Summer Hydration= Increased Activity and Increased Heat

I thought it may be useful to pass along hydration guidelines as we approach the summer months when many of us are more active and those we coach, train or advise are looking for the best information on fluid intake and the body’s needs.

The following is an excerpt from the soon to be released book: Family Fit (ISPA/NP2 Publishing, 2009) by Dr. John Mayer. With permission from the author and publisher.

Visit Dr. Mayor’s web site for purchase information.

Water, Water Everywhere

One food mentioned on the preceding chart deserves special attention in our families—water. Water is often neglected in households. It has been consistently shown to be as good a thirst quencher as any sports drink or other beverage. We just do not drink enough water in our diet even though it is vital to our physical well-being. Make sure your family drinks plenty. The average healthy adult should drink the equivalent of about 5-6 glasses of water per day. It is a widely held myth that we should be consuming water according to the 8×8 rule. That is, eight 8 oz glasses of water per day. We don’t require that much water for a variety of reasons. Dr. Heinz Valtin, Professor Emeritus at Dartmouth Medical School and author of many of the most esteemed textbooks on kidney function and water balance has studied the body’s need for water all of his career. His research gives me great confidence to talk about the proper needs for water in the body.

To make sure we get enough water each day, our water supply can safely come from many sources. Even though I advocate plain water as your primary source, coffee, teas, soft drinks, milk, etc. all help to fulfill our daily needs for water. This is another widely held myth, that these varieties of beverages do not serve this need. They do. All food and beverages contain water, so we are getting water from many sources. Another reason why this old 8×8 thinking is needless. The most beneficial effects of water are derived from drinking it unadulterated with no added sugar or flavoring. So, again, plain drinking water is my favorite way to go.

Water’s benefits are quite numerous. Water balances the electrolytes of the body. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, chloride, and potassium. These electrolytes help regulate body temperature and control blood pressure. Water is also essential for the transportation of water-soluble vitamins and nutrients such as proteins, minerals, and vitamins B and C. Water is a significant source of vital nutrients that are difficult to obtain from other sources. These are magnesium, cobalt, copper, and manganese.

Dehydration, a condition that arises when the body’s cells are starving for water, can often be confused with hunger pains. A one percent drop in the body’s fluid volume can noticeably reduce your body’s ability to perform its vital functions. A 4 percent drop in body fluid volume reduces by one-third the body’s ability to perform its vital functions. Keeping the body hydrated is essential and should be stressed in your family.

Special circumstances require special water needs. When exercising, the need for water is paramount. Water helps the muscles recover quickly from exercise and restores the body fluid volume lost through sweating. One should drink eight ounces of water for every half hour of exercise.

Pregnant women or women who are breast-feeding should add at least sixteen ounces of water to the two-quart daily recommendation for the average adult. Increased water consumption in pregnancy can help prevent the symptoms of morning sickness.

When reducing your calorie intake, such as when starting our Family Fit Program here, it is very important to increase water intake for a number of reasons. When we diet, more uric acid builds up in the bloodstream, which can cause kidney stones. Drinking water will flush out the uric acid, preventing stones. When dieting, water keeps your stomach full and prevents hunger. A glass of water fifteen minutes before each meal will help reduce overeating (Grandpa Mayer’s Disease).

Other circumstances that require extra water intake are winter weather, as the indoor environment becomes drier; traveling, particularly in aircraft; and hot, humid weather, as we lose fluids through sweating.

Serve water with meals. As mentioned above, an old trick in the dieting field is to drink a full glass of water fifteen minutes before a meal to reduce the quantity of food you eat. In fact, many of these snake-oil-like diet pills instruct you to take them just like that; that is, with a full glass of water right before you eat. Well, guess what? Some of these magic pills are almost useless, and it’s the water that is really helping you reduce your food intake. So save your money and use the magic appetite

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