary as the intensity and duration of exercise varies. Another variable is air temperature. The warmer it is outside the more the body will try to cool itself by perspiring. If there is not enough water in the body it will not be able to cool itself and will lead to a state of dehydration. If you continue to lose water one of three, heat illness related, conditions are likely to occur. These three conditions in order of seriousness are heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. With heat stroke the bodies temperature can elevate as high as 105 and the person may have hot dry skin. A person who is sweating profusely but maintains a normal body temperature is likely suffering from heat exhaustion. They may also appear pale and have a weak, rapid pulse. Heat cramps are usually dominant in active muscles such as the abdominals and calves.
During the summer I have seen heat exhaustion and dehydration too many times and in several of these cases the person didn’t even realize what they were suffering from. With dehydration being the first symptom we encounter when our bodies are lacking water we should focus on prevention. If we prevent dehydration then we prevent any other heat related illness from occurring. Without the appropriate water levels in our body we will lack energy, have muscle fatigue and even loss of coordination. It seems to me that the most common complaint I hear after a fun filled day outside is lack of energy and tired, sore muscles. Water anyone!
Performance in any activity even if it is just day to day activities is affected when the body loses as little as 2% of body weight due to dehydration. If you only pick up a drink when you are thirsty you are never in a state of hydration. When the body signals thirst it has already entered a dehydrated state. It is important to have a continuous flow of fluid through the body all day long. When exercising or playing most forget that you need to consume fluids even during your activity. After all, this is when the body is working hardest to cool itself and protect itself therefore using the most of
every bit of water it has. The best way to detect where you and dehydration stand with each other is in the color of your urine. When your urine is a dark gold to brown color you are at war and dehydration has won. When your urine is a pale yellow you are starting to take over and when it is clear you can celebrate a well-deserved victory. A few things to keep in mind are that if you are taking any kind of vitamins or medications they will change the color in various ways most commonly turning urine a fluorescent yellow color.
Although the best and most commonly heard bit of advice it is also the most commonly ignored, You Must Drink Eight To Ten Glasses Of Water Per Day. This is 8-10 on any average to low activity day. To ensure you are properly hydrated during higher levels of activity here are a few guidelines to take into consideration:
Drink 1-2 glasses of water one hour before exercise.
Drink I glass of water 20-30 minutes before exercise
Drink four to six ounces of water every 15-20 minutes during exercise
Drink an additional glass of water within ½ hour after exercise
Water is the best way to replenish lost liquid and hydrate you. While many sports drinks replace electrolytes most also contain a lot of sugars and additives that the body can do without. If you lose blood you would replace it with blood not Kool-Aid so if you loose water it makes sense to replace it with water. There are many drinks that are diuretics also. A diuretic is a substance that increases the amount of urine and salt eliminated from the body. Common diuretics are Coffee, Soda and any substance containing caffeine. If you normally consume a lot of caffeinated beverages you will want to drink additional water to replace the increased amount that will be lost.
For some of you water just may not cut it. You want something with flavor or a little more zip. You can try diluting your water with a little bit of juice. Make sure it is 100 percent juice. This will add a little taste and give just a little bit of natural sugar to give you a bit of a boost of energy. If you prefer to replace some electrolytes and want to stay away from the pure Poweraid or Gatoraid type drink, try diluting your water with one of the sports drinks you like.
For any of you that know me or have seen me you can testify that I practice what I preach. I drink at least a half a gallon of water everyday. I always have a container of water in my hand. “Never leave home with out it!” is my motto. I can testify and so can many of the athletes I have worked with, that since I have been drinking these quantities of water my energy has increased and I have incurred fewer exercise related injuries.
Don’t let the heat stop you from having fun. Just respect your body and you’ll be amazed what your body will do for you. So put it in a sporty bottle, add a slice of lemon or add a slice a lime you can dress it up however you like just make sure you drink up!! If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me at Meka@sailfit.com
By: Meka Taulbee