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Bottoms Up for Fitness

By Debra Rodzinak

Even though it is winter and we may not be sweating profusely as we do during the summer, we still need to stay hydrated.  Don’t depend on perspiration or thirst to be a gauge as to when you should drink water.  Instead follow these simple hydration rules. 

When to Drink Fluids

During the summer, the body perspires in order to help it cool down.  However, during the winter, we don’t perspire as much and many people who enjoy outdoor winter activities such as skiing, walking, or hiking may find that their muscles get fatigued due to dehydration.

Before participating in any activity, it is wise to drink about two cups or 16 ounces of fluid two hours before becoming active.  This will ensure that you remain well-hydrated before you begin.

Next, while exercising, try to consume at least 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes to help the muscles function properly.  Since the body is mostly water, organs and muscles perform better when well-hydrated.  If you plan on taking an hourlong walk, just fill up a 16-ounce water bottle and take it with you.

Finally, drink after any exercise activity.  A neat idea is to weigh yourself before you exercise, then after.  For each pound of water weight lost, replenish it with 20 ounces of fluid.  Even if you don’t feel dehydrated, you need to replace any water lost during exercise.

The Best Liquids

I see many people with flavored water or water that is supposed to be “smart.”  However, there is nothing wrong with good old tap water or filtered water.  If you plan on exercising for more than an hour, you may need to also replace the electrolytes lost from your sweat. 

Sodium, potassium, and magnesium can be replaced with diluted fruit juice or a sports drink.  Just be aware of the added calories in many of these beverages.  You don’t want to undo the benefits of the exercise you just performed.

Be aware of low blood sugar when exercising for long periods of time.  The glucose in the blood stream can be replaced with sports drinks and give you an added boost. 

Whatever you decide to drink, make sure it is something you enjoy drinking.  Staying hydrated should not be an unpleasant experience or it will not last for the long run.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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