When I was in chemo hydration became critically important to me. I had several bouts of dehydration where I wound up in the emergency room with an IV hanging out of my arm. I tried my best to stay hydrated, I really did, but try as I might, water alone was not enough. I hated Gatorade with a passion and I still do. However, I forced myself to drink it daily because I needed the little extra replenishment I thought it would provide. Well, I still wound up in the emergency room with an IV despite my best attempts. Staying hydrated was difficult for me.
Well, you don’t have to be a chemo patient to know the importance of hydration. Yet, most of us walk around mildly dehydrated on a daily basis. We drink too much coffee, alcohol, sugary pop or super-caffeinated seriously “bad-for-you” drinks marketed to our overworked society as “energy” drinks. Well, we stay in a perpetual state of exhaustion and dehydration as a result of our poor beverage choices or we fall short of drinking enough fluid.
What is Dehydration? According to WebMD, dehydration occurs when there is rapid and continued fluid loss. Dehydration can be life-threatening. Symptoms of dehydration include:
• Increased thirst
• Dry mouth and swollen tongue
• Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
• Sluggishness fainting
• Inability to sweat
• Decreased urine output
How much should I hydrate prior to a workout?
The general recommendation is to drink 16 ounces of fluid 2 hours before exercise. Of course, you don’t have to chug it down all at once, a few ounces at a time will work. Just be sure to drink all 16 ounces. Drink an additional 5-10 ounces of fluid 30 minutes prior to working out.
How do I know if I am drinking enough?
Simple: Weigh yourself before you work out and then weigh yourself when you are done. If you weigh the same before and after, congratulations, you properly hydrated! If you weigh more, you over hydrated, you weigh less? Increase hydration. You should drink 16 ounces of fluid for every pound lost.
Are you hydrating properly?
Check your pee. Yes, that is what I just told you to do: Don’t look at what hits the water…evaluate it before it gets diluted. If it is yellow, you are not drinking enough fluids and/or you’re drinking the wrong types of fluids and you are in a state of dehydration. Don’t want to run to the potty to do a urine check? Do the pinch test: pinch your forearm or the top of your hand. If the skin stays in the pinched state and does not go back to it’s smooth state immediately, guess what? You need to hydrate right away.
Water vs. Hydration Drinks
I am all for drinking water, as a matter of fact, you should be drinking about a half ounce to one ounce of fluid/water for every pound you weigh (this is on a daily basis). However, there are some things to consider. Hate to drink water? Well, add some flavor to it: You can add lemon, or infuse your water with fruit or, if you want extra recovery benefits, and you want to keep your electrolytes balanced, try “Rehydrate.” Sorry to sound like a commercial. I just know how much better I feel when I drink ReHydrate.
If you are exercising and you begin to sweat due to exertion, your body will lose vital electrolytes. It is important to maintain a good balance if at all possible. That is why I recommend adding “Rehydrate” to your water before and after your workout. Rehydrate “provides the necessary nutrients to maintain proper metabolism, delay the onset of fatigue, and hydrates your body by re-establishing your electrolyte balance. Rehydrate has a 1:1 ratio of sodium and potassium, two of the most vital electrolytes that are lost when we sweat. Rehydrate can help prevent cramping by providing calcium, magnesium and L-glutamine to support the contraction and relaxation phases of the muscles. Overall, Rehydrate includes antioxidants A and C, carbohydrates, electrolytes, Sustamine® and other nutrients that effectively promote optimal hydration and recovery.“ You can read all about it on my microsite:
Why am I such a proponent of Rehydrate? Well, if you have seen any of my posts about it on FaceBook land you would know: Remember when I said how much I couldn’t stand Gatorade? Well, it did NOTHING for me. Nothing. I WISH I had discovered Rehydrate when I was in chemo. As it is, I had just finished up radiation when I was introduced to it. I had tried other combinations to get my energy back and to satiate my thirst and stay hydrated. However, none of the combinations had worked. I did juices, teas, smoothies, etc….Nothing worked as well as that first water bottle full of Rehydrate. If only I could have felt that good for one minute during chemo. This may seem weird but I felt more hydrated while I was in the process drinking it. It was instantaneous for me. Personally, I recommend it before and after a workout (consider it an extra insurance policy against dehydration). I use it throughout the day. It helps sustain me.
A consideration for the purists: Water is good for you! I love water. Drink it! However, we can get too much (which can lead to hyponatremia) or not enough (which leads to dehydration). My hope is that you find this blog informative and that you will drink more water. If you hate water, give it some flavor: add lemon juice or try to fruit infuse your water. Just drink it. If you work out however, consider my advice and try Rehydrate.
A final note: Enjoy some fruit! Try watermelon, It’s great for hydration! Did you know that watermelon helps regulate heart rate? If you’re tired of bananas or they leave you constipated, have a peach! Peaches are full of potassium. Remember to hydrate.